streaming wars

The Good Fight Is Coming to Real CBS So You Can’t Deny It Actually Exists

Photo: CBS

Christine Baranski’s critically worshipped CBS All Access drama The Good Fight is headed to CBS broadcast — at least for the summer. In a bid to raise the profile of the streaming series among both general audiences and Emmy voters, the network said on Wednesday that it will air all ten episodes of Fight’s first season on Sunday nights, starting with back-to-back episodes June 16 from 9–11 p.m. Two more installments will run on June 23, before the series settles into its regular summer slot of Sundays at 10 p.m. on June 30. While it’s rare for a streaming show to hop over to a linear network, giving an All Access original a run on its sibling broadcast network makes all the sense in the world for both platforms.

For big CBS, the move means ten more hours of original programming during the summer, eliminating a few more reruns and giving the tens of millions of CBS viewers who don’t subscribe to All Access the chance to sample a series which has its roots at CBS: Fight, after all, is a spinoff of the broadcast network’s long-running hit The Good Wife. (Fight also premiered in 2017 with a special CBS broadcast of its pilot before immediately shifting to All Access.) Plus, CBS can use Fight to promote the upcoming premiere of Evil, a new series from Wife and Fight creators Robert and Michelle King, slated to air Sundays this fall.

Meanwhile, All Access stands to benefit on multiple fronts. As noted in a press release announcing the scheduling, the early part of Fight’s CBS run will overlap with the end of Emmy voting season. With season three of the show up for Emmy consideration this year, any added exposure at a time when awards voters are mulling their options certainly won’t hurt. But perhaps even more important, CBS’s broadcasts of Fight will essentially serve as a two-month advertisement for All Access: Audiences who discover the show on CBS will be able to immediately sign up for All Access and watch seasons two and three. And historically, All Access sees a bump in its subscriber tally during the summer from Big Brother die-hards who sign up for the service in order to watch the live feeds of the CBS reality soap.

While the summer run of Fight on CBS seems a no-brainer, the decision to put the show on broadcast likely wasn’t a simple one for CBS Corp. execs. It seems possible there was a discussion of whether or not offering All Access originals on a free platform would send a message to current subscribers that they didn’t need to pay for the service since shows might end up running elsewhere for free. But the two-year gap between Fight’s All Access release and its CBS run should be long enough to avoid any confusion over where the show lives as an original. What’s more, the version of Fight which airs on CBS will be, per a network press release, “edited for broadcast.” While it’s not clear exactly how those edits will be handled, CBS will not be airing any of the show’s glorious uses of the word “fuck” (as in this season-two scene) without at the very least bleeping said profanity. (On shows such as Survivor and Late Show With Stephen Colbert, CBS will often cut audio or bleep and obscure the lips of a speaker who uses certain four-letter words.) Also, given that some season-one episodes run as long as 54 minutes, it’s very likely CBS will have to cut entire scenes to fit them into an hour-long broadcast TV slot, where dramas typically run around 44 minutes in length. Reps for CBS and Fight producer CBS Studios declined to say exactly how the network will edit Fight to make it suitable for broadcast.

The Good Fight Is Coming to CBS So You Can’t Deny It Exists