Meet the People Who Decide When and If Shows Live or Die

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Now that the 2015 TV upfronts have wrapped, Michael Schneider and Joe Adalian sit down with two of the people responsible for deciding which primetime shows air when.

Kelly Kahl is in charge of scheduling at CBS Primetime and Andy Kubitz heads up scheduling at ABC Entertainment. Kubitz used to work at CBS, so while the men have a bit of a professional rivalry today, the two remain friends.

Kubitz and Kahl tell us when they start the planning process for the new TV season and what kind of factors go into their decision making. While they've both got many shows that they would love to keep on the air, they've got to be rational. The decision whether to keep a show or pull the plug usually comes down to one thing: money.

This year, both ABC and CBS have relatively stable schedules. Unlike NBC, they don't have a ton of new shows coming in the fall. But, as Kahl explains, "It's never an easy year."

Sometimes a more stable schedule makes things more complicated, and more shows staying on the air means more tough calls to showrunners of new pilots who see their shows passed over.

And if you've ever been upset about the cancellation of a show, Kubitz and Kahl both say not to get your hopes up about a fan-driven "Save Our Show" campaign bringing a dead show back to life. While the approach may have worked for Jericho, the whole thing turned into such debacle, such a campaign is not likely to work again any time soon. That hasn't stopped fans from trying though. Kahl and his colleagues at CBS currently find themselves overrun with tea that fans of the cancelled show The McCarthy's have sent in.

Finally, Kahl and Kubitz share their favorite scheduling successes -- for Kahl it was the foresight to pick up The Big Bang Theory, and for Kubitz it was the plan to stack all of Shonda Rhimes's shows on Thursday nights--a strategy some analysts initially advised against. On the flip side, Kubitz wishes he had been able to save Happy Endings, and for Kahl, he would have liked to have seen a longer run for the early 90's show Homefront. Perhaps a slightly more engaging promo would have helped.




Kaitlin Parker