August 18, 2019

CBS Unveils Its New Lineup After a Season of Crisis

On the prime-time front, the network paid a $9.5 million settlement to Eliza Dushku, a former co-star of one of the network’s top shows, “Bull,” after she accused the program’s star, Michael Weatherly, of sexual harassment.

When The Times reported on the settlement in December, Mr. Weatherly said, “I am sorry and regret the pain this caused Eliza.” Last week, on the day CBS announced it had renewed “Bull” for a fourth season, Steven Spielberg’s production company, Amblin, said it would no longer be a producer of the show.

“He made a mistake, he admitted to that mistake,” Kelly Kahl, the lead entertainment executive for CBS, said of Mr. Weatherly at a media gathering on Wednesday. “We believe Michael was honest in his remorse, and I personally believe people can make a mistake and recover from that.”

The allegations concerning “Bull” came to light not long after the network parted ways with Brad Kern, a former showrunner of “NCIS: New Orleans,” after he was accused of harassment and making racially insensitive remarks.

CBS now has another problem unrelated to its workplace culture: the loss of its biggest hit, with “The Big Bang Theory” ending its 12th and final season on Thursday. In its last year, the Chuck Lorre-produced comedy juggernaut averaged 17.3 million viewers a week, making it the most-viewed network entertainment show. It was also popular among the group advertisers crave: 18- to 49-year-olds.

“Is it kind of a bummer to lose ‘Big Bang Theory’? Of course it is,” Mr. Kahl said.

Beneath the gloom, though, CBS still has something other networks envy: millions of loyal (if graying) viewers, thanks to its sturdy lineup of cop shows, sitcoms, Sunday N.F.L. broadcasts and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” the biggest ratings hit in late night. For more innovative fare, the CBS Corporation has Showtime, the cable home of “Billions” and “Desus Mero,” and CBS All Access, the streaming service that signed Jordan Peele for a reboot of “The Twilight Zone.”

The company remains a reliable Wall Street pick, too. The stock has shot up more than sevenfold since CBS started its ratings run more than a decade ago. Episodes of the network’s prime-time programs average nine million viewers. NBC is the closest competitor, at 7.3 million.

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