A couple of television crime-fighters are on the move: Patricia Arquette and "Medium" from NBC to CBS, and Simon Baker's "The Mentalist" to CBS' Thursday-night lineup.
CBS, the last of the top four broadcasters to reveal its fall schedule to advertisers this week, said it was canceling "Without a Trace," "The Unit" and "Eleventh Hour." New series with Jenna Elfman and Julianna Margulies are moving in.
The nation's most popular network is a model of stability in a roiled broadcast industry. It's the only network with more viewers this season than last, yet had less advertising revenue than its previous year because of a depressed market.
CBS moved quickly to grab "Medium." As an aging show, production costs were going up. But since it is made by a production company owned by CBS Corp., the costs were more easily absorbed by CBS. It lands on CBS' Friday schedule at 9 p.m., between "Ghost Whisperer" and "Numb3rs."
Simon Baker's "The Mentalist" was broadcast TV's only real new hit this season, and CBS decided to move it from Tuesday nights to Thursday at 10 p.m.
Thursdays are important for networks as they seek income from advertisers like film studios looking ahead to the weekend. CBS also said it sees the chance to gain a competitive edge at 10 p.m. with NBC's decision to air Jay Leno's new comedy show at that hour each weeknight.
"No matter how well he does, there's going to be more (audience) share available at 10 o'clock for people who put on great dramas," said CBS Corp. chief executive Leslie Moonves, "and that's what we do."
CBS tinkered with its Monday-night comedy lineup, except for 9 p.m. stalwart "Two and a Half Men." The network is moving "How I Met Your Mother" up a half hour to 8 p.m., and shifting "Big Bang Theory" to 9:30 p.m. in the hope of nurturing it as a hit.
Elfman's new show, "Accidentally on Purpose," debuts at 8:30 p.m. Based on a true story, it's about a San Francisco film critic who gets pregnant after a one-night stand with a young slacker, then decides to keep both the baby and the dad.
Much like it did with its "CSI" franchise, CBS is now spinning off "NCIS," which has surprised even network executives with its burst of popularity the past year or so. "NCIS: Los Angeles" features Chris O'Donnell and rapper LL Cool J as a former Navy SEAL, and will air directly after "NCIS" on Tuesday.
CBS says it has an opportunity on Tuesdays with ABC, NBC and Fox's schedules that night dominated by reality shows like "Dancing With the Stars" and "The Biggest Loser."
"If you don't want to watch reality, we are the only game in town," said Kelly Kahl, CBS' chief scheduling executive.
Margulies stars in "The Good Wife," about a stay-at-home mom forced back into the workplace when her politically prominent husband is sent to prison after a sex scandal. It will air Tuesdays at 10 p.m.
CBS is bringing on one other new series in the fall. "Three Rivers," to air Sundays at 9 p.m., is a medical drama about organ donation.
CBS also renewed the comedy "The New Adventures of Old Christine," which ABC had been eager to pick up if CBS didn't want to air it any longer.
CBS is a division of CBS Corp.
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