Wednesday, May 17, 2006

CBS: It's good to be the king

When you're on top of the heap, you don't fiddle with success, as CBS's 2006-07 primetime schedule reaffirms.

The Eye Network, which boasts the top shows in almost every programming category these days, returns almost its entire smorgasbord of offerings for another season, debuting only four new series this fall. I can't recall the last time one of the major webs introduced that few new programs. Or needed to.

Here's what's fresh on the CBS menu:
  • The Class. The only new comedy for CBS this fall, it's about a bunch of good-looking twentysomethings (played by a motley assortment of unfamiliar names) who meet up two decades after they were all in the third grade together. Historically, TV series built around school reunions (What Really Happened to the Class of '65?, Reunion) have failed miserably. Just a thought.

  • Smith. Ray Liotta plays a master thief. Man, we've seen a ton of shows with this premise since the success of Ocean's Eleven and Twelve: Thief, Hustle, Heist, the new ABC show Let's Rob... You'd think the genre would have played out by now. A good cast here, though, with Jonny Lee Miller, Simon Baker, and the delightful Virginia Madsen on hand to support Liotta, who's always interesting to watch.

  • Jericho. Remember the seminal '80s TV movie The Day After, where a Kansas town is destroyed by a nuclear warhead? Now imagine they turned that into a series, and you'd have Jericho. Sounds depressing.

  • Shark. James Woods stars as a ruthless defense attorney who switches sides in mid-career. Jeri Ryan plays Woods's boss, adding at least two reasons to sample this. Spike Lee directed the pilot. CBS is awarding this show the catbird seat behind CSI on Thursday nights, with the popular Without a Trace moving to Sundays.


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