PASADENA, Calif. -- Broadcast networks carefully consider what to air in the time slot after the Super Bowl because they see it as a valuable launch pad for a new series or as an opportunity to bring millions more viewers than usual to an existing series.
Last year, NBC aired an episode of "The Voice." In 2011, Fox aired an episode of then-burgeoning hit "Glee." When CBS last aired the Super Bowl in 2010, the network used it to launch reality show "Undercover Boss."
On Sunday night the Super Bowl returns to CBS, and the network will use the national unifier to promote freshman drama "Elementary," a contemporary retelling of the Sherlock Holmes story.
In Sunday's "Elementary," Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) pursues an unpredictable criminal (Terry Kinney), and Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) deals with the possibility of being evicted from her New York apartment.
At a CBS press conference in January, "Elementary" executive producer Rob Doherty said he was excited to get the call about a post-Super Bowl time slot.
"It's an incredible opportunity to expose the show to people who may not have checked it out yet," he said. "So we tried to take all that into consideration as we developed the story that we felt not only was a good example of what the show can do, but something that our regular audience would really have fun with as well."
Last summer Mr. Doherty promised that Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes' nemesis, would be introduced in the first season of "Elementary," and that's still the plan.
"I foresee us getting a bit more serialized than we have been as we get into something of an end run for this first season. We'll still look to have a case that begins and ends over the course of a single hour of television," he said. "But you want to dollop Moriarty out appropriately."
When "Elementary" began, Holmes was new to New York after a stint in rehab in London -- a future episode will introduce one of his drug dealer friends -- and Watson was hired to be Sherlock's sober coach. Her role will evolve in upcoming episodes.
"We've always planned to get to a point in the season where we formalized the relationship," Mr. Doherty said. "The sober companionship was a starting point. It gave Watson a real purpose to be in the life of Holmes. But you can't do that for six, seven, eight years."
As the season draws to an end in May, the pair's relationship will be redefined.
"At this point it's fairly clear that there's a great deal of respect between the two of them," Mr. Doherty said. "My sense of Sherlock is that many things need to be defined in a more formal way. So I think that as he recognizes the sober companion side of Joan is sort of falling away, he'll want to make her more of an associate, more of a partner, more of somebody he can lean on and utilize in an investigative way."
David E. Kelley, whose last series, NBC's "Harry's Law," was canceled because its audience skewed too old, returns to TV with the TNT medical drama "Monday Mornings" (10 p.m. Monday).
The series is based on the novel by neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who also serves as an executive producer on the TV show.
Unlike "Harry's Law," "Ally McBeal" and "Boston Legal," "Monday Mornings" is more like Mr. Kelley's "The Practice." It's Mr. Kelley in serious mode.
Some characters still exhibit eccentric traits but "Monday Mornings" is not jokey. Neither is the show all that remarkable.
The series premiere does feature the death of a character who would undoubtedly have lived if the show aired on a broadcast network but other than that, little about "Monday Mornings" feels unique.
Mr. Kelley, a former lawyer before rising through the ranks to become one of TV's top writers for a time, gets a bit of his legal drama scenes into the show in the form of weekly morbidity and mortality conferences where chief of surgery Dr. Harding Hooten (Alfred Molina) puts his staff on trial. This is sometimes embarrassing to watch as the characters endure a public shaming and shunning. But it's also the one aspect of "Monday Mornings" that offers a bit of a twist on the routine medical drama.
The rest of "Monday Mornings" is formulaic medical crises mixed with Mr. Kelley's oddball characters. Some of their quirks seem overly familiar, including a frustrated patient who threatens, "I will jump out of this bed and crush you like a little bug." (If that line of dialogue wasn't in a previous Kelley series, something similar surely was.)
Hotshot neurosurgeon Dr. Tyler Wilson (Jamie Bamber, "Battlestar Galactica") gets an early comeuppance and leans on the shoulder of colleague Dr. Tina Ridgeway (Jennifer Finnigan, "Better With You") for emotional support. (Their colleagues all see them as a couple already anyway.)
Dr. Buck Tierney (Bill Irwin) is abrasive (he gets his comeuppance in episode two) and Dr. Sung Park (Keong Sim) mangles the English language and gets called on it by Dr. Hooten in scenes that carry a whiff of xenophobia.
Cable networks celebrated the success of multiple programs this week by handing out renewal notices like Halloween candy.
Cinemax renewed its new drama "Banshee" for a second season to air in 2014.
Showtime ordered new seasons of "Shameless," "House of Lies" and "Californication" to air in 2014.
BBC America's "Ripper Street" got re-upped for an eight-episode second season to air in 2014.
Not to be outdone, CBS renewed "The Bold and the Beautiful," "The Talk," "The Price Is Right" and "Let's Make a Deal" for the 2013-14 TV season. These daytime programs join "The Young and the Restless," which was previously picked up for 2013-14.
Syndicated daytime talk show "Katie," starring Katie Couric, was renewed this week for the 2013-14 TV season.
CBS confirmed "How I Met Your Mother" would return for a final, ninth season to air during 2013-14.
Comedy Central renewed sketched comedy series "Kroll Show" for a 10-episode second season.
'Doctor Who' turns 50
To mark the 50th anniversary of "Doctor Who" this year, BBC America will co-produce a new movie about the show's origins.
"An Adventure in Space and Time" tells the story of how "Doctor Who," which first aired on Nov. 23, 1963, came to be. Working from a script by Mark Gatiss ("Sherlock," "Doctor Who"), the 90-minute drama will star Brian Cox as the BBC's top drama executive and Jessica Raine ("Call the Midwife") as "Doctor Who" producer Verity Lambert. David Bradley will play William Hartnell, the actor who played the first Doctor.
Not that anyone was clamoring for it but Deadline.com reports that Warner Bros. has given a green light to an "Entourage" movie, based on the HBO series. ... Encore will rebroadcast the classic 1980s miniseries "North and South" at 8 p.m. Monday through Friday next week as part of its Black History Month programming. The miniseries stars Kirstie Alley, Patrick Swayze and Robert Guillaume. ... It hasn't been long since "Wizards of Waverly Place" ended its run on Disney Channel but a reunion special is already in the works: "The Wizards Return: Alex Vs. Alex" airs at 8 p.m. March 15. ... Syfy's failed pilot "Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome," already released as a series of shorts online, will air on the cable channel at 9 p.m. Feb. 10. ... With "20/20" host Chris Cuomo moving to CNN, ABC has named David Muir his replacement on the newsmagazine. ... FX's "Brand X" with Russell Brand expands to one hour and will broadcast live at 11:30 p.m. Thursday beginning next week. ... An episode of "Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares" featuring Levanti's restaurant in Beaver will air tonight at 8 on Fox. ... This week Comcast added the following HD channels to traditional Comcast systems: BBC America (1225), Game Show Network (1325), Hub (1511), Nat Geo Wild (1262), Oxygen (1334) and Sprout (1505).
Tuned In online
Today's TV Q&A column responds to questions about "The Borgias," "Law & Order: UK" and a couple of WPXI personalities. This week's Tuned In Journal includes posts on "30 Rock," "Scandal," "House of Cards" and a PBS special on space shuttle Columbia. Read online-only TV content at post-gazette.com/tv.
This week's podcast includes conversation about "Downton Abbey," "American Horror Story" and Netflix's "House of Cards." Subscribe or listen at http://old.post-gazette.com/podcast.mobilehome - tvradio
TV writer Rob Owen: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2582. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook for breaking TV news.