The major questions with CBS since The Runway launched have been: 1. Can they find a companion show to leverage the huge Nielsen numbers of The Big Bang Theory? and 2. Can they produce shows that skew a bit younger in the key demo, which advertisers prefer? For the first question, the answer is pretty much “no.” For the second question, the answer is also pretty much “no.” But Les Moonves is still getting paid the big bucks, so the failure in these two efforts hasn’t crippled CBS too much.
Last pilot season at CBS was pretty disappointing. The Great Indoors, still squarely on the bubble, seems a bad fit for Joel McHale’s comic sensibilities. Man With a Plan, which swapped out its lead female after getting picked up to series, did just enough to get renewed but isn’t exactly generating much heat. Kevin Can Wait started off with strong Nielsen numbers, before nose-diving and changing showrunners. And Superior Donuts, after a re-tool, ran a shortened season and got a renewal, which is good since CBS comedy has been dinged repeatedly for a lack of diversity.
This season has a lot of pilots shot, but not a lot of schedule room. How these pilots come in may determine the fate of 2 Broke Girls and The Great Indoors. Let’s see if the network will fare better than last season.