CBS Closes Sunday Movie


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CBS Closes Sunday Movie

'Without a Trace' moves from Thursdays

May 17 2006

For about the fourth consecutive year, CBS is taking an if-it-ain't-broke approach to its fall schedule. And it's hard to blame them, given its status as TV's most-watched network for most of this decade.

The network did make one pretty big tweak of its schedule for 2006-07, though, and it could make Sunday nights a good deal more competitive come fall.

CBS has jettisoned its long-running Sunday movie franchise, which was the last place on broadcast TV that regularly aired original telefilms. Highly rated drama "Without a Trace" will move over from Thursdays to 10 p.m. Sunday this fall, with current Sunday show "Cold Case" moving from 8 to 9 p.m. "The Amazing Race" will slide into the 8 p.m. Sunday spot.

The Sunday shakeup at CBS could make for an interesting showdown among the three oldest networks come fall. NBC should get strong ratings from its prime-time NFL games, leaving CBS' crime shows to battle ABC's "Desperate Housewives" and new drama "Brothers & Sisters" for viewers of scripted programming.

There's a perception that "Housewives" isn't as strong as it was last season, when it was an out-of-the-box phenomenon. But it still draws better than 20 million viewers every week and trails only "American Idol" this season in the adults 18-49 demographic that advertisers so dearly love.

"Without a Trace" will also lose the benefit of a massive "CSI" lead-in every week (though "Cold Case" is hardly a weak sister, drawing better than 14 million viewers a week). The new drama "Shark," starring James Woods as a defense attorney-turned-prosecutor, is going into "Trace's" old Thursday spot.
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