NCIS is a series you could set your clock by. For its entire 18-season run to date, the venerable crime drama starring Mark Harmon has had one time slot, always airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m. That is changing next season when CBS‘ most watched series will move to Monday for an FBI Tuesday lineup consisting of mothership FBI, new entry FBI: International and FBI: Most Wanted. The one-night, three-dramas, one-franchise scheduling conducive to frequent crossovers has become a Dick Wolf special, with CBS’ FBI Tuesday mirroring NBC’s One Chicago Wednesday and new Law & Order Thursday, giving the uber producer three consecutive nights across two broadcast networks.
Here is CBS’ fall 2021 schedule, which features three new dramas — all new installments of established procedural franchises, NCIS, CSI and FBI — and one new comedy, Ghosts, followed by analysis and descriptions of the network’s new series.
CBS FALL 2021-22 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE)
8-8:30 PM — The Neighborhood
8:30-9 PM — Bob ♥ Abishola
9-10 PM — NCIS
10-11 PM — NCIS: HAWAI’I
8-9 PM — FBI
9-10 PM — FBI: INTERNATIONAL
10-11 PM — FBI: Most Wanted
8-9 PM — Survivor
9-10 PM — Tough As Nails
10-11 PM — CSI: VEGAS
8-8:30 PM — Young Sheldon
8:30-9 PM — United States of Al
9-9:30 PM — GHOSTS
9:30-10 PM — B Positive
10-11 PM — Bull
8-9 PM — S.W.A.T./Unscripted
9-10 PM — Magnum P.I.
10-11 PM — Blue Bloods
8-9 PM — Saturday Encores
9-10 PM — Saturday Encores
10-11 PM — 48 Hours
7-8 PM — 60 Minutes
8-9 PM — The Equalizer
9-10 PM — NCIS: Los Angeles
10-11 PM — SEAL Team/S.W.A.T.
While Dick Wolf certainly has clout and adding a third FBI series to the existing two on Tuesday makes sense, the move of NCIS also was done to help Monday night, a one-time CBS stronghold ruled by mega hits like Everybody Loves Raymond, Two and a Half Men and CSI: Miami, which became a weak spot several years ago. Its improvement has been a priority, and establishing a strong 8-9 p.m. comedy block with The Neighborhood and Bob ♥ Abishola was an important first step. Now CBS brass are bringing in the cavalry with NCIS, which will be used to launch new offshoot NCIS: Hawai’i at 10 p.m. (The displaced Monday 10 p.m. occupant, veteran procedural Bull, will take over another problematic slot for CBS as of late, Thursday 10 p.m., where serialized dramas like Evil and Clarice struggled to gain traction in linear ratings.)
“We ware looking at this as a long-term scheduling move,” CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl told Deadline of NCIS‘ new berth. “How do you help a night? You help a night by moving the No. 1 drama there and use that drama to launch another show. Instantly, our Monday night becomes very very strong. Our Tuesday night becomes very strong.”
CBS previously used NCIS to launch NCIS: Los Angeles and then NCIS: New Orleans. And the Monday 10 p.m. slot was where the network successfully launched another Hawaii-based crime procedural, Hawaii Five-0.
In addition to a two-hour NCIS block on Monday and a three-hour FBI block on Tuesday, CBS is opening a two-hour unscripted block on Wednesday where Tough As Nails will be paired with veteran Survivor, back after a pandemic-imposed hiatus.
This is the first time in six years that CBS has had more than one hour of reality programming on the fall schedule and the first time in 12 years the network has had a two-hour unscripted block on. Additionally, CBS plans to replace S.W.A.T. in the Friday 8 p.m. hour with a reality series later in the season. The move follows statements by George Cheeks, president & CEO of the CBS Entertainment Group, about balancing the broadcast network’s schedule with more lower-cost unscripted fare alongside its high-end scripted originals. “You will probably see some alternative by the end of the season,” Kahl said.
As Deadline reported yesterday, SEAL Team will be moving to Paramount+ for Season 5. The military drama is getting a sendoff on CBS, with the first four episodes airing on the network before the series leaves for the streamer. Those episodes are slated for the Sunday 10 p.m. slot and will stretch for well over a month as CBS’ Sunday 10 p.m. dramas are often preempted in the fall for NFL doubleheaders. I hear drama repeats and possibly the holiday movies announced today will fill the night in the fourth quarter, with S.W.A.T. moving there in midseason.
It will be a second move for the police drama next season; it will relocate from its current Wednesday 10 p.m. time period to Friday 8 p.m. in the fall, replacing departed drama MacGyver. (New comedy Ghosts is taking over departed comedy Mom‘s Thursday 9 p.m. slot.)
Overall, CBS has unveiled the most major scheduling changes this year. In announcing the network’s fall lineup, Kahl called them “bold, strategic scheduling moves designed to strengthen nights and maximize flow across the week.”
NEW SERIES DESCRIPTIONS
NCIS: HAWAI’I — The world’s most successful television series continues on the seductive shores of the Aloha State with NCIS: HAWAI ‘ I, where the first female Special Agent in Charge of NCIS Pearl Harbor, Jane Tennant (Vanessa Lachey), has thrived and risen through the ranks by equal parts confidence and strategy in a system that has pushed back on her every step of the way. Together with her unwavering team of specialists, they balance duty to family and country while investigating high-stakes crimes involving military personnel, national security and the mysteries of the sun-drenched island paradise itself. Matt Bosack, Jan Nash and Christopher Silber serve as executive producers for CBS Studios. Larry Teng is an executive producer and directed (initial episode only) from a script by Bosack, Nash and Silber. NCIS: HAWAI ‘ I stars Vanessa Lachey as Special Agent in Charge Jane Tennant, Yasmine Al-Bustami as Lucy, Jason Antoon as Ernie, and Noah Mills as Jesse.
FBI: INTERNATIONAL — From Emmy Award-winning executive producer Dick Wolf, fast-paced drama FBI: INTERNATIONAL is the third iteration of the successful FBI brand that follows the elite operatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s International Fly Team. Headquartered in Prague, they travel the world with the mission of tracking and neutralizing threats against American citizens wherever they may be. Not allowed to carry guns, the Fly Team relies on intelligence, quick thinking and pure brawn as they put their lives on the line to protect the U.S. and its people. Dick Wolf, Derek Haas, Matt Olmstead, Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski are the executive producers. The series is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with CBS Studios.
CSI: VEGAS — the sequel to the Network’s global hit “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” opens a brand-new chapter in Las Vegas—the city where it all began. Facing an existential threat that could bring down the entire Crime Lab and release thousands of convicted killers back onto the neon-lit streets of Vegas, a brilliant new team of investigators led by Maxine Roby (Paula Newsome) must enlist the help of old friends, Gil Grissom (William Petersen), Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) and David Hodges (Wallace Langham). This combined force will deploy the latest forensic techniques to do what they do best—follow the evidence—in order to preserve and serve justice in Sin City. Jason Tracey serves as executive producer and showrunner; Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, KristieAnne Reed, Anthony Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn, Ann Donahue, Craig O’Neill, William Petersen and Cindy Chvatal are also executive producers. Uta Briesewitz is an executive producer and directed (initial episode only) from a script by Tracey. The series is produced by CBS Studios in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Television. CSI: VEGAS stars original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” cast members William Petersen, Jorja Fox and Wallace Langham, who will reprise their roles as Gil Grissom, Sara Sidle and David Hodges, respectively; Paula Newsome as Maxine Roby; Matt Lauria as Joshua Folsom; Mandeep Dhillon as Allie Rajan; and Mel Rodriguez as Hugo Ramirez.
GOOD SAM (Midseason) — GOOD SAM stars Sophia Bush (“Chicago” franchise, “One Tree Hill”) and Jason Isaacs (STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, “Harry Potter” films) in a drama about Dr. Sam Griffith (Bush), a gifted heart surgeon who excels in her new leadership role as Chief of Surgery after her renowned boss falls into a coma. When her former boss wakes up months later demanding to resume his duties, Sam is tasked with supervising this egotistical expert with a scalpel who never acknowledged her stellar talent. Complicating matters is that the caustic and arrogant Dr. Rob “Griff” Griffith (Isaacs) also happens to be her father. As Griff defies Sam’s authority and challenges her medical expertise, the big question becomes whether this father and daughter will ever be able to mend their own relationship as expertly as they heal the hearts of their patients. Katie Wech, Jennie Snyder Urman and Joanna Klein serve as executive producers for CBS Studios. Tamra Davis is an executive producer (pilot only) and directed the pilot from a script by Wech. GOOD SAM stars Sophia Bush as Dr. Sam Griffith, Jason Isaacs as Dr. Rob “Griff” Griffith, Skye P. Marshall as Dr. Lex Trulie, Michael Stahl-David as Dr. Caleb Tucker, Davi Santos as Dr. Joey Costa, Omar Maskati as Dr. Isan M. Shah, Wendy Crewson as Vivian Katz, and Edwin Hodge as Malcolm A. Kingsley.
GHOSTS — a single-camera comedy about Samantha (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar), a cheerful freelance journalist and up-and-coming chef from the city, respectively, who throw both caution and money to the wind when they decide to convert a huge rundown country estate they inherited into a bed & breakfast—only to find it’s inhabited by the many spirits of deceased residents who now call it home. The departed souls are a close-knit, eclectic group that includes a saucy Prohibition-era lounge singer, a pompous 1700’s Militiaman, a ‘60s hippie fond of hallucinogens, an overly upbeat ‘80s scout troop leader, a cod-obsessed Viking explorer from 1009, a slick ‘90s finance bro, a sarcastic and witty Native from the 1500s, and a society woman and wife of an 1800’s robber baron who is Samantha’s ancestor, to name a few. If the spirits were anxious about the commotion a renovation and B&B will create in their home, it’s nothing compared to when they realize Samantha is the first live person who can see and hear them. Joe Port & Joe Wiseman, Mathew Baynton, Jim Howick, Simon Farnaby, Laurence Rickard, Ben Willbond and Martha Howe-Douglas; Alison Carpenter, Debra Hayward, and Alison Owen (Monumental Television); and Angie Stephenson (BBC Studios) are the executive producers for CBS Studios in association with Lionsgate Television and BBC Studios’ Los Angeles production arm. Trent O’Donnell is an executive producer (pilot only) and directed the pilot from a script by Port & Wiseman. Based on the BBC Studios distributed format. GHOSTS stars Rose McIver as Samantha, Utkarsh Ambudkar as Jay, Danielle Pinnock as Alberta, Brandon Scott Jones as Isaac, Richie Moriarty as Pete, Asher Grodman as Trevor, Sheila Carrasco as Flower, Román Zaragoza as Sasappis, Devan Chandler Long as Thorfinn, and Rebecca Wisocky as Hetty.
SMALLWOOD (Midseason) — SMALLWOOD, based on professional bowler Tom Smallwood’s life, stars Pete Holmes as Tom, a stoic Midwest husband and dad who gets laid off from a car assembly line and makes the extraordinary decision to provide for his family by following his dream of becoming a professional bowler. As a skilled player, Tom knows that in bowling you get two chances; no matter what you do with the first ball, you get another one to make it right—the ultimate second chance. Keeping that in mind, Tom begins his new career with the loving okay from his wife, Jen (Katie Lowes), and the unfaltering support of Archie (Chi McBride), his mentor and the proud owner of Archie’s Lanes: Home of the Curly Fry. It remains to be seen if Tom will strike it big on the Pro Bowler circuit, but right now, the pins are set, he’s taking his second shot and it’s 300 or bust! Mark Gross, David Hollander and Brian D’Arcy James serve as executive producers for CBS Studios. Mark Cendrowski directed the pilot from a script by Gross. SMALLWOOD stars Pete Holmes as Tom, Chi McBride as Archie, and Katie Lowes as Jen.
COME DANCE WITH ME — In COME DANCE WITH ME, exceptionally talented young dancers from across the country invite one inspirational, untrained family member or other adult who has supported their dance dreams, to become their dance partner for a chance to strut their stuff for a grand prize. The series is hosted by Philip Lawrence with judges Jenna Dewan, Tricia Miranda and Dexter Mayfield. Each week, these aspiring kids will share their love of dance with their mother, father, grandparent or other hero on an uplifting and emotional journey to learn and perform challenging routines, with the assistance of professional choreographers, in a competition with other duos. COME DANCE WITH ME is produced by CBS Studios and 3 Ball Productions. LL COOL J, Chris O’Donnell, Reinout Oerlemans, Ross Weintraub and Jeff Altrock, Jeff Thacker, Nick Florez and RJ Durell are executive producers.
SPECIAL EVENT PROGRAMMING
THE ACTIVIST is a competition series featuring six inspiring activists teamed with three high-profile public figures working together to bring meaningful change to one of three vitally important world causes: health, education and environment. Activists go head-to-head in challenges to promote their causes, with their success measured via online engagement, social metrics and hosts’ input. The three teams have one ultimate goal: to create impactful movements that amplify their message, drive action, and advance them to the G20 Summit in Rome, Italy. There, they will meet with world leaders in the hope of securing funding and awareness for their causes. The team that receives the largest commitment is celebrated as the overall winner at the finale, which will also feature musical performances by some of the world’s most passionate artists. The series is produced by Global Citizen (“Vax Live: A Concert to Reunite the World”), and Deviant Media, Inc.
A CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL— A down-on-her-luck chef who dreams of starting her own line of food trucks agrees to pose as the girlfriend of a hotshot Seattle attorney visiting his family for Christmas. Working together, they try to prove he’s the ideal candidate to take over the family firm, but their business arrangement is complicated by the magic of the season as real sparks begin to fly. The movie is produced by Motion Picture Corporation of America. Adam Rodriguez (“CSI: Miami,” “Criminal Minds”) and Jessica Camacho (“All Rise”) star.
CHRISTMAS TAKES FLIGHT — When a handsome but frugal CEO takes over a family-owned regional airline and plans to cut their annual Christmas charity event, the original owner’s daughter, who is a pilot for the airline, rallies the community to save the event, and finds unexpected love in the process. The movie is produced by Motion Picture Corporation of America.