Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Eyeing CBS. Nearing the end now of my annual indulgence about how to revive the sinking broadcast networks with programming promoting the universal values like faith in God, kindness, forgiveness, gratitude, tolerance, wisdom, personal responsibility and the all-important ability to laugh at one’s own foibles (as opposed to spitefully mocking those with whom we differ). I’ve already posted my imaginary (or, as I would like to think of them, visionary) schedules for NBC, Fox and ABC. Now, it’s CBS’ turn.

CBS, BTW, was the only network to post an audience gain last season (albeit a very slight one).  The reason it’s doing relatively well may be that its programming is the least edgy of any network — though a  bit more heart would probably boost the network still higher.

Anyway, here’s what CBS has actually decided upon programming for the 2013-2014 season. You can also get more details about the new shows the network actually picked up by following that link.  Below is my proposed schedule. NEW SHOWS ARE IN CAPS. (In some cases, I’ve taken the liberty of changing the titles.)

8:00 – How I Met Your Mother
8:30 – SIMON SAYS (aka The Crazy Ones, Robin Williams as genius ad agency boss Simon Roberts.  Sarah Michelle Gellar is his daughter.)
9:00 – Mike & Molly
9:30 – MOM (from Chuck Lorre, about three generations of dysfunctional women)
10:00 – The Good Wife/Spring: THE ADVOCATES (A female lawyer and male ex-con team up a victims’ advocates)
NOTE: I’m not a particular fan of Chuck Lorre’s raunchy humor but given his success at the network (i.e. The Big Bang Theory which  is also, in my view, his best show) you’d probably have to give his new show a shot — especially since I would cancel his aging, expensive and overrated Two and a Half Men. Re: Mom, I would hope that he could be encouraged to move his characters toward a better place as the show moves on.

8:00 – NCIS
9:00 – NCIS Los Angeles
10:00 – THE RED TEAM (about a traveling team of NCIS investigators)
NOTE: Extending the NCIS brand over the entire night seems like a good idea.

8:00 – INTELLIGENCE (Josh Holloway of Lost is a U.S. agent with a super computer chip in his brain.)
9:00 – Person of Interest
10:00 – Hawaii Five-0
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NOTE: I must say the trailer sold me on Intelligence. It looks like a lot of fun.

8:00 – The Big Bang Theory
8:30 – SUPER CLYDE (comedy about a fast-food worker who decides to become a superhero.)
9:00 – BEVERLY HILLS COP (Update of the Eddie Murphy film series)
10:00 – Golden Boy/Spring: BACKSTROM (a brilliant but misanthropic detective solves crimes.)
NOTE: Golden Boy had some of that NYPD Blue heart that is missing from so many newer detective shows and deserved to be renewed.
What I’ve read about Backstrom intrigues me. Take this, for instance, from The Hollywood Reporter: (Dennis) Haysbert will play Det. John Almond, one of the detectives working with Backstrom. Kind and warm, Almond has been married 30 years and is devoutly religious. I’d be very tempted to spin that character off into his own show.
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8:00 – Blue Bloods
9:00 – CSI
10:00 – Vegas/Spring: PALADIN (David Mamet’s remake of Have Gun – Will Travel)
NOTE: Vegas deserved more time.  Reviving Have Gun – Travel strikes me as a great idea. I can’t help but wonder if Mamet’s recent embracing of conservatism had something to do with CBS not moving forward on what I think would have been a sure-fire (so to speak) hit.
FLASHBACK: Have Gun – Will Travel
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8:00 – YOU & ME (Matthew Broderick as a widower raising his son.)
8:30 –  THE GAFFIGANS (Comedian Jim Gaffigan in a family comedy.)
9:00 – CBS NEWS: PROFILES (The best of CBS News’ profiles)
10:00 – CBS News: Mystery (aka 48 Hours Mystery)
With a tight scheduled, CBS needs space for trying out new shows. Why not begin to reopen Saturdays. I’d begin with a pair or traditional family sitcoms. Also, CBS News is superb at inspirational profiles — whether on 60 Minutes, the excellent CBS Sunday Morning or its refreshingly-intelligent CBS This Morning program. Saturday night seems like a good time to gather the best of those into one hour of inspiring TV. As for  changing the name of 48 Hours Mystery, as the show is executed, the current name seems meaningless and I hate nonsensical titles. 

7:00 – 60 Minutes
8:00 – The Amazing Race/Winter: Undercover Boss/Spring: Survivor
9:00 – Elementary
10:00 – The Mentalist/Spring: Criminal Minds
I’d have CBS’ successful – but aging – reality franchises share one time slot. The Amazing Race, BTW, is one of the very few show’s currently on the broadcast network grid that I actually enjoy. Undercover Boss is nice and heartwarming — but how long can they really keep that concept going?

Also, I’d bring aging Mentalist with a big Fugitive-style finale that has the hero finally catching up with the killer of his wife and daughter. And,  while I’d bring Criminal Minds back (due to its strong ratings), I’d revamp it to have the team solve clever crimes that don’t involve serial killers. I really don’t like shows that dwell on such lurid and violent crimes. Too much of that stuff can’t be good for society.

FLASHBACK: The Fugitive
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Tomorrow: The CW

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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