This paper aims to improve the spectrum efficiency of the licensed time division multiple access (TDMA) channel by exploiting the unused periods of primary users (PUs) in cognitive radio networks. A wireless network that consists of two classes of users, PUs and CR users, accessing a time slotted based common communication channel is considered. PUs employ TDMA and have always high priority over the CR users to access the channel. CR users utilize slotted Carrier Sense Multiple Access and can access the channel when it is not occupied by the PUs. New expressions for the throughput of both CR network and overall network have been derived in order to evaluate the channel utilization. Besides, an example network have been developed, modeled and simulated by using the OPNET Modeler simulation software with the purpose of verifying the analytical throughput results. The simulation results obtained under various network load conditions are consistent with the analytical results. This study has also proposed that the overall channel utilization can be improved by well exploiting the spectrum holes without interfering with the PU transmissions.