CBS Shortens Episode Counts For Its Scripted Originals

Well, this is a bummer.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, CBS has made the difficult decision to shorten the episode count for its scripted original series. Most of the network's in-house productions will run between 16 and 18 episodes as COVID-19 continues to spread and, as a result, effect production schedules. Network productions usually run for 22 to 24 episodes per season.

Popular CBS dramas like Blue Bloods, Bull, Magnum P.I., NCIS, NCIS: New Orleans and SEAL Team will each run for 16 episodes, while NCIS: Los Angeles and comedy The Neighborhood will run for a slightly longer 18 episodes. The Unicorn's sophomore season will stick with its planned 13-episode order, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Unlike previous years, CBS held off on launching its returning scripted comedies and dramas until November. Normally, TV shows return in September and October. This delay will allow most of their in-house productions to run until May despite the shortened seasons.

Back in May, CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl told THR he hoped CBS would see their shows return to TV with full seasons. "[W]e may find that they simply run out of time and for some shows, it might mean 20 versus 22, depending on when they start," he said. "Our hope is for full seasons of all of these shows. We've spoken to them and all understand there may be limitations to what can be accomplished this season."

While it's unfortunate that so many beloved shows won't get their full run this year, it beats the alternative—cancellation. A number of promising TV shows were cancelled this year due to scheduling and production difficulties amid the pandemic.

Photo: CBS