MAJOR SHIFT ALERT! CBS Ditches Pilots for Long-Term Development, Unveils 2023-24 Lineup with Super Bowl & ‘NCIS’ Bombshell – Exclusive Insights from Amy Reisenbach!

It’s late January, the customary kickoff for pilot season in the television industry, but CBS is breaking away from tradition. Instead of the typical pilot orders for the upcoming fall, the network already has five scripted series lined up for next season, with a potential “Fire Country” spinoff in development.

The past few years, marked by the pandemic and a double Hollywood strike, disrupted the TV development cycle. CBS, known for adhering to tradition, seemed poised to return to its usual ways. However, under the leadership of Amy Reisenbach, who became Entertainment President in November 2022, CBS underwent a significant shift. During the 2023 pilot season, the network ordered its fewest pilots ever—four, along with two development rooms for medical dramas targeting the 2024-25 season.

This departure from the traditional pilot cycle is part of CBS’ new long-term development strategy. With Reisenbach and CBS President and CEO George Cheeks at the helm, the network aims to plan its scripted series lineup well in advance, taking inspiration from movie studios’ strategies. This shift allows CBS to have scripted originals ready for the fall schedule, even in the event of an industry strike.

In an interview with Deadline, Reisenbach emphasized the benefits of the long-term approach. She highlighted the increased efficiency in production, longer marketing ramp-ups, and the ability to strategize cohesively. CBS is already thinking about projects for the 2025-26 season and plans to open more development rooms in the coming months.

While the traditional broadcast development cycle may still play a role, CBS is committed to a more flexible and bespoke approach, deciding whether shows go to pilot, straight to series, or start with a development room based on the individual project’s merits. Reisenbach’s goal is to open one to two more development rooms by spring or summer, demonstrating CBS’ commitment to year-round development.

Reisenbach discussed the network’s recent unscripted successes, such as “Survivor” and “Race,” emphasizing the power of CBS to experiment and adapt. She acknowledged that the industry is evolving, and CBS wants to remain flexible in response to changing dynamics.

The interview also covered the financial challenges faced by the broadcast industry, Reisenbach’s expectations for the upcoming scripted lineup, and insights into the decision-making process behind ending long-running shows like “Blue Bloods,” “Young Sheldon,” and “S.W.A.T.” Reisenbach emphasized the network’s commitment to providing proper endings for shows and addressing financial considerations while aiming to sustain long-term runs.

As CBS faces upcoming negotiations with NBCUniversal for multi-season renewals, Reisenbach expressed optimism but acknowledged the need for the industry to address the escalating costs of producing series. Overall, the interview provided a comprehensive look at CBS’ strategic shift and its plans for the evolving landscape of television.

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