'Medium' builds a bridge for CBS

Patriciaarquette_medium_290_001 Why is CBS excited about having NBC castoff "Medium" on its Friday-night schedule for next season? Let the network's entertainment president, Nina Tassler, explain.

"It's like a blend of two genres," Tassler says of "Medium," which will air in between "Ghost Whisperer" and "Numb3rs" on Fridays. "It's got that similar sensibility to 'Ghost Whisperer,' but it's also got a crime-solving element. If 'Ghost Whisperer' and 'Numb3rs' had an offspring, it would be 'Medium.'"

The show comes to CBS after five seasons on NBC. Despite its steady ratings (it averages about 8.3 million viewers a week), "Medium" was let go by its former network this week in what was at least partly an economic move. Earlier reports about the show's negotiations with NBC said the network wanted a shorter season of the show, while the studio -- CBS sibling CBS TV Studios -- was seeking the standard 22-episode run.

"Medium" will get a full season on CBS, Tassler says. After NBC's decision to cut the series loose, CBS didn't waste much time in picking it up. "We played it out and just made the decision when we knew we had the opportunity to do it," she says.

Kelly Kahl, CBS' head of scheduling, calls "Medium" "the perfect bridge show" between the network's other Friday dramas.

"We looked at the ratings, and 'Medium' and 'Ghost Whisperer' sit right next to each other in the rankings," Kahl says. "We also looked at crossover viewing between the two shows, and they are literally perfect companions for each other. In terms of improvement [on Fridays], it's a very solid prize for us."

"Medium" will be airing opposite another Friday newcomer, ABC's "Ugly Betty," as well as NBC's "Southland" and FOX's "Dollhouse" in the fall.

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