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CBS renews 'The Amazing Race' but delays next edition 'til midseason


By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 05/16/2007 

CBS has announced that it has ordered another installment of The Amazing Race -- but the twelfth season of the four-time Emmy-Award winning reality competition series won't be part of the initial 2007-2008 primetime programming lineup that the network unveiled on Wednesday and is instead scheduled for a midseason debut.

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Fall 2007 will mark the first time since The Amazing Race's sixth season that the reality series will not -- presumably due to the gradual ongoing ratings decline that began with the Fall 2005 broadcast of the reality franchise's disastrous The Amazing Race: Family Edition -- be part of CBS' initial fall television season schedule. 

After The Amazing Race 5 delivered impressive ratings during its Summer 2004 broadcast, CBS decided to delay the premiere of the show's sixth season -- which was originally scheduled to be part of the network's initial fall schedule but air in a dismal Saturday night time period -- until the ratings failure of one of its new Fall 2004 shows created an opening on CBS' higher-profile weeknight primetime schedule.

The Amazing Race 6 eventually premiered in November 2004 as a Tuesday night replacement for the network's poorly rated baseball-themed Clubhouse drama.  Since then, The Amazing Race's next five installments have followed the twice-a-year Spring/Fall programming schedule that most popular broadcast reality competition franchises are broadcast on and been ordered on a two editions at a time basis.

In addition to the show's declining ratings, a general lack of fall schedule openings and a decision to pick up some riskier new shows that the network is calling "daring concepts" also likely contributed to CBS' decision to not place The Amazing Race's twelfth edition on its initial fall lineup.  CBS is only adding four and a half hours of new shows to its initial fall schedule -- one of which will be used to broadcast Kid Nation, a new Lord of the Flies-like reality series that will follow 40 kids between the ages of 8 and 15 who have 40 days to turn Bonanza City, NM, an abandoned ghost town, into a fully-functioning town. Kid Nation will air in the network's Wednesdays at 8PM ET/PT time period.

According to Daily Variety, Kid Nation (which has already completed filming) was originally scheduled to air this summer until CBS executives -- reportedly having "made finding the next big reality hit a huge priority" --  became excited about the show's breakout potential and decided to make it part of its 2007-2008 schedule.

With Survivor: China -- the long-running CBS reality competition series' fifteenth installment -- also scheduled to air this fall in the show's regular Thursdays at 8PM ET/PT time slot this fall, CBS likely decided there just wasn't enough room for a third reality series (especially a new edition of another long-running reality franchise) on its initial 2007-2008 primetime slate.

"We approached our development this year with a specific goal in mind - to be daring and different," CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler said in the network's schedule announcement. "The fall and midseason series we have selected offer creativity and variety with great potential to excite and surprise television audiences everywhere."

In addition to The Amazing Race, The New Adventures Of Old Christine and Swingtown -- a "provocative" new drama that will follow 1970's couples "reveling in the sexual and social revolution that introduced open marriages, women's liberation and challenged many conventional wisdoms" -- will also debut later in the 2007-2008 season. 

Despite averaging just under half a million more weekly viewers than The Amazing Race's recently concluded All-Stars edition (10.52 million versus 10.03 million), CBS decided not to renew Jericho, a drama about a small Kansas town attempting to survive a nuclear attack that destroyed most of the United States' major cities, for a second season.  Close to Home, a drama that averaged 10.33 million viewers in a Friday night time period and like The Amazing Race, is also produced by uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer's production company, was also not renewed for a third season. The Class, a first-year sitcom that only averaged 8.26 million viewers and aired its season finale in early March, was also not renewed by CBS.

Last fall's The Amazing Race 10 edition (the show's most recent non-All-Stars season) averaged 11.49 million overall viewers during its 12-episode run.

The Amazing Race 10 ranks 41th in the 2006-2007 primetime broadcast season's season-to-date average total viewer rankings.  Jericho ranks 50th, Close to Home ranks 54th, and The Amazing Race: All-Stars ranks 56th.  The Unit and How I Met Your Mother -- two other CBS shows that were renewed and be part of the network's initial Fall 2007 schedule -- rank 46th and 57th respectively.

As is typical for midseason series, CBS has not announced when The Amazing Race 12 will premiere, however The Amazing Race's twelfth season will likely debut once Kid Nation or one of the network's three other new one-hour fall series -- Viva Laughlin, an unconventional mystery drama that incorporates Broadway musical-like singing performances; Cane, an "epic drama" about a Cuban-American family that runs an "immensely successful" rum and sugar business in South Florida; and Moonlight, a romantic thriller about a vampire who works as a private investigator -- end their runs, go on midseason hiatus, or get pulled due to poor ratings.

(Photo credit CBS)


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