It's taken ten years, but CSI, CBS' seemingly indestructible franchise, is finally starting to falter. Last month, for the first time, CSI: Miami fell behind Castle. Wednesday night's CSI: NY has been losing in demographics to Law and Order: SVU, and the original CSI , which airs on Thursdays, has been finishing third with the under-50 audience (gasp!).
So how will CBS solve this new, perhaps predictable, problem? Variety thinks "some sort of sked shakeup seems inevitable when CBS rolls out its 2010 fall lineup next week." But why would CBS screw with what has clearly been a successful strategy, even if it's no longer the leader of the pack? One reason is the strength of the lead-ins. All three CSIs have strong lead-ins, and CBS may want to get new shows in those time slots to help build a new audience. Then there's the issue of competition. Instead of airing CSI: NY at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, after a weak lead-in from Criminal Minds, which tends to get decimated by American Idol, CBS may want to hold new episodes of that version and revive it mid-season.
To be sure, the issues CBS is having with its CSI franchise are small ones. NBC would kill for a problem like this.
Change likely in the air for 'CSI' [Variety]