The season hasn't even started yet, but we can still predict with some confidence that barring some miraculous success on FOX's part, CBS will win the 2007-08 season in total viewers. After all, the network won last season in total viewers by nearly 2.5 million per week.
With that sort of cushion, it's hard to imagine anybody at CBS being concerned about the future, even if the new season begins without a single new show from reliable hitmaker Jerry Bruckheimer. Instead, CBS is attempting to think outside the box, trying to subvert the dominant paradigm, trying to use whatever buzz words multi-billion dollar corporations toss out when they've been on top seemingly forever.
So CBS will attempt to use its tried-and-true schedule of hits to launch a few riskier new programs. Will fans of the muscular, manly "The Unit" flock to "Cane" with its South Florida primetime soapiness and its thick Cuban accent? Will older viewers who nod in agreement with Andy Rooney on "60 Minutes" stick around for "Viva Laughlin" after the characters break into song? And will anybody be able to judge the up-with-children adventures of "Kid Nation" amidst a string of controversy from people who haven't seen a second of the show? When you're No. 1, those concerns somehow seem less pressing.
- Daniel Fienberg
CBS Stars Photo Gallery