CBS Anoints Young Sheldon to Fill The Big Bang Theory’s Void This Fall

The schedule includes 3 freshman comedies and 2 new dramas

Young Sheldon will take over for The Big Bang Theory on Thursdays at 8 p.m. - Credit by Monty Brinton/CBS
Headshot of Jason Lynch

As expected, CBS has decided that the only show that can replace Sheldon Cooper and his Big Bang Theory pals next season is … Sheldon Cooper.

CBS has officially anointed Young Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory prequel, to move to 8 p.m. Thursdays next season, after TV’s No. 1 sitcom signs off tomorrow night, after 12 seasons.

The network released its 2019-20 schedule, which includes eight new series, ahead of this afternoon’s upfront presentation at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

This fall, CBS is programming five new shows (three comedies and two dramas)—more than any other broadcaster—all of which will debut on Monday and Thursday. “It allows us to focus our promotional resources and our efforts towards two nights,” CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl told reporters this morning.

This will be the first CBS schedule in 13 years without The Big Bang Theory, whose finale could signal the demise of blockbuster TV sitcoms. (CBS, of course, hopes that isn’t the case.)

Kahl said that CBS’ new schedule is “stable but not sleepy; aggressive but not reckless.”

Monday starts with The Neighborhood, which helped the network rebuild the night this season. That goes into new comedy Bob Hearts Abishola, from Chuck Lorre. It stars Billy Gardell as a middle-aged Detroit compression sock businessman who falls for his cardiac nurse, a Nigerian immigrant, while he recovers from a heart attack.

At 9 p.m. is new drama All Rise, a courthouse drama that follows those who work in the courts, including a newly-appointed judge (Simone Missick) who tries to shake things up. Kahl said it is “a courtroom drama with comedic elements.” Another courtroom drama, Bull, ends the night.

CBS has left Tuesday unchanged, with NCIS, FBI and NCIS: New Orleans.

Survivor and SEAL Team keep their Wednesday time slots, while S.W.A.T. shifts over to the evening at 10 p.m. “This is what I would label ‘viewer loyalty night,'” said Kahl, adding that SEAL Team had been performing well at 9 “until some idiots moved it to 10.”

Young Sheldon inherits The Big Bang Theory’s old time slot, leading into The Unicorn, a comedy about the best friends and family who help a widowed father (Walton Goggins) start dating again a year after his wife’s death.

Mom keeps its 9 p.m. slot, leading into Carol’s Second Act, starring Patricia Heaton as a divorced, retired teacher who decides to become a medical doctor and works as a medical intern with people half her age. Closing out the night is new drama Evil, a psychological mystery from The Good Wife and The Good Wife’s Robert and Michelle King about a skeptical female psychologist, a priest-in-training and a carpenter investigating unexplained Church mysteries.


The network has made tweaks to Fridays, where Hawaii Five-O moves up an hour, followed by a relocated Magnum P.I., with Blue Bloods ending the night.

CBS is keeping its Crimetime Saturday/48 Hours combo on Saturdays.

Sunday remains intact, with 60 Minutes leading into God Friended Me, followed by NCIS: Los Angeles and Madam Secretary, which Kahl said will end its run after a 10-episode final season.

CBS is keeping three shows for midseason, including FBI spinoff FBI: Most Wanted, starring Julian McMahon. It focuses on the Fugitive Task Force, which tracks criminals on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list.

Drama Tommy stars Edie Falco as a former high-ranking NYPD officer who becomes the first female chief of police for L.A.

The lone midseason comedy, Broke, is about a single mom (Pauley Perrette) who takes in her sister’s cash-strapped family after money gets tight.

“We’re very bullish on network TV and we’re very bullish on our new shows,” said Kahl.

The network chief admitted that “it was different” creating the new schedule without former CBS CEO Les Moonves, who exited the company last September following more than a dozen sexual harassment and intimidation allegations. While “Leslie was a strong leader and definitely had an influence over what we did,” said Kahl, “we’ve had a team that’s been in place and together for a very long time.”

CBS FALL 2019-20 SCHEDULE

(New programs in ALL CAPS)

MONDAY
8-8:30 p.m. — The Neighborhood
8:30-9 p.m. — BOB HEARTS ABISHOLA
9-10 p.m. — ALL RISE
10-11 p.m. — Bull

TUESDAY
8-9 p.m. — NCIS
9-10 p.m. —  FBI
10-11 p.m. — NCIS: New Orleans

WEDNESDAY
8-9 p.m. — Survivor
9-10 p.m. — SEAL Team
10-11 p.m. — S.W.A.T. (new time slot)

THURSDAY
8-8:30 p.m. — Young Sheldon (new time slot)
8:30-9 p.m. — THE UNICORN
9-9:30 p.m. — Mom
9:30-10 p.m. — CAROL’S SECOND ACT
10-11 p.m. — EVIL

FRIDAY
8-9 p.m. — Hawaii Five-O (new time slot)
9-10 p.m. — Magnum P.I. (new time slot)
10-11 p.m. — Blue Bloods

SATURDAY
8-10 p.m. — Crimetime Saturday
10-11 p.m. — 48 Hours

SUNDAY
7-8 p.m. — 60 Minutes
8-9 p.m. — God Friended Me
9-10 p.m. — NCIS: Los Angeles
10-11 p.m. — Madam Secretary

MIDSEASON

The Amazing Race, Big Brother, BROKE, Criminal Minds, FBI: MOST WANTED, MacGyver, Man With a Plan, TOMMY, Undercover Boss


@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV/Media Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.