Published May 18, 2005
NEW YORK – CBS (search) on Wednesday canceled "Judging Amy," "Joan of Arcadia" and the Wednesday edition of "60 Minutes" (search) as the nation's most popular network tries to attract younger viewers.
The network will add two new comedies and four new dramas next season, including a series in which Jennifer Love Hewitt talks to dead people.
"Two and a Half Men," (search) the highest-rated situation comedy left on broadcast television, will move into the 9 p.m. Monday slot vacated by "Everybody Loves Raymond," which drew a series-high 33 million viewers to its finale this week.
CBS is again the most-watched network and this season will narrowly miss beating FOX among the youthful 18-to-49-year-old demographic prized by advertisers. If FOX hadn't aired the Super Bowl this season, CBS said, it would have won.
Four of the five prime-time CBS programs with the oldest audience were removed from the schedule. CBS also canceled the Jason Alexander comedy "Listen Up" and the long-running military drama "JAG" stopped production. The Sunday "60 Minutes" remains as the CBS show with the oldest audience.
"We want to win it all," said Leslie Moonves, CBS chairman.
The Wednesday spinoff to "60 Minutes" was doomed by low ratings, not its controversial story last fall about President Bush's military service, Moonves said. With "48 Hours Mysteries" on Saturday, CBS has two remaining newsmagazines.
The failure of "Joan of Arcadia," which received an Emmy nomination and critical acclaim in its first season but faded this year, was one of his biggest disappointments, Moonves said.
CBS is trying two supernatural stories on Friday nights. "Threshold" features a team of experts called in when the Navy discovers aliens have landed in the Atlantic Ocean. Hewitt's "Ghost Whisperer," reminiscent of NBC's "Medium," is about a woman who conveys messages from dead people to the living.
"I think talking to ghosts may skew younger than talking to God," Moonves said.
With its crime dramas continuing to work well, CBS will add "Criminal Minds," a thriller about FBI profilers who try to stop criminals, and "Close to Home," with Jennifer Finnigan (NBC's "Committed) starring as a suburban prosecutor.
"King of Queens" returns to CBS's Monday comedy lineup, joined by two new shows: "How I Met Your Mother," a "Friends"-like romantic story created by two of David Letterman's former writers; and "Out of Practice," about a dysfunctional family of doctors, created by the team behind "Frasier."
CBS made no changes to its enormously successful Thursday lineup, where "Survivor" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" reign supreme.