CBS 'optimistic' about fall lineup despite production halt

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FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2019 file photo, Queen Latifah arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards in Newark, N.J. Queen Latifah will step into the role of a retired special-ops agent who fiercely believes in justice in Equalizer, one of three new CBS shows for the 2020-21 season. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

LOS ANGELES – CBS said it plans a fall schedule that's a close match to last season, but the network is keeping a watchful eye on when the industry will emerge from its virus-caused production shutdown.

The majority of the network’s returning shows will be back in the time slots they held in the 2019-20 season, with a few exceptions: “The Amazing Race” and “SEAL Team” are each shifting ahead an hour on Wednesday nights, as will “The Unicorn” on Thursdays.

“The Equalizer,” a 1980s drama reboot starring Queen Latifah, and the comedy “B Positive” with Thomas Middleditch are CBS' fall newcomers.

The network's schedule, as with those of other outlets, is dependent on when the two-month TV and movie production halt to contain the coronavirus ends or at least eases.

CBS isn't ignoring that reality but hopes to see taping resume sometime this summer, said Kelly Kahl, president of CBS Entertainment.

“We are optimistic we're going to have our shows on in the fall. ... That might not mean all our shows, or 90 percent, premiere Sept. 21," the season's official start, Kahl said. But the network hopes eventually to air a schedule “that looks a lot like the one we announced today.”

The stable lineup reflects the ratings success of CBS, which has been the most-watched network for more than a decade.

“We have five returning strong freshman shows, and that wasn't going to leave a ton of room for new shows," Kahl said.

The pandemic also forced networks to make calls on new series without the advantage of having a completed pilot in hand, with “B Positive” the rare if not only industry-wide exception.

“The process was unusual, to be sure. And it made for some hard decisions along the way and unusual decisions,” Kahl said. "But at the end of the day, we really got to where we always like to be, which is a strong, stable schedule with the opportunity to launch some exciting new shows.”

If production delays leave CBS with unfilled time slots, Kahl said, the network can draw on content available to it as part of ViacomCBS. He declined to cite specifics.

The full schedule released Tuesday by CBS (all times Eastern):


8 p.m. - “The Neighborhood”

8:30 p.m. - “Bob Hearts Abishola”

9 p.m. - “All Rise”

10 p.m. - “Bull”


8 p.m. - “NCIS”

9 p.m. - “FBI”

10 p.m. - “FBI: Most Wanted”


8 p.m. - “Survivor”

9 p.m. - “The Amazing Race”

10 p.m. - “SEAL Team”


8 p.m. - “Young Sheldon”

8:30 p.m. “B Positive”

9 p.m. - “Mom”

9:30 p.m. - “The Unicorn”

10 p.m. - “Evil”


8 p.m. - “MacGyver”

9 p.m. - “Magnum P.I.”

10 p.m. - “Blue Bloods”


9 p.m - “Crimetime Saturday”

10 p.m. - “48 Hours”


7:00 p.m. - “60 Minutes”

8:00 p.m. - “The Equalizer”

9:00 p.m. - “NCIS: Los Angeles”

10:00 p.m. - “NCIS: New Orleans”