Prior to 1989, CBS aired the similarly formatted CBS Late Night. The block was canceled to make way for The Pat Sajak Show, a conventional late-night talk show. After the shortening, and eventual failure, of The Pat Sajak Show, a revamped CBS Late Night block debuted, airing a variety of news, talk shows, reruns, and adult game shows.
In March 1991, after a two-month hiatus due to Gulf War coverage, CBS retooled the block by airing original series under the new umbrella title of Crimetime After Primetime.
Much like CBS Late Night did in the late 1980s, Crimetime After Primetime relied heavily on dramas that were imported from Canada, giving the programs (most of which were produced to meet Canadian content quotas) an additional revenue stream. CBS also invested in producing some original series for the block.
The block was dropped when CBS began broadcasting the Late Show with David Letterman in August 1993.
The shows in the series followed this general lineup: