US expands Survivor, Amazing Race to 90 minute episodes

Plus first trailers for Elsbeth with Carrie Preston and Matlock with Kathy Bates.

Blame Australia for this one? Nahh.

But the USA is set to follow in the Reality TV landscape by expanding its episodes of Survivor and The Amazing Race to permanent 90 minute episodes.

The move appears to be in response to the current US writer’s strike as CBS looks ahead to addressing its Fall schedule with more Unscripted television. That may prove to be a longterm impact upon US screenwriters if they find less scripted work being commissioned by networks.

However, according to Deadline, “CBS did it to strengthen the night in a move reminiscent of NBC’s supersizing of its signature Thursday comedies almost two decades ago. The venerable reality titles have been the main attraction on Wednesday, and both have always had extra footage left on the cutting room floor, with deleted scenes features scoring with fans.”

There are three new scripted shows announced by CBS, Elsbeth, a spin-off from The Good Fight / Good Wife and Matlock rebooted with Kathy Bates in the lead. Australian broadcasters are yet to be announced.

Elsbeth stars Carrie Preston (The Good Wife) as Elsbeth Tascioni, an astute but unconventional attorney who, after her successful career in Chicago, utilizes her singular point of view to make unique observations and corner brilliant criminals alongside the NYPD. Based on the character featured in The Good Wife and The Good Fight. Elsbeth stars Carrie Preston as Elsbeth Tascioni, Wendell Pierce as Captain C.W. Wagner and Carra Patterson as Officer Kaya Blanke. Robert King, Michelle King, Liz Glotzer and Jonathan Tolins are executive producers. Tolins will serve as showrunner. Robert King directed the pilot from a script he wrote with Michelle King. The series is produced by CBS Studios.

Matlock stars Kathy Bates as the brilliant septuagenarian Madeline “Matty” Matlock, who achieved success in her younger years, and decides to rejoin the workforce at a prestigious law firm where she uses her unassuming demeanor and wily tactics to win cases and expose corruption from within. Inspired by the classic television series of the same name. Matlock stars Kathy Bates as Madeline “Matty” Matlock, Skye P. Marshall as Olympia, Jason Ritter as Julian, David Del Rio as Billy and Leah Lewis as Sarah. Bates, Jennie Snyder Urman, Joanna Klein, Eric Christian Olsen and John Will are executive producers. Kat Coiro directed the pilot from a script written by Urman. The series is produced by CBS Studios.

Poppa’s House, a multi-camera comedy featuring Damon Wayans Sr. and his son, Damon Jr. is also ordered.

14 Responses

  1. I generally support The Amazing Race being extended to 90 minutes, if it means every task performed by the teams during each leg of the competition is shown. In the past few seasons, teams had to perform some tasks each leg (which were neither a detour or a roadblock) in order to get the next clue or to reach the pit stop, but these tasks were skipped during the broadcast. They were revealed either by CBS after the episode had aired, or by teams after they were eliminated.

  2. the writers will regret striking, networks will just fill the schedule with cheap ‘reality’ for lower cost than scripted and keep it there longer term. the strike has exacerbated the trend

  3. I am optimistic about 90 minutes eps (60 of content) for SurvivorUS & TARUS. At least in the early goings of both shows, there can be a lot going on and to get a perspective from as many contestants as possible.

    However, my big worry is that late episodes of each show may drag, so I hope that the producers have planned how to fill the final episodes with interesting content (particularly Amazing Race – which is especially susceptible to the issues of dragging out in the late game)

  4. Kind of wouldn’t surprise me though if they had looked at Australia. I mean Paramount does own 10 afterall. I am aware the writers strike is going to potentially impact a lot of shows in upcoming months but i’m not going to lie, i prefer the US versions of these shows because they are 60 minutes so the fact they are now going to be 90, you watch tribal council drag on like it does here.

    1. I agree that CBS probably did look at Australia when deciding whether or not to expand The Amazing Race and Survivor to 90 minute episodes. A 90 minute episode could work well, if its edited well and isn’t allowed to drag too much. It will be interesting to see if the program editors in the United States do a identical, similar, worse, or better job editing the shows than the program editors in Australia that make the 70-105 minute episodes that air on Ten today.

  5. Only 1 episode at 90mins, no thanks.
    I’d like 3 x 90mins with unscheduled overruns or else I couldn’t commit.

    Seriously though great chance for streaming to push new Aussie dramas etc in US to help fill some gaps….

  6. Weird for Elsbeth to end up on CBS not Parmount+ after The Good Fight was successful there. Also leaked that Blue Bloods renewal was based on a 25% cut in salaries for cast and producers, and SWAT got only 13 episodes and could be a mid-season replacement. NBC supersized comedy Thursday involved running 30 minute sitcoms from 8pm till 11pm. They bumped 30 Rock and Outsourced and moved Perfect Couples and Parks and Recreation to Thursday in their old slots. Expanding their contest by hours a week means less spots on the Island for WGA members.

    1. I strongly suspect that Elsbeth will end up on Paramount+ after its initial run on CBS, similar to how many shows that first aired on television ended up on streaming. I am not suggesting that the show will move exclusivley to Paramount+ after its run on CBS at this point in time, although that is a possiblity down the road.

Leave a Reply