The Big Four's most consistent schedule won't be changing too much for the 2014-15 season. CBS has announced early renewals for a whopping 18 series after previously picking up The Big Bang Theory (three-season renewal) and Survivor.
CBS' 20-strong returning slate includes comedies 2 Broke Girls, Mike & Molly and Two and a Half Men -- as well as freshmen The Millers and Mom. On the drama side, NCIS, NCIS: LA, Person of Interest, CSI, Hawaii Five-0, Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds, Elementary and The Good Wife will all be back for additional seasons.
With reality shows The Amazing Race and Undercover Boss and venerable news series 60 Minutes and 48 hours also scoring renewals, the only question marks in the massive order are freshman comedy The Crazy Ones, veteran drama The Mentalist and midseason offerings Intelligence and Friends With Better Lives -- the latter of which has yet to premiere.
And these renewals leave few holes on CBS' increasingly crowded schedule. The network recently won the highly competitive bid to split Thursday Night Football with the NFL Network this fall, displacing (or more likely delaying) some of its lineup for part of the season. CBS Corp. chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves has also said that he'd like to add two dramas and two comedies to the network's 2014-15 lineup. After the football win, CBS' scripted development slate was down compared with last year. The network has 19 pilots in contention for the schedule, off four year-over-year, with nine dramas and 10 comedies in the works (down two each). Vince Gilligan and David Shore's Battle Creek has also already scored a straight-to-series order.
The massive drama order is all but a given. NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles remain the No. 1 and 2 dramas on television among total viewers. The strong franchise, averaging a respective 4.1 and 3.3 rating among adults under 50 this season, also has the network exploring another spinoff with a planted pilot set for spring. The same goes for CSI. Now greenlit for a 15th season, and averaging a 3.0 rating in the key demo, the senior procedural is also getting a backdoor pilot for another spinoff. Criminal Minds also recently hit a two-year ratings high with its 200th episode during the ninth season.
Person of Interest and Elementary both continue to be strong, less broad players on the block. Elementary recently scored a massive $3 million-per-episode syndication deal. The Friday night combo of Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods proved fruitful for CBS this season, with Hawaii improving its ratings lot in its move from Monday. The two stand as the most-watched scripted series on the increasingly competitive night.
With an average 12 million viewers and a 2.0 rating among adults 18-49, The Good Wife is the softest performing scripted to series to get a renewal. But it stands as CBS' biggest -- and arguably only -- prestige show. It recently earned three Golden Globe nominations in its fifth season.
On the comedy front, the renewals for Two and a Half Men (its 12th season), Mike & Molly and rookie Mom will ensure Chuck Lorre will again have four comedies on CBS' primetime lineup. The pickups join TV's No. 1 comedy, The Big Bang Theory, which was renewed this week for three additional seasons. It's unclear if the Men renewal will be for an abbreviated or final season. The Jon Cryer-Ashton Kutcher starrer notched a series low this season when it was moved to Thursdays at 9:30 p.m., but after the network flipped it with freshman The Crazy Ones, both series posted ratings upticks. The Men renewal also comes early as the network has typically waited until inking new deals with its two stars.
For its part, Mike & Molly proved a reliable pinch-hitter after the comedy was benched for a midseason return in its fourth season. The series will return next year and could receive a nice ratings lift after FX will air syndicated repeats starting in September. Mom, starring Anna Faris, has been a reliable performer for the network on Mondays and will likely help fill the void after How I Met Your Mother ends its run this season.
Also returning is Greg Garcia's freshman comedy The Millers. It leaves Garcia with one series on the schedule after Fox announced this week that Garcia-created Raising Hope -- which he exited this season -- would end its run in April. Millers, which ranks as the No. 1 freshman comedy of the season, joins 2 Broke Girls, which is back for a fifth run when it will likely receive a boost from syndicated repeats that will begin airing on TBS in 2015.
Newcomer Hostages also didn't score a renewal, but between lackluster ratings and "event series" billing, it's been considered to be canceled for some time. Star Dylan McDermott has already signed to CBS' Kevin Williamson pilot in first position, further cementing its fate.