Fall 2016 Previews and Predictions: CBS

20 Sep


(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall (edit: spring, now) television season, I’ve set up a very simple system of predictions for how long new shows will last.  Each day, I’ll (I’m aware I switched between we and I) lay out a network’s new shows scheduled to debut in the fall (spring, again)(reality shows not included – I’m already going to fail miserably on scripted shows, I don’t need to tackle a whole other animal) with my prediction of which of three categories it will fall into.

These categories are:

  1. Renewal – show gets renewed
  2. 13+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed
  3. 12- – the show is cancelled before 13

Additional note: Since more and more series on network TV are following cable models with set orders for shorter seasons, and mid-season replacements tend to have shorter seasons in particular, I’ll note any planned limited runs in my prediction section for each show)

Kevin Can Wait – 9/19

Kevin Can Wait

Kevin Can Wait, but boy us viewers sure can’t. I end up saying “you know what this is” more than I want to in these descriptions, which feels lazy, but I’d like to think that when I say that, you, the TV viewer, can conjure up a better idea of some of these shows because they’re just so obvious than I can possibly describe in a couple of sentences. And is this ever one of these shows. Kevin James’ character, maybe he’s named Kevin, just retired and he’s full of hilarious punch lines that would be at home in any stand up comedian-led mid’90s sitcom or, for that matter, in King of Queens, which this basically just is. Fat funny white husband who doesn’t do any work around the house has a younger, more attractive wife, and a couple of kids who he has to relate with.

Prediction: Renewal Of course this shouldn’t get renewed. But it’s CBS and it’s Kevin James. I made this mistake already predicting the early demise of Last Man Standing on ABC, which believe it or not, is entering its sixth season.

Bull – 9/20


The folks at CBS have pulled off quite the coup here. They’ve created a lawyer show where the main character isn’t even a lawyer! No, Micheal Weatherly (getting his just desserts after serving as sidekick on NCIS faithfully for a decade) is a champion jury consultant who believes that trials and won and lost by the composition and messaging delivered to the jury, rather than the presentation of facts. His enemies are the lawyers who try to tell him he’s wrong, and that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Weatherly portrays a classic superman who charms everyone who comes into his presence while being amazing at his profession and delightuflly idiosyncratic. You can imagine a commercial for the show that’s just a montage of several characters saying “Bull” in different tones.

Prediction: Renewal – This is so fucking generic that there’s just as good a chance it fails. But that’s everything on CBS, right, and Weatherly has earned his shot with the network. Oh, and by the ad test, this and Kevin Can Wait are the far and away most advertised CBS shows in NYC.

MacGyver – 10/23


He’s baaaack. A super duper young spy (about a decade younger than Richard Dean Anderson was when he got the job) who succeeds while, you know, MacGyvering things; the trailer plays very clearly on the primary gimmick of resourcefully pulling together unlikely materials around him in any scenario to accomplish his task and being a quick wit while doing show. He’s got a couple of allies, but basically the trailer focuses on the action scenes.

Prediction: Renewal – for all the gimmicky and likely mediocrity, I’ve said before, there’s always a surprising shortage of legitimate action shows on television.

Man with a Plan – 10/24

Man With a Plan

CBS continues to just churn out the CBS-iest shows. Here’s how they do it, Man With a Plan-style. Take a 40something white male one-time TV star (Matt LeBlanc). Give him a nuclear family (two or three kids) and place him in a scenario that you would not expect from a 40-something white man in the 1980s, which in this case means that when his wife goes back to work to become the primary breadwinner, he’s got to take care of the kids, full-time. A man! As a primary caretaker! Think of all the zany misadventures! Audiences are never going to believe this one! Just the preview has me wanting to write more words about how offensive and terrible it is, but I’ll wait for an actual episode.

Prediction: 12- Please. Even by CBS standards. This trailer makes Kevin Can Wait look progressive.

The Great Indoors – 10/27

The Great Indoors



Pure Genius


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