CBS is redefining its prime-time block in an attempt to resolve a situation that has developed into a problem on one night of the week. Deadline.com reports that the network is implementing a change to its Sunday lineup, with prime-time programming now set to start at 7:30 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. The change will only affect Sundays.
The impetus for the change is football, which tends to scramble the schedule, and the ratings, by delaying the start of the network’s prime-time programming — notably on doubleheader days, when the end of the NFL late game tends to bleed over into prime time. In the past, the start times for network programming have wound up being random, depending on when the late game ended.
Now, Sunday prime will officially start at 7:30 in the Eastern and Central time zones, with programming continuing to 11:30 p.m.
The report notes: “Fox’s Sunday prime time is set to start at 7:30 p.m. throughout the football season, avoiding unscheduled delays. (It ends at the usual time, 10 p.m.)”
CBS has resisted the change in the past, not wanting to lose viewers by having a gap between the end of football and the start of prime-time programs. But the NFL recently shifted the kickoff time for its late-afternoon games to 4:25 p.m., from 4:15 p.m., a move that would tend to minimize such gaps while also creating more potential havoc for the prime-time schedule.