NEW YORK – Dominant CBS shuffled its schedule for the fall on Wednesday, giving Ashton Kutcher and Simon Baker new nights and adding four new series.
"Two and a Half Men," where Kutcher replaced Charlie Sheen as star this season, is moving from Monday to Thursday. It will be paired with "The Big Bang Theory" in what CBS scheduling chief Kelly Kahl said should be a "super comedy block."
"The Mentalist," where Baker plays a brainy crime-solver, shifts from Thursday to Sundays.
Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis will star in a new drama about Las Vegas that premieres in the fall, and CBS is transplanting Sherlock Holmes to Manhattan. The series "CSI: Miami," "Unforgettable" and "Rob" drew cancellation notices.
"We had just one goal, and that is to continue making hit shows," said CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler.
The changes amount to shuffling chairs on a smooth-sailing cruise ship for CBS, which will win the ratings race again this season, this time by the largest margin between a first and second place network in 23 years.
Such strength earned ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel a powerful new critic Wednesday morning. During ABC’s presentation to advertisers on Tuesday, Kimmel made jokes at the expense of a sore spot for CBS – its relatively old audience compared to its rivals. Joked Kimmel: "They really do have their finger on the pulse of Americans with almost no pulse."
But CBS Corp. chief Leslie Moonves took exception Wednesday, noting that CBS beats ABC among the youthful 18-to-49-year-old demographic many advertisers seek.
"He should freshen up his material," Moonves growled.
CBS moved "Two and a Half Men" in part to give "2 Broke Girls" its showcase 9 p.m. time slot on Mondays. A new comedy, "Partners," will join Monday’s schedule. It is based on the lives of creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, whose "bromance" is threatened when one of them gets engaged.
Tassler said it was a "jump ball" between "CSI: Miami" and "CSI: New York" over which would get canceled. The network decided to keep the newer New York spinoff on Friday nights.
On Tuesday nights, CBS will add "Vegas," where Chiklis plays a Chicago gangster who moves to Las Vegas in the 1960s to create mischief, and Quaid is the detective who tries to keep the peace.
"Elementary" adds to CBS’ stockpile of crime dramas, with Jonny Lee Miller playing Holmes and Lucy Liu his assistant Watson. The network’s other new drama, "Made in Jersey," is about a working-class woman who tries to compete with better educated colleagues at a law firm.
CBS also ordered three new series for midseason:
-The cop drama "Golden Boy," about a man who becomes New York City’s youngest police commissioner ever.
-"Friend Me," a comedy about two buddies from Indiana who move to Los Angeles and try to make new friends.
-"The Job," a reality show hosted by Lisa Ling about candidates who get a chance to win their dream jobs.
"Undercover Boss" will also return in midseason. Tassler said no decision had been made about the future of "Rules of Engagement."