Once again, CBS has the strongest fall lineup, with an abundance of hit scripted comedies and dramas and quality non-scripted hours Survivor, The Amazing Race and Undercover Boss scheduled appropriately across the week. The Eye net has, in fact, led in total viewers for seven out of the last eight seasons and there is every reason to believe its winning streak will continue.
But not every hour on the schedule looks like a winner, as the critics question the merits of the five upcoming new series—sitcoms Mike & Molly and $#*! My Dad Says; and dramas The Defenders, Blue Bloods and the revival of Hawaii Five-O.
Of the five new series, the new Hawaii Five-O generated the most number of questions, with the “darkness” and excessive violence a potential concern.
“We’ve basically deconstructed the elements of the original show, looked at the characters, retooled the franchise a little bit, and reassembled it in a great, hip, smart, fun character show,” said Nina Tassler, president, CBS Entertainment. “It’s still a small island. Everybody there knows each other—good guys, bad guys. I think those story engines are still very much a part of the series.”
Tassler defended her decision to cancel Canadian drama The Bridge after just two telecasts by citing the poor ratings, but scheduling it in the Saturday 8 p.m. hour was a suicide mission. And the future of Flashpoint, also from Canada, is also a question mark. As for the recasting of one of the sons on upcoming William Shatner sitcom $#*! My Dad Says:
“I think we have to remember that The Big Bang Theory was recast,” noted Tassler. “Numb3rs was recast. The whole idea behind recasting is really part of the development and the evolution of any show. You make decisions relative to a pilot that are different, relative to your series that are different, relative to going into the fifth or sixth year of your series.”
In late night, rumors of David Letterman following Johnny Carson’s path by reducing his workload to three or four nights per week have not been confirmed. And one of the three other series in contention for the As the World Turns time period (the remake of game show Pyramid with Andy Richter, a piece with Emeril Lagasse and one through CBS Television Distribution) could still end up on the line-up at a future time.
Regarding what one critic referred to as CBS’ male-centric schedule:
“Going into the new season, we’re bringing Sela Ward onto CSI: NY,” said Tassler. Melissa McCarthy is the costar of Mike & Molly. We’ve added Janeane Garafolo to the cast of Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. And we’re looking for every possible way to add female characters to our shows.”
And as for Steve McPherson’s unexpected departure at ABC and CBS’ ongoing executive stability:
“The fact that we’ve been successful for the number of years we have, I think that would certainly indicate that stability is a good thing,” said Tassler. “As far as Steve goes, I said, “Damn it, he got out of doing press tour!”