Question: I know CBS has won every week of the season. I bet they'll win every week until ABC's Bowl season starts. I bet they'll also win every week, with the exception of the Super Bowl week and the two weeks of the Olympics. Should CBS really celebrate this? Of course! However, once people get tired of the crime dramas, the whole schedule will collapse. I mean, they have nine procedurals on their schedule (excluding Saturday repeats of, you guessed it, more procedurals), so it's bound to happen. I hope that it does. I can't even watch CSI anymore because of how much I now hate procedurals. But to my question: Do you think that the same thing that happened to ABC with its multiple airings of Millionaire will happen to CBS? If so, when? Because I can't wait!
Answer: I'm not quite as bloodthirsty about the prospect as you seem to be. But to me the most depressing outcome of the season so far has not been the cancellations of promising shows like Threshold and Just Legal (most of the others deserved it), or the woes of Arrested Development and Kitchen Confidential on Fox. What really irks me is the success of Criminal Minds, one of the most generic, uninspired and criminally mundane shows CBS has presented in a long while, with performances that veer from mannered (Mandy Patinkin) to wooden (just about everyone else). This is a show that reinforces the cliché that the CBS viewer will watch just about anything as long as there are dead bodies in it. The glut of crime dramas has gotten to the point where I'm beginning to get a reputation as a curmudgeon where procedurals are concerned, and that bothers me. I still enjoy the original CSI, Without a Trace and Cold Case, I think Numbers is clever on those rare Fridays when I'm home to watch, Close to Home makes sense to me (though I don't feel the impulse to TiVo it), I'm loving Bones, and so on. But to answer your basic question: There is a long-standing belief that everything in TV is cyclical, and when the passion cools for procedurals — an event that appears to be nowhere in sight yet — CBS will be in desperate straits unless it sees the end coming early and prepares with at least a few shows that veer from the formula. I'm especially worried about the prospects for CBS' mid-season comedy-drama Love Monkey, mainly because no one dies in it. Yet.