CBS seems to have the strategy of "what you see is what you get." And you know what? It works for them.
As it has for the past several years, CBS won the overall ratings game with a block of programming that can hardly be considered varied, yet seems to find a wide audience.
THE GOOD: CBS had the top-rated drama "NCIS," the top-rated new drama "NCIS: LA" and the critically acclaimed "Good Wife," which should get some Emmy gold this fall. Couple that with shows that have built-in solid audiences like all of the "CSI" franchise, "Criminal Minds" and so forth, and it's Monday night sitcom lineup, and CBS seems to know what its viewers want.
Reality-wise, "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race" seem to be maintaining their audiences.
THE BAD: CBS' greatest strength is, IMO, also one of its main weaknesses. There's little variety in its programming. The bulk of the network is one-hour cop procedurals. When CBS announced it was pulling "Numb3rs" and "Cold Case," did anyone notice? Not likely, because there are six or eight other shows that are structured the same.
Also, CBS should likely avoid medical dramas, since both "Three Rivers" and "Miami Medical" fizzled.
OUTLOOK: It's kind of hard to write that CBS should do something different when what they are doing is working in terms of the ratings. I would like to see some variety, but it remains to be seen as to what new stuff they will bring. GRADE: B-plus.
TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: President Obama's prime-time speech about the oil spill is supposed to last 15 minutes tonight, but I'm not sure how the networks are changing their programming because of it.
On cable, however, there's a new "Ashes To Ashes" (BBC America, 10 p.m.) and a new "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (USA, 10 p.m.)
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