CBS Steps Away From Reality Over Winter Schedule

By November 30, 2016
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CBS is taking a big step back when it comes to reality, focusing its winter schedule predominantly on what has become a very crowded scripted field.

amazingrace-insert113016The Amazing Race, the once-popular competition reality series that used to be a staple of the network’s Friday nights, will finally return nearly a year after it last aired a new episode. Although the most recent season has been in the can for months, CBS will debut the 29th season of the show on April 21 with a two-hour premiere. It will then stay in that Friday timeslot as the lead-in to both Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods.

By the time Amazing Race made it to that point in April this past year, it was already airing its ninth episode. The new schedule will add Amazing Race to its summer schedule, with the season finale airing sometime around the end of June.

The network’s perennial favorite Survivor isn’t faring too much better. The Jeff Probst-hosted series will launch its 34th season with a two-hour premiere on March 8, before settling into the 8 p.m. timeslot as a lead-in to Criminal Minds and Doubt.

Survivor‘s 32nd season kicked off this past year in early February, the kind of slot it has enjoyed for many years. By the time it reached this point in March, it was already four episodes in.

That means fans shouldn’t expect to find out who won the season until the end of May, at least a couple weeks after the regular television season ends for most other shows.

CBS has a lot working for it, including the fact that it hasn’t technically cancelled any shows so far this season, even though it has truncated some episode orders.

ransom-inset113016It starts with Ransom, the Canadian and French drama from former The X-Files producer Frank Spotnitz that stars Luke Roberts as a hostage negotiator, which debuts Jan. 1. It will air at 8:30 p.m. on the east coast after college football, and 8 p.m. on the west coast. It will then move into a rare Saturday timeslot the following week.

After that, Training Day starring Justin Cornwell, Bill Paxton and Drew Van Acker will take over Thursdays at 10 beginning Feb. 2.

Then CBS will push its most ambitious scripted series yet, Doubt, starring Katherine Heigl, Steven Pasquale and Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox on Feb. 15. It will be the first series on broadcast television that not only features a transgender lead character, but casts a transgender actor for the role.

CBS isn’t totally ditching reality. It’s just looking to add something new. Hunted, based on the British reality competition series, will treat its contestants like fugitives on the run who have to outrun former law enforcement and other intelligence gatherers. It premieres Jan. 22 after the NFL’s American Football Conference championship game (which will determine one of the teams competing in next year’s Super Bowl) on the east coast, and will take over the Wednesday slot typically earmarked for Survivor.

Two shows that didn’t make the schedule so far are Superior Donuts with Katey Sagal and Judd Hirsch, and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders with Gary Sinise and Alana De La Garza. CBS says it will announce premieres for both new shows at “a later date.”

SUNDAY (beginning Jan. 1)
8:30/8 p.m.
– Ransom

SUNDAY (beginning Jan. 22)
10/7 p.m.
– Hunted

WEDNESDAY (beginning Dec. 21)
8 p.m.
Undercover Boss

codeblack-inset113016WEDNESDAY (beginning Jan. 25)
8 p.m.
Hunted
10 p.m. – Code Black

WEDNESDAY (beginning Feb. 1)
8 p.m.
Hunted
9 p.m. – Criminal Minds
10 p.m. – Code Black

WEDNESDAY (beginning Feb. 15)
8 p.m.
Hunted
9 p.m. – Criminal Minds
10 p.m. – Doubt

WEDNESDAY (beginning March 8)
8 p.m.
Survivor
10 p.m. – Doubt

WEDNESDAY (beginning March 15)
8 p.m.
Survivor
9 p.m. – Criminal Minds
10 p.m. – Doubt

THURSDAY (beginning Feb. 2)
bigbang-insert1130168 p.m.The Big Bang Theory
8:30 p.m. – The Great Indoors
9 p.m. – Mom
9:30 p.m. – Life in Pieces
10 p.m. – Training Day

FRIDAY (beginning April 21)
8 p.m.The Amazing Race
10 p.m.Blue Bloods

FRIDAY (beginning April 28)
8 p.m.The Amazing Race
8 p.m.Hawaii Five-0
10 p.m.Blue Bloods

SATURDAY (beginning Jan. 7)
8 p.m.
– Ransom

(all times ET/PT)

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael began what has become nearly 19 years of entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based out of New York City where he is the editor of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in the Bronx.