Saturday, January 9 kicked-off the nine-day Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in sunny Pasadena, California.
Similar to the annual summer gathering, the networks, both broadcast and cable, address approximately 200 critics from across the country looking for the so-called scoop. But, unlike the dog days of summer, the rating results are in and we know which of the new crop of freshman shows are hot, and which are not.
Mirroring every season in recent memory, the number of flops outweigh the number of new hits. But recent mainstays like ABC’s Modern Family, CBS’ NCIS: Los Angeles and The Good Wife and Fox’s Glee and The Cleveland Show prove the value of network television.
CBS kicked off the 10-day extravaganza with an executive session with Entertainment president Nina Tassler. Considering the lack of holes of the Eye net lineup, there was very little of negative note on a programming nature. The most controversial item at the CBS session was, in fact, Charlie Sheen’s recent arrest. But both Tassler and Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre (who spoke at the next panel with the creative minds behind Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory) assured us Charlie was back at work.
“Right now we’re being very sensitive to the fact that this is a very personal and very private matter for Charlie,” said Tassler. “There has been no impact on the network right now. The show is proceeding along its regular project schedule.”
Also addressed was Laurence Fishburne in place of William Petersen on CSI, who has settled in after a rocky first season, the official cancellation of medical drama Three Rivers, and Friday drama Numb3rs, which is still up for renewal despite new Jerry Bruckheimer drama Miami Medical stepping into the Friday 10 p.m. hour on April 2. Tassler also did not rule out an eventual crossover between Miami Medical and the other numerous Bruckheimer shows.
The subject of Jay Leno will, of course, be a hot topic at NBC, but here is what Tassler had to say:
“There is no substitute for developing great shows, working with great talent, and getting your program on the air. Ten o’clock is a great business for us and our creative community was somewhat bruised by this. A lot of people were put out of work. A lot of people really saw this as having a pretty negative impact on our business. But I think it allowed us to get a bigger piece of the ad revenue pie at 10 o’clock. For NBC to say that this was a reflection on the whole network business was misguided. Our business is thriving right now. We are enjoying success with new hit shows, as is ABC, as is Fox. So at the end of the day, it was an experiment that obviously failed. There is no substitute for just developing, producing and launching great shows.”