The CBS executive session with entertainment president Nina Tassler launched, not surprisingly, with a question about troubled Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen.
“We have a high level of concern. How could we not?” said Tassler. “This man is a father. He’s got children. He has a family. So, obviously, there’s concern on a personal level. But you can’t look at it simplistically. Charlie is a professional. He comes to work. He does his job extremely well. But we have a very good relationship with Warner Bros. I have a tremendous trust and respect in the way they are managing the situation.”
Despite yet another successful season, including current dominance in total viewers and adults 18-49, the ongoing concern at CBS is the glut of procedural crime solvers, including the CSI franchise.
“As long as those shows continue to be competitive, as long as the fans still continue to watch the shows, they’re going to stay on the air,” said Tassler regarding the futures of CSI: Miami and CSI: NY. “Both shows are doing incredibly well in their new time periods, given what was there before.”
Parent series CSI, which was expected to flip time periods with The Mentalist this season, is remaining intact and likely to return in 2011-12. And NCIS is expecting to keep star Mark Harmon intact despite his contact expiring this spring.
“Contracts will come up,” noted Tassler. “They get renegotiated, and those deals get closed. And we are very, very confident that Mark will continue on with the show. He’s very happy, and we are thrilled to have him.”
Regarding freshman sitcom $#*! My Dad Says, which created a stir due to its controversial title last summer, Tassler said: “Like any show in its first year, you are always making creative adjustments. So I think there are more things we can do, and we are excited about some of the stuff they have done. Whether or not it is coming back next year, everything is up for grabs in May.”
In terms of the upcoming development season: “We have a number of shows in the works,” said Tassler. “We certainly have some medicine. We have serialized. We have family shows. We still have a full spectrum of different kinds of shows. And when a show does or doesn’t work for us, I wouldn’t say that show didn’t work because it was not a crime show.
With a five-for-five full season renewal rate for its fall starters (Mike & Molly, Hawaii Five-O, The Defenders, $#*! My Dad Says and Blue Bloods); the successful relocations of The Big Bang Theory, CSI: NY and CSI: Miami; and a schedule full of bona fide hits, CBS is poised for more success in the future. While there are, of course, some weak links, unless the audience tires of comedies, proven crime solvers, reality shows and the granddaddy of news magazines, 60 Minutes, CBS is the network to beat well into the future.