NEW YORK (AP) — Top-rated CBS will make some bold changes in the fall, moving two of its most popular shows and adding seven series, including three crime-fighting dramas to a schedule already heavy with them.
The new series include Joe Pantoliano, the actor who lost his head in "The Sopranos," as an FBI agent and Charlie Sheen as a bachelor with a Malibu beach house.
CBS will end the current season as the nation's most popular broadcast network, with its widest margin of victory since 1993. CBS is third behind NBC and Fox among the advertiser-friendly 18-to-49-year-old demographic, with the gap narrowing.
In the fall, CBS will shift "The King of Queens" from Monday to Wednesday, and bump "JAG" from Tuesday to Friday.
"We are being aggressive," said Leslie Moonves, CBS chief executive. "We aren't being complacent here. But we think the risks are smart ones."
With "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" the nation's favorite program, CBS is riding the genre hard. Moonves describes the new "Navy CIS," about special agents fighting crimes within the military, as a cross between "JAG" and "CSI." It will take the time slot "JAG" is vacating.
Pantoliano leads "The Handler," training FBI undercover agents in Los Angeles.
CBS is also abandoning comedy on Sundays for "Cold Case," a drama about a Philadelphia detective assigned to track unsolved crimes.
"Becker" and "My Big Fat Greek Life" were canceled. But CBS decided to stick by its Sunday night movie despite sagging ratings. "The Agency" was canceled after its second season, with "Hack" moving to Saturday night. "Star Search" wasn't on the schedule, but may return in a limited run.
With "Touched By an Angel" recently ending its long run, CBS is introducing "Joan of Arcadia," about a teenage girl who has sudden, unexpected conversations with God. Joe Mantegna and Mary Steenburgen play her parents.
Sheen's comedy, called "Two and a Half Men," will move into the time slot behind "Everybody Loves Raymond." Jon Cryer co-stars as Sheen's newly-divorced brother. Moonves boasted that it will be the best new comedy on any network's schedule.
Other new CBS series:
n "The Brotherhood of Poland, N.H.," a small-town drama created by David E. Kelley, about three close-knit brothers. Randy Quaid stars as the town's police captain.
n "The Stones," features Robert Klein in a comedy about two adult siblings living in their childhood home with their divorcing parents.
Copyright © 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.