CBS Is Resting On Its Successes And Football

Check out the trailers for the new shows coming to CBS in the 2015–2016 season.


CBS, the most-watched network, doesn't need to make any drastic changes to its steady lineup. NBC will finish first among 18- to 49-year-olds this season, but that is solely because NBC broadcast this year's Super Bowl.

In the fall, CBS's schedule is once again revolving around football, which was "a great boon for us this year," said Kelly Kahl, the network's head of scheduling, at CBS's annuval breakfast with press where its fall schedule is revealed. With football broadcasts taking over Thursday nights, the network has a pre- and post-football schedule established, as it did during this current season.

During the presentation, Kahl and CBS CEO Les Moonves insisted that the network is not as geriatric as the public — and its rivals — perceives it to be. Moonves noted that CBS is bringing back five of its 2014-2015 freshman series as a sign of its youth, while Kahl said, "We have more Top 20 or Top 30 shows than ABC, NBC, or Fox ... We are not old. We're actually fairly dominant."

Speaking of dominance, the non-football jewel in CBS's crown, The Big Bang Theory, will kick things off on Monday nights at 8 p.m. again during the football season, serving as a lead-in for the new family comedy Life in Pieces. "Within a record amount of time, that was cast. Everybody responded to it," Nina Tassler, the chairman of CBS Entertainment, said at the press event. "It is a who's who of wonderful actors. It's a dream cast." After CBS's football run is over, likely in early November, Supergirl will take over for those two comedies, which will move to Thursdays and kick off CBS's comedy block. "She was the hero we could root for," Tassler said of Supergirl. "We've been given license and latitude to make some adjustments." CBS's sophomore drama, Scorpion will air at 9 p.m. on Mondays, followed by NCIS: Los Angeles.

Tuesdays will continue to be centered on NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans with the new series Limitless following them at 10 p.m. Wednesdays also remain the same with Survivor — which Kahl called "the miracle show, the marathon show" because "it just keeps going" — and Criminal Minds, but this season, Code Black will follow at 10 p.m.. "Leslie and I, when we were at Warner Bros., were very involved in the development and production of E.R.," Tassler said of the new drama. "We realized this had all of the feel that E.R. had," she said, calling Code Black "the future of the medical show."

The network will keep comedies on Thursdays after football ends. But with Two and a Half Men finishing its run and The Millers' and The McCarthys' cancellations, the night looks a bit different. Big Bang will kick things off, followed by Life in Pieces, Mom at 9 p.m., and the new Jane Lynch comedy Angel from Hell at 9:30 p.m. with Elementary capping off the night at 10 p.m.

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays be exactly the same, except that CSI will come to an end with a big two-hour series finale on Sept. 27 that will see some former favorites, like William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger, return. "We actually get a little misty-eyed about this one," Tassler said of the show ending. "It was one of the shows that really helped reverse our fortunes… So I'm very happy we can send it off in the right way," Kahl added. After that send-off, CSI: Cyber will take its place, now co-starring Ted Danson alongside Patricia Arquette.

And there is more changings of the guards. The 2015-2016 season will also feature the premiere of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Tuesday, Sept. 8. "This is an event that's going to go on for months," Tassler said. CBS also has the Super Bowl this season, which will air on Feb. 7. Time will tell which series gets to follow it.

A few other notable details:

—Superman will a part of Supergirl. "As the rules are very strict in the DC universe, her cousin, is also known as Superman. He's referenced and he is part of her universe," Tassler said.

—She and Kahl aren't worried about Supergirl going up against Fox's DC Comics-based series Gotham. "I think we see this as a must broader show than just a genre show, just a superhero show," Kahl said. "I would hope this is a show that brings generations together."

—Bradley Cooper, who executive produced Limitless, which is based on the 2011 movie he starred in, will also pop up in it. "He appears in the pilot and will recur, you know, subject to his availability, in the series," Tassler said.

—When asked why CBS doesn't have a show featuring a cast of largely people of color, Tassler, who is Latina, said, "I could absolutely see it happening and of course, look forward to that ... It's always a goal of ours." So why hasn't it happened yet? "There's diversity across the entire schedule," she added. "We're just waiting for that show to come into the door for us."

—This could be the end of Person of Interest, which is currently not on the schedule. "We're having those conversations with the team right now... We have to see," Tassler said. "We don't know yet if it's going to be the end or not, but if it is, we'll have a great ending."

Mike & Molly, The Odd Couple, 2 Broke Girls, and Undercover Boss will also be scheduled in midseason.

—But this is not the end of The Good Wife. "As long as [creators Robert and Michelle King] want to continue producing and writing, we love having that show on our air," Tassler said of the series, which lost one of its stars, Josh Charles, last season, and then another, Archie Panjabi, this season.

The full schedule is at the bottom of the story, and the new shows are now arranged in night-of-the-week order.

Life in Pieces (Mondays at 8:30 p.m. before moving to Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. after football)


Who's in it? Dianne Wiest, James Brolin, Zoe Lister Jones, Colin Hanks, Angelique Cabral, Thomas Sadoski, Betsy Brandt, Dan Bakkedahl, Niall Cunningham, Holly J. Barrett, Giselle Eisenberg

Who created it? Justin Adler, Aaron Kaplan, Jason Winer

What's it about? This comedy tells the story of the Short family, but is told through the stories of each respective family member. The story centers on matriarch Joan (Weist) who adores her family, which includes her son Greg (Hanks), his wife Jen (Jones), Greg's middle brother Matt who is in love with Colleen (Cabral), while Brandt is their older sister and Bakkedahl plays her husband

First impression? "I love few things more than large family dynamics (I miss Parenthood daily) and I love Dianne Weist (because I am a human with a heart), so I was excited about Life in Pieces, which centers on the extended Short family and stars the one, the only Dianne Weist. I could see little through my fingers when I watched the trailer — which was full of incredibly uncomfortable and graphic sex jokes for a network comedy and life — but I do know this: Dianne Weist looks fabulous. FAB-U-LOUS. Hopefully, the comedy is as finely tuned as she is by the time this one makes its debut. I am still cringing." —Jaimie Etkin

Premieres Sept. 21

View this video on YouTube

Limitless (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.)


Who's in it? Jake McDorman, Jennifer Carpenter, Hill Harper, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

Who created it? Craig Sweeny, Marc Webb, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Heather Kadin, Bradley Cooper, Todd Phillips, Ryan Kavanaugh, Tucker Tooley, Tom Forman

What's it about? Based on Bradley Cooper's 2011 movie, McDorman plays a new character named Brian Finch who discovers the "limitless" abilities NZT offers and uses this power to solve cases for the FBI.

First impression? "This show begins with Brian being offered a mysterious pill from a stranger (Bradley Cooper) that will allow him to recall every memory he's ever had — down to being in his mother's womb. Turns out, the pill was created for an organization that was dismantled, and most of the other participants are dead or close to it. After an initial chase with the police, Brian, pretty quickly, breaks the cardinal rule, and teams up with the FBI to use his power for good. Limitless definitely looks thrilling, but it's a lot of weight for McDorman, who was last seen on the now-canceled ABC comedy Manhattan Love Story, to hold on his shoulders. Hopefully, he'll rise to the challenge." —Emily Orley

Premieres Sept. 22

View this video on YouTube

Code Black (Wednesdays at 10 p.m.)


Who’s in it? Marcia Gay Harden, Bonnie Somerville, Raza

Jaffrey, Luis Guzman, Melanie Kannokada, Harry M. Ford, Ben

Hollingsworth, William Allen Young

Who created it? Michael Seitzman, Marti Noxon, Linda

Goldstein-Knowlton, Ryan McGarry, David Semel

What’s it about? Medical dramas are all the rage this coming season, and here's another one, based on Ryan McGarry's documentary. Set in a busy but limited Los Angeles emergency room, Code Black follows staffers trying to care for patients and concurrently fighting the medical system, man. Harden plays residency director Dr. Leanne Rorish, who tries to control the chaos.

First impression? "Medical dramas are everywhere. And even though this new one sounds like Grey's Anatomy meets ER, it had me at Marcia Gay Harden. In Code Black, she plays the chief resident, a smart, ruthless woman who rarely lets her guard down, and there appear to be incredibly emotional cases of the week. Hopefully, the show will settle into a grove that aptly mixes medical and personal stories — without too many hook-ups in the on-call room — and figure out a way to stand out from the other medical dramas." —Emily Orley

Premieres Sept. 30

View this video on YouTube

Supergirl (Mondays at 9 p.m., debuting after football ends)


Who's in it? Melissa Benoist, Calista Flockhart, Chyler Leigh, Mehcad Brooks, David Harewood, Laura Benanti, Jeremy Jordan

Who created it? Greg Berlanti, Ali Adler, Sarah Schechter

What's it about? A young Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) escaped her home planet, Krypton, as it came crumbling down. She found refuge on planet Earth, where she became Kara Danvers and where she has also been hiding her superhuman abilities. The show picks up with Kara at 24, when she's finally embracing her powers to become Supergirl. Calista Flockhart plays the founder of CatCo, where Kara works; Chyler Leigh plays Alex Danvers, Kara's foster sister who's become obsessed with Kara's powers; and Laura Benanti plays Kara's birth mom Alura Zor-El. Also, Helen Slater, who played Supergirl in the 1984 feature film, and Dean Cain, who played Superman on ABC’s Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, are rumored to have top-secret roles too.

First impression? "Supergirl strikes a much more comedic tone than I was expecting, but Calista Flockhart's boss from hell (aka Miranda Priestly) is perfectly suited for those over the top moments. While the jury's still out on the actual storylines (is it a procedural or Ally McBeal-like dramedy?), the effects are out of this world!" —Jarett Wieselman

Premieres Oct. 26

View this video on YouTube

Angel From Hell (Thursdays at 9:30 p.m., debuting after football ends)


Who's in it? Jane Lynch, Maggie Lawson, Kyle Bornheimer, Kevin Pollak

Who created it? Tad Quill and Don Scardino

What's it about? The outrageous and over-the-top Amy (Lynch) enters type-A Allison's (Lawson) life and claims to be her guardian angel. But Allison's not so convinced even though all of Amy's pronouncements comes true.

First impression? "This show will live or die based on the chemistry that develops between Lynch's boozy angel and Lawson's uptight dermatologist. Because it takes some time to start rooting for the designated straight woman in a comedy, right now this high-concept comedy is sold purely on the level of winsome Lynch and her ever-present army green vest are able to exude between belches." —Andrea Battleground

Premieres Nov. 5

View this video on YouTube

Rush Hour (Midseason TBD)


Who's in it? Justin Hires, Jon Foo, Aimee Garcia, Wendie Malick

Who created it? Bill Lawrence, Blake McCormick, Arthur Sarkissian, Brett Ratner, Jeff Ingold, Jon Turteltaub

What's it about? Based on the Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker film franchise, Foo plays a straight-laced Hong Kong cop who gets sent to Los Angeles and paired with a rule-flaunting LAPD officer (Hires).

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (Midseason TBD)


Who’s in it? Gary Sinise, Daniel Henney, Tyler James

Who created it? Erica Messer, Mark Gordon, Nick Pepper

What’s it about? After nine seasons on CSI: NY, Sinise returns to CBS in this Criminal Minds spinoff. There was a previous attempt at enlarging the Criminal Minds franchise in 2011 with Suspect Behavior, but it lasted only a few months. Here, Sinise's character leads an FBI unit that helps Americans in trouble abroad — we first saw him in a Feb. 8 episode of the Criminal Minds mothership.


The Big Bang Theory 8 p.m.

*Life in Pieces 8:30 p.m.

Scorpion 9 p.m.

NCIS: Los Angeles 10 p.m.

(Supergirl will air at 8 p.m. after football)


NCIS 8 p.m.

NCIS: New Orleans 9 p.m.

*Limitless 10 p.m.


Survivor 8 p.m.

Criminal Minds 9 p.m.

*Code Black 10 p.m.


NFL Thursday Night Football 8 p.m. - 11 pm.

(Replacing football on Thursdays will be:

The Big Bang Theory 8 p.m.

*Life in Pieces 8:30 p.m.

Mom 9 p.m.

*Angel from Hell 9:30 p.m.

Elementary 10 p.m.)


The Amazing Race 8 p.m.

Hawaii Five-0 9 p.m.

Blue Bloods 10 p.m.


Crimetime Saturday 8 p.m.

48 Hours 10 p.m.


Madam Secretary 8 p.m.

The Good Wife 9 p.m.

CSI: Cyber 10 p.m.

Note: In mid-May every year, the five television broadcast networks — NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, and The CW — present their new shows and upcoming schedules to advertisers at events called "the upfronts." That's why you see an onslaught of new programming in May, as well as the cancellation of current shows. This post will be continually updated.



A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.