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CBS Is Doing Something Totally Unexpected With Its New Drama Ransom

CBS has so many full-time stalwart dramas milling about that there weren't a lot of openings in its fall and midseason schedules. The network announced what its programming blocks will look like in early 2017, and it appears someone was doing some outside-the-box thinking as far as placement goes, as it was decided the freshman drama Ransom will anchor CBS' primetime on none other than Saturday nights. Saturdays. You know, that night with all the other TV hits going for it.


When 2017 gets here, CBS will have three new scripted series and one oddball competition show for audiences to potentially get hooked on. The other freshman entries, as well as everything else on the midseason schedule, landed on non-Saturday nights, however, with only Ransom getting matched with a timeslot that so many networks have spent years avoiding. Perhaps wisely, CBS has given Ransom a much more impressive situation for its actual series premiere, as the Luke Roberts-starring crime drama will officially bow in the wake of an NFL doubleheader on Sunday, January 1. That should get it a ton of eyeballs on the evening, which will hopefully pay off in the following weeks.

Lest anyone mistake this for a remake of the Mel "Give me back my son!!!" Gibson film, Ransom sees Black Sails' Luke Roberts in the lead role of Eric Beaumont, a hostage negotiator whose crisis-fueled skills have been recognized all over the planet. He and his talented team will then run the procedural gamut as they take on the most complicated and dangerous kidnappings and ransom requests imaginable. The show will also star Penny Dreadful's Sarah Greene, The Killing's Brandon Jay McLaren and Heroes Reborn's Nazneen Contractor.

Perhaps the network is hoping this talented cast will break the mold and prove that Saturday nights can be just as good, if not better, than the slightly less ratings-drowsy Friday evenings. (It wasn't all that long ago that Sunday nights were basically just The Simpsons and Disney specials on ABC, too.) I wouldn't be surprised if Ransom's upcoming trailers really play up people setting this for their DVRs, since it's usually movies, and not TV, that people seek out for entertainment on Saturday nights. In contrast, this was the year that Starz started moving its Saturday-night shows over to the more audience-friendly Sundays, but CBS draws many more people than just about every cable network, so that's not much of an omen.

Perhaps part of the decision to put Ransom on Saturday nights stems from it being a co-production with Canada's Global, France's TF1 and Germany's RTL. CBS isn't putting as much money into it as other new shows like the Bill Paxton-starring remake of Training Day, which is airing after the Big Bang Theory-led comedy block on Thursday nights, or the Katherine Heigl-starring drama Doubt, which landed the supreme post-Criminal Minds slot on Wednesday nights. So there isn't much pressure to replace a another CBS exclusive project with it. The competition series Hunted, incidentally, is getting a Sunday night premiere and will then move to Wednesday nights before Criminal Minds. And there's Ransom, waving in the mid-weekend distance.

Don't forget, Ransom will premiere on Sunday, January 1, at 8:30 p.m. ET and 8:00 p.m. PT, with its official timeslot premiering coming that next week on Saturday, January 7, at 8:00 p.m. ET. And to see when everything else will make its debut on the small screen, check out our midseason premiere schedule.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.