During the network’s presentation at the winter TCA’s, CBS made some major announcements that included a premiere date for the new Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and renewal confirmations for three new freshman dramas: Scorpion, Madam Secretary and NCIS: New Orleans.
As per the network’s statements, Late Show will premiere later this year on September 8th, 2015, which will follow a summer spent of CBS airing procedural reruns in the 11:35pm slot instead of typical late night reruns.
CBS is usually not a network that orders shows early, especially this early and far out from May upfronts. However, the last 12 months have been anything but typical for the network that also launched a $5/month OTT service that allows viewers to watch all of its content on demand. In addition, the network isn’t doing anything its competitors aren’t already (considering NBC pulled the same move by renewing The Blacklist early into its freshman run this time last year).
As for the decision to air reruns in Late Show with Stephen Colbert's future 11:35pm slot this summer, it’s possible the move has more to do with timing. Letterman’s finale is going to be taking place in a few months on May 20th, and the last thing CBS probably wants to do is tarnish the impact of that finale by thereafter airing old re-runs of Letterman episodes (as they gear up to launch Colbert in the fall). In addition, it was stated at the network’s panel that Colbert’s new series has yet to take a full form and that CBS will back whatever Stephen has planned for his takeover of the series.
Regarding the rest of the schedule, everything’s still up in the air, especially legacy series that include CSI:, NCIS and Criminal Minds (the latter of which is being prepped for an attempt at a new back-door pilot spin-off later this spring), as well as non-CBS owned series such as Stalker (which is owned by Warner Bros.). While NCIS may seem mostly safe given it’s still one of the top 10 most watched scripted dramas on television, the same can’t be said for CSI, which currently has no spin-off on the schedule (that of course will be changing very soon with the premiere of CSI: Cyber). As of now, CBS is more interested in looking forward with its new crop of shows than what it already has on the air - and doesn’t have to decide on until May.
And no, in case you’re curious, there’s still no word on whether or not the network will be ordering Supergirl to pilot (though most speculation would point to that being the case sooner rather than later).
Late Show with Stephen Colbert premieres September 8th, 2015 on CBS.