CBS Gets its Mid-Season Report Card

The Good: If you’re into gruesome murders, gory procedurals and Chris O’Donnell —which judging from the network’s ratings, an awful lot of you are — CBS is the place to be. But putting aside for a moment the inexplicably popular NCIS, CSI and soon-to-be CRIMINAL MINDS franchises, the Tiffany network has also succeeded in making us laugh. Thanks to a dominant Monday night comedy block (including HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER and THE BIG BANG THEORY) and two massively underrated Wednesday night laughers (We’re here, we’re fans of GARY UNMARRIED, get used to it!)

The Bad: The network that had yet to meet a procedural it couldn’t turn into a ratings smash just did. Not only was Alex O’Loughlin’s now defunct THREE RIVERS dead on arrival, the high profile Julianna Margulies vehicle THE GOOD WIFE continues to lose a worrisome amount of viewers from its powerhouse NCIS lead in. Plus, while THE AMAZING RACE and SURVIVOR remain popular vets of the reality genre, they’ve begun to show their age, lagging far beyond competitive shows such as DANCING WITH THE STARS and AMERICAN IDOL in both ratings and buzz.

The Prognosis: Positive. While CBS may not exactly be this TV Addict’s cup of tea — there is absolutely no denying the fact that in this day and age of fractured viewership — 20 plus million viewers tuning into back-to-back episodes of NCIS is an accomplishment unto itself. That said, we’ve always had a sneaking suspicison that CBS’ numbers, which skew slightly older than the advertiser friendly 18-49, are massively misleading in the sense that CBS may only attract the most eyeballs because their target audience remains the last vestige of traditional viewing habits (ie. older, less internet savvy viewers who have yet to discover hulu) In other-words, one can’t help but wonder what the future holds for CBS when Nielsen finally gets their act together and starts to factor in online eyeballs.

The Grade: A-

Tune in tomorrow when we give ABC their midseason report card.

• NBC gets its Mid-Season Report Card

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  • Nick

    One has to wonder if CBS would’ve had two more hits had they only named them…NCIS: Pittsburgh and NCIS: Elin Woods.

    While CBS does have some nice shows, I currently make it a point to watch zero during first run. I’ll catch the comedies in repeats (and I agree, they do have at least four good ones) and new 48 Hours eppies. My grandma liked it, though, before she passed on.

  • Ace

    I don’t really watch that much on CBS (just HIMYM & BBT), but you have to give it to them. They have found their niche and they are good at keeping it. I think every show my mother-in-law watches comes on CBS.

  • BizarroP

    i hate CBS… bottom of the barrel programming with no need of brain use. (apparently that is not true of BBT & HIMYM but i dont watch either because of my distaste for the laugh track)

  • bws

    CBS is a wasteland for me. I believe the only thing I watch is The Amazing Race. And it’s hard to really compare TAR with DWTS or AI. I’m not positive but I think TAR has had very similar ratings in each season, whereas AI actually is off about 5-8 million from 4 years ago. But yeah, it’s numbers are still huge. DWTS is struggling because they are getting too far down the list of celebs who want to dance. It’s getting a little C/D-listy.

  • TVFan

    Proving your point, me – a young savvy internet user who doesn’t watch CBS. My mom – an older tv fan who loves CBS and only uses the computer as her ‘email machine’

  • Megan

    I do watch a lot of the CBS shows but not always on the TV. However I am a fan of Three RIvers and make a point of watching it.. before it was on hiatus (which might end up being a forever break) . I’m sad that it didn’t hit the mark with everyone. It’s really worth a watch, especially after that guest appearance by Mandy Patkin , it was a fantastic performance.

  • forg

    TAR has been on for 8 years and 15 seasons, the ratings are pretty consistent 10-11 million viewers and it was a bubble show for its first four seasons and now its a stable show and the only show rating very well on CBS Sundays

    Survivor is down but the show has been on for almost a decade but still winning its time slot.

  • shanna

    I love The Amazing Race, and the comedies, and a few procedurals (Cold Case, Numb3rs, Flashpoint). I also liked Three Rivers. CBS is one of those networks where I tune in for very specific shows, I never just end up on the channel.

    But I disagree about Amazing Race falling behind. Quality-wise, this was one of the best seasons and I like that it’s reached the point of “throwback” challenges and I like that they’veadded new things like Speed Bumps.

  • http://Yahoo Rick

    I am of the older generation, I like CBS and most of their shows, I don’t watch NBC and very little of ABC. I also enjoy shows on FOX, TNT, USA, and FX. I don’t worry about Nielsen ratings and the crowd they go after, I am retired and have more spending as a retired person than the 18-49 group. I also use my pc for more than just e-mail, I gripe to my Senators,
    Congressmen, President, etc. I also know the hulu,,,,,do you?

  • Nick

    Remember when Les Moonves said that teens and young adults were a “bullsh** demographic?” Spoken like a guy who knows his network’s audience is comprised of…well, old people. He contended that young people didn’t have money to spend like old people, saying even his daughter came to HIM for cash. What he failed to realize is: old people hoard their money, while youth are free-spenders.

    That’s what makes the 12-34 demographic so attractive. And it’s also the likely reason CBS wanted to be in partnership biz with The CW.

  • Linda B.

    Only show I watch on CBS is Survivor. I do watch Medium too, but that started on NBC so that doesn’t really count. CBS shows just don’t interest me. Too many similar crime dramas. Yawn!

  • LS

    I am 29 years old & CBS is my favorite network. Although a few of my favorite shows appear on other networks, 10 of the shows I watch regularly appear on CBS. I like crime shows & comedies, & CBS does them well. Yes, I do use my internet for more than email, & yes, I know what hulu is, but seriously, why would I watch TV on a 17 inch computer screen, if I had the option of watching it on a 40 inch flat screen through the cable/satellite I’m paying for anyway?

  • nvflybaby

    I agree with Rick. CBS is the only network I watch faithfully. However, I think we have enought CSI programs. I only watch the original and it’s becoming a “push”

    The Good Wife is a refreshing new show. With all the cheating husbands it interesting to see things from the wife’s point of view. It is well written and with a terrific cast.

    The Mentalist is beginning to go no where, as is Criminal Minds.

  • Kelly

    I’m 30, and I watch a decent amount of CBS. I have dual tuner dvr, and watch a lot on hulu and fancast. I am as computer literate and tech savy as anyone else my age, which is to say, very. Between the dvr, live tv, and the internet, I watch HIMYM, BBT, NCIS, NCIS LA, Criminal Minds, CSI:NY, CSI, The Mentalist, Ghost Whisperer, Numbers, TAR, Desperate Housewives, and Brothers & Sisters.
    So, out of 18 possible hours per network (not Saturdays) either watched live, dvr’d, or watchd online within a week of when they’re posted, I watch between 11 and 12 hours of CBS depending on the live/repeat schedule on other networks.
    I watch 4 hours of The CW, 10 of Fox, 5 of NBC, 6 of ABC, 2 of A&E, 2 of USA, 2 of TNT, 3 of Bravo, and 2 each of FX, Showtime and HBO. So, yeah, that’s 50 + hours/ week. I watch a lot of tv.
    But, my point was- I’m youngish, computer literate (and always online) and I watch shows on all the networks and a lot of cable channels, but I watch more CBS than anything else, with Fox close behind. I don’t think you can attribute all of their viewership to old, computer illiterate people. I think lots of women in the 18-49 demo watch Criminal Minds, going by the insane amount of crazy fanfic out there.

  • MichaelC2B

    CBS has done it to me again – first Moonlight, now Three Rivers. I will follow Alex O’Loughlin wherever his career takes him – he is a brilliant talent and deserves to be treated as such. Can’t wait for The Back-Up Plan in April, and I have my preorder in at Amazon for WhiteOut. Alex rocks in all that he does. One day soon he will be a huge star in movies and will be taking home Oscars. Alex is beautiful inside and out and deserves only the best.