David 18 May 2006 http://community.tvguide.com/forum.jspa?forumID=700000048 Roush Dispatch by Matt Roush Upfront Update: CBS Everyone knows that CBS is a master at scheduling (just scan its consistently top-rated lineup). But who knew they could logistically arrange for the stars of one of Broadways biggest hits, the multi-Tony-nominated Jersey Boys, to be ferried from the August Wilson Theatre to Carnegie Hall and back, during intermission of their Wednesday matinee performance, to sing Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons hits at this years upfront presentation. That and a surprise performance by Mariah Carey (who has a prime-time special next season) proved that, prime-time success aside, CBS still knows a thing or two about old-fashioned showmanship. Carnegie Hall is the right venue for these guys. With only four new fall series to tout, CBS projected an aura of confidence and stability. Which isnt the same as complacency. This explains why CBS is moving Thursday hit Without a Trace to Sundays, replacing the Sunday movie with a two-hour crime block of Cold Case at 9, followed by Trace at 10. Its time for the network to try to create a new hit with the powerhouse CSI lead-in. It wont take long to learn if James Woods as Shark is the ticket. Heres a night-by-night analysis of CBSs solid-as-a-rock lineup: (for more on the fall lineups, go to http://online.tvguide.com/special/fallpreview2006/index.asp) Monday: The comedy block returns with only one addition. Providing a compatible bridge between How I Met Your Mother (at 8 pm/ET) and Two and a Half Men (at 9) is the new The Class from Friends creator David Crane. Clips scored quite a few laughs during the presentation as we were introduced to a disparate group of 20somethings who were all in the same 3rd-grade class but who had understandably grown apart. When all are brought together by series star Jason Ritter (a chip off his late fathers charming block), new relationships are formed. The cast includes a couple of Broadway ringers, including (as a guy with suicide on his mind) Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who stops the show each night in Broadways The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee musical. If this show makes him a star, that will be enough for me. The night continues with The New Adventures of Old Christine and CSI: Miami. Looks like a winner to me. (The King of Queens will return, though not necessarily on Monday, at midseason.) Tuesday: Why tinker with success? The smash hit NCIS will lead into midseason hit The Unit, and the troublesome 10 pm/ET time period will now be occupied by Smith (what an awfully generic title), the latest in a recent line of dramas positioning thieves as series stars. This one looks less pretentious than FXs defunct Thief, and much less smugly hateful than NBCs quickly canceled Heist. With a gorgeous cast that includes Ray Liotta, Virginia Madsen, Simon Baker and Jonny Lee Miller, this may not be able to unseat NBCs Law & Order: SVU, but it could be a good fit with The Unit, in that it also deals with people leading secret lives (although here not nearly so patriotic). Wednesday: CBSs most intriguing new series kicks off the night, an apocalyptic thriller titled Jericho, about residents of a small, remote Kansas town cut off from society in the wake of a nuclear explosion. With no communication from the outside world, they fend for themselves, in essence becoming an island (shades of Lost?), a society in microcosm. Skeet Ulrich heads the large cast. Will this work where all of last seasons sci-fi genre shows failed? Possibly, because like Lost, Jericho grounds its fantasy in a real-seeming world. At least its not just another crime show. Which is, of course, exactly what Jericho leads into: the combo of Criminal Minds and CSI: NY. Thursday: CBSs most successful night shakes things up for the first time in seasons. Not in the first two hours, where Survivor and CSI will likely continue to dominate (even with ABCs Greys Anatomy in the picture). At 10 pm/ET, Without a Trace is replaced by Shark, a legal drama starring the estimable James Woods in his first regular series lead. He plays a crafty, full-of-himself lawyer who decides to play for the prosecutors side, using many of the same unscrupulous courtroom tricks that once freed so many of his clients. Jeri Ryan plays his disapproving district attorney boss. Could be fun, or could be the first chink in CBSs armor on this all-important night. Friday: No changes. Saturday: Who cares. Sunday: 60 Minutes is back, with Katie Couric and Anderson Cooper among the new contributors, followed by a transplanted The Amazing Race. I like this scheduling, although it might suffer by going head-to-head with ABC reality phenom Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Both are well-liked by and aimed at family audiences. But it seems like a good Sunday show to me. This is followed by the crime combo of Cold Case and Without a Trace, which could do some damage to ABC, especially with Greys Anatomy no longer a factor. All in all, a solid lineup by a network that doesnt need to take many risks, so doesnt.