[05/14/03 - 12:00 AM]
Broadcast Upfront Presentations: Cbs
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) - CBS, America's most watched network, will add seven new series in the 2003-2004 season, five dramas and two comedies, with a schedule designed to sustain the Network's momentum and continue its ratings growth.

CBS will win the current 2002-2003 season with its largest margin of victory since 1993. With three hit shows introduced last season -- CSI: MIAMI, WITHOUT A TRACE and STILL STANDING; television's Number One program, CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION, and the powerhouse SURVIVOR and EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, CBS's lineup is uniquely balanced with established franchises, fresh hits and solid CBS News magazines.

To build on that success, the Network will introduce new series such as Jerry Bruckheimer's intriguing crime drama, COLD CASE, and David E. Kelley's distinctive small town drama, THE BROTHERHOOD OF POLAND, N.H. Also joining the schedule are a new Charlie Sheen comedy, TWO AND A HALF MEN, which will occupy the key 9:30 PM Monday time period, and THE STONES, a new comedy from the creators of "Will & Grace."

To spread programming strength throughout the week, THE KING OF QUEENS will move to Wednesday, forming a new comedy block with THE STONES. YES, DEAR, the only comedy on television to build on its lead-in at the half-hour, will move up to 8:00 PM to kick-off CBS's potent Monday night comedy block.

In another key scheduling move, the JAG spin-off, NAVY CIS, will inherit its predecessor's Tuesday time period, with JAG moving to Friday to serve as the tent-pole between two new dramas.

Stars coming to the Network in the new season include Mark Harmon, Charlie Sheen, Randy Quaid, Joe Mantegna, Mary Steenburgen, Joe Pantoliano, Jon Cryer, Blythe Danner, Judith Light, Robert Klein, Elizabeth McGovern and Mare Winningham.

Exciting new faces include Kathryn Morris, Amber Tamblyn, Pauley Perrette, Anna Belknap, Jay Baruchel and Lindsay Sloane.

The freshman series come to CBS from some of the most successful producers in television, including Jerry Bruckheimer ("CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Without a Trace"), David E. Kelley ("Picket Fences," "The Practice"), Barbara Hall ("Judging Amy"), Donald P. Bellisario ("JAG," "Magnum, P.I."), Chuck Lorre ("Dharma & Greg"), David Kohan & Max Mutchnick ("Will & Grace") and Jenji Kohan ("Gilmore Girls").

The Network will return 17 primetime programs, including its three news magazines (60 MINUTES, 60 MINUTES II and 48 HOURS INVESTIGATES); 12 entertainment series (YES, DEAR, STILL STANDING, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, CSI: MIAMI, THE GUARDIAN, JUDGING AMY, THE KING OF QUEENS, CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION, WITHOUT A TRACE, JAG, HACK and THE DISTRICT); the premiere reality adventure series, SURVIVOR, and the CBS SUNDAY MOVIE.

60 MINUTES returns for its 36th season, with Don Hewitt the executive producer and Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, Ed Bradley, Steve Kroft and Lesley Stahl as the co-editors, Bob Simon as the contributing correspondent and Andy Rooney, the commentator. 60 MINUTES II returns for its sixth season with correspondents Dan Rather, Bob Simon, Vicki Mabrey, Charlie Rose and Scott Pelley, and contributing correspondent Lara Logan. 48 HOURS INVESTIGATES returns for its 17th season, anchored by Lesley Stahl, who will also continue as a correspondent of 60 MINUTES.

CBS enters the 2003-2004 season as the #1 network in viewers and households. In the 2002-2003 season, the Network had the #1 program, CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION; the top two new dramas, CSI: MIAMI and WITHOUT A TRACE; the #1 new comedy, STILL STANDING; the #1 news magazine, 60 MINUTES, and the Top 10 comedy, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND.

The new dramas (all times ET/PT):

NAVY CIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) (Tuesday, 8:00-9:00 PM) stars Mark Harmon ("The West Wing," "Chicago Hope"), Michael Weatherly ("Dark Angel") and David McCallum ("The Man from U.N.C.L.E.") in an action drama, inspired by the hit-series JAG, about a team of special agents whose mission is to investigate any crime that has a shred of evidence connected to Navy and Marine Corps personnel, regardless of rank or position. Leading this team that operates outside of the military chain of command is NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Harmon), a skilled investigator and interrogator who is smart, tough and willing to bend the rules to get the job done. Working under Gibbs is Agent Anthony Dinozzo (Weatherly), a former homicide detective who joined NCIS just a few years ago, but who has instincts that can come only from working on the streets. Joining them is Agent Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), a gifted forensic scientist whose dark wit matches her goth-style hair and clothes, and Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard (McCallum), a medical examiner. From murder and espionage to terrorism and stolen submarines, these special agents traverse the globe to investigate all crimes with Navy or Marine Corps ties. Donald P. Bellisario ("JAG," "Magnum, P.I.") is the executive producer for Belisarius Productions, in association with Paramount Network Television.

THE BROTHERHOOD OF POLAND, N.H. (Wednesday, 10:00-11:00 PM), from Emmy Award-winning producer David E. Kelley ("The Practice," "Chicago Hope"), stars Academy Award-nominee Randy Quaid ("The Last Detail"), Brian Haley ("Pearl Harbor") and John Carroll Lynch ("The Good Girl") in a drama that celebrates small town life and follows three inseparable brothers as they face challenges in their families and careers in the town of Poland, N.H. Hank Shaw (Quaid), the police captain, Garrett Shaw (Lynch), the mayor, and Waylon Shaw (Haley), unemployed, were born and raised in Poland and are former high school hockey stars. Now, as grown men, they are struggling with big city problems. On the job, Hank is known for his explosive personality and tendency to communicate with his fists, while his home life is far from wild with his sexually repressed wife, Dottie (Academy Award-nominee and Emmy Award-winner Mare Winningham). Garrett, the town's pillar of strength, finds his own world beginning to crumble when he's forced to hide a secret from his wife, Helen (Academy Award-nominee and Emmy Award-winner Elizabeth McGovern), that could jeopardize his marriage and his relationship with his daughter, Monica (Megan Henning). Waylon, out of work and feeling a little paranoid, is convinced that his wife, Julie (Ann Cusack, "Stigmata"), is having an affair. He enlists Hank to help, who in turn assigns outspoken police officer Francine Hill (Cleo King, "Boston Public") to spy on Julie's potential suitor. Waylon also learns that his teenage daughter, Katie (Angela Goethals), is sleeping with her high school teacher. As they confront their personal and professional dilemmas, the one constant in their lives is their family bond and their unconditional love for each other. David E. Kelley and Michael Pressman ("Picket Fences," "Chicago Hope") are executive producers for David E. Kelley Productions in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television.

JOAN OF ARCADIA (Friday, 8:00-9:00 PM) stars Tony Award-winner Joe Mantegna ("Glengarry Glen Ross," "The Last Don"), Academy Award-winner Mary Steenburgen ("Melvin and Howard," "Living with the Dead") and Amber Tamblyn ("The Ring") in a drama that follows a typical family facing atypical situations -- not the least of which is their teenage daughter's sudden, unexpected conversations with God. A tough but soft-hearted police chief, Will Girardi (Mantegna) is new to the city of Arcadia and dreams of providing a safe haven for his family and community. An outbreak of serious crime in his idyllic new town challenges Girardi's desire for order, as do the ups-and-downs he faces with his family. Daughter Joan (Tamblyn), an average teenager, has begun acting a little strange. No one knows that it probably has something to do with the unusual way various people keep popping up, introducing themselves as God, and then giving her specific directions to do things -- like get a job. The appearances are hard for her to believe, even more so as she never knows who's going to turn up next. One minute it's a cute boy her own age, the next it's the lunch lady. For now, she's keeping it all a secret. Rounding out the Girardi family is her mom, Helen (Steenburgen), her 15-year-old science geek brother, Luke (Michael Welch), and her older brother, Kevin (Jason Ritter), a former high school sports star who is in a wheelchair as a result of a disabling car accident. Unsure of what God wants, and if she's even sane, Joan tentatively begins to follow God's cryptic directives, all the while trying to retain a "normal" teen-aged existence. Barbara Hall ("Judging Amy") is the executive producer for CBS Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television.

THE HANDLER (Friday, 10:00-11:00 PM) stars Joe Pantoliano ("The Sopranos") as Joe Renato, an FBI agent who trains and handles agents who go undercover to solve crimes at all levels of Los Angeles' diverse society. From underground prostitution rings and drug traffickers to the worlds of high-tech and high finance, it's a behind-the-scenes look at how Joe's well-schooled operatives infiltrate and tackle them all. Joe is the ultimate "puppet-master" who also interfaces with government and local law enforcement agencies that come to him for help with both long-term and quick sting operations. He knows from personal experience that going undercover is an all-or-nothing job. Any lapse in "character" can mean the difference between life and death for his operatives and Joe goes to great lengths to make sure his people are properly prepared, mentally and physically. He tirelessly directs a revolving cast of characters, including Lily (Anna Belknap, "Deadline"), a wide-eyed rookie undercover agent; Darnell (Hill Harper, "City of Angels"), the seasoned veteran; Heather (Lola Glaudini, "The Sopranos"), an enthusiastic transfer, and Marcy (Tanya Wright), Joe's trustworthy assistant and sole confidante. They all walk a fine line between fighting crimes and committing them, all the while looking out for each other. Chris Haddock ("MacGyver," "Da Vinci's Inquest") is the executive producer for Viacom Productions, Inc.

COLD CASE (Sunday, 8:00-9:00 PM) stars Kathryn Morris ("Minority Report") in a drama about Lilly Rush, the lone female detective in the Philadelphia homicide squad who finds her calling when she's assigned to "cold cases" -- crimes that have never been solved. Where previously she had used her instinctive understanding of the criminal mind to crack current murder cases, this smart and driven detective is now intrigued by new challenges -- interrogating witnesses to old crimes whose lives and circumstances have since changed, making use of today's new science and finding fresh clues to cases once thought to be unsolvable. Lilly is also prepared for the consequences -- that her work will open old wounds and may lead suspects to commit new crimes. When she hits a dead-end, Lilly seeks advice from her respected mentor, Lt. Tom Stillman (John Finn). Also on the team is Det. Will Jeffries (Mel Winkler), who's been around long enough to know where all the bodies are buried; Det. Chris Lassing (Justin Chambers), Lilly's handsome, straight-ahead partner, and Det. Ronnie Vera (Jeremy Ratchford), a tough cop who's considered the go-to guy for getting a confession. Lilly sees her new assignment as a turning point in her career, and she makes it her business to ensure that no victim is ever forgotten. Jerry Bruckheimer ("CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Without a Trace"), Jonathan Littman ("CSI," "Without a Trace") and Meredith Stiehm ("ER") serve as executive producers for CBS Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television Production Inc.

The new comedies (all times ET/PT):

TWO AND A HALF MEN (Monday, 9:30-10:00 PM) stars Golden Globe-winner Charlie Sheen ("Spin City"), Jon Cryer ("Pretty in Pink") and Tony Award-winner Blythe Danner ("Meet the Parents") in a comedy about a wealthy bachelor whose life is turned upside down when his brother and young nephew move into his Malibu beach house. Charlie Harper (Sheen) savors his swinging single status and his lucrative job as the writer of popular jingles, but his self-indulgent lifestyle is about to come to an end when his about-to-be-divorced, younger brother, Alan (Cryer), and Alan's 10-year-old son, Jake (Angus T. Jones, "Bringing Down the House"), move into his beach-front home. As Alan, an uptight chiropractor, comes to terms with being dumped by his wife, Judith (Marin Hinkle, "Once and Again"), he gets little compassion from his self-absorbed brother. Soon, however, polar opposites Charlie and Alan discover that they have more in common than their strained relationship with their socialite mother, Evelyn (Danner) -- they both love Jake and want what's best for him. The brothers agree to create a home for Jake at Charlie's, despite the realization that they'll likely drive each other crazy in the process. Chuck Lorre ("Dharma & Greg"), Lee Aronsohn, Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum, Mark Burg and Oren Koules are executive producers for Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. and The Tannenbaum Company in association with Warner Bros. Television Production Inc.

THE STONES (Wednesday, 9:30-10:00 PM) stars Jay Baruchel ("Undeclared"), Lindsay Sloane ("Grosse Pointe"), Robert Klein ("How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days") and Judith Light ("Who's the Boss?") in a comedy about the crazy reality of two adult children living in their childhood home with their divorcing but still friendly parents. Winston Stone (Baruchel), a brainy science geek, is thrown for a loop when he and his hip, funky sister, Karly (Sloane), meet their parents, Barbara (Light) and Stan (Klein), to celebrate their anniversary -- and the elders announce that they are getting an amicable divorce after 25 years of marriage. Winston sees it as the end of the world but Karly acts like it doesn't really matter. Now, as the Stones still try to live under one roof, they may nag, tease, annoy and antagonize each other -- but they always do it with love. Emmy Award-winning writers and producers David Kohan & Max Mutchnick ("Will & Grace") and Jenji Kohan ("Gilmore Girls") are executive producers for KoMut Entertainment, Inc., in association with Warner Bros. Television Production Inc.

Following is the 2003-2004 CBS Television Network primetime schedule:



8:00-8.30 PM YES, DEAR (NT)
9:30-10.00 PM TWO AND A HALF MEN (N)
10:00-11:00PM CSI: MIAMI


8:00-9:00 PM NAVY CIS (N)
9:00-10:00 PM THE GUARDIAN
10:00-11:00 PM JUDGING AMY


8:00-9:00 PM 60 MINUTES II
9:30-10:00 PM THE STONES (N)


8:00-9:00 PM SURVIVOR
10:00-11:00 PM WITHOUT A TRACE


8:00-9:00 PM JOAN OF ARCADIA (N)
9:00-10:00 PM JAG (NT)
10:00-11:00 PM THE HANDLER (N)


9:00-10:00 PM HACK (NT)
10:00-11:00 PM THE DISTRICT (NT)


7:00- 8:00 PM 60 MINUTES
8:00- 9:00 PM COLD CASE (N)

The above is taken from CBS' press release concerning its upfront presentation.

  [may 2003]  

· 48 HOURS (CBS)
· ER (NBC)

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