CBS has decided to make official what’s been happening for years to its Sunday-night schedule in the fall: later starts for its shows after NFL games.
The network says that on Sundays when it has an NFL doubleheader in the afternoon, all shows on its primetime schedule will start a half-hour later in the Eastern and Central time zones. That means “60 Minutes” will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET, “Big Brother” (through Sept. 23) and “The Amazing Race” at 8:30, “The Good Wife” at 9:30 and “The Mentalist” at 10:30.
(Start times in Mountain and Pacific time will remain on the hour, as NFL games tend not to affect primetime there.)
Late-afternoon NFL games often bleed into primetime and likely will more often in the future since the league has moved its late start times from 4:15 to 4:25 p.m. ET. Since CBS doesn’t like to truncate “60 Minutes,” it has meant the entire schedule gets pushed back. In the DVR era, that means viewers have to pad their recording times significantly or risk missing the end of episodes. The adjusted start times should help alleviate that problem.
The network is also upgrading its Eye-lert system to include text messages and social media alerts in addition to e-mails letting viewers know of late start times on Sundays.
CBS has NFL doubleheaders this season on Sept. 16 and 23; Oct. 7 and 21; Nov. 4 and 18; and Dec. 2, 16 and 30. In the other weeks, the Sunday lineup will start at its normal time.