Originally created 03/08/06

CBS jumps out front with 2006-07 season plans



LOS ANGELES - CBS took the unusual step Monday of announcing renewals of the bulk of its prime-time series for next season, an expression of confidence in the network's successful lineup.

Networks often keep producers and viewers in suspense until schedules are announced in May, although broadcasters have started to jump the gun on that tradition by dribbling out word on some programs' fates.

The announcement of full-season 2006-07 orders for 14 CBS prime-time shows - representing nearly 13 hours of the 22 hours that make up prime time - reflects CBS' position as the most-watched network for the season to date.

Most of the renewals are obvious, including the three "CSI" crime shows and fast-growing drama "NCIS." Newcomers on the list are "Criminal Minds," "Ghost Whisperer" and "How I Met Your Mother."

Others set to return next year: "60 Minutes"; "The Amazing Race"; "Cold Case"; "Numb3rs": "Survivor"; "Two and a Half Men" and "Without a Trace."

Series left under a cloud of uncertainty include freshman drama "Threshold" and the comedies "King of Queens," "Out of Practice," "Still Standing" and "Yes, Dear."