David Caruso; Josh Radnor
"I've got a monkey too."
That's what CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler told reporters at CBS' Television Critics Association fall TV previews panel Sunday, taking a dig at NBC's Animal Practice. And she's a woman of her word: Tassler walked out carrying a stuffed monkey.
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"I couldn't resist," she quipped. "Our guy has his How I Met Your Mother ducky tie on."
After getting the monkey off her shoulder, Tassler told "a very familiar story," rattling off all the No. 1 marks CBS has achieved last season, including topping the lists in viewership, upfront revenue and Emmy nominations.
Here are some highlights from the panel:
How I Met Your Mother Season 9? Tassler confirmed reports that CBS is in negotiations to bring the comedy back for a ninth season. "We're in early conversations and we're pretty optimistic," she said. She added that co-creators/co-executive producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have a "very strategic wrap-up" to Mother, which is entering its eighth season this year, and they know that CBS wants the show to return. "[But] we're not there yet."
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Canceling CSI: Miami: Axing a CSI was "a very big deal," Tassler said. "That show has been extraordinarily successful for us... What we looked at was [the flow on] Friday versus Sunday night. It was a very tough choice, but it was just a jump ball and it had to do with the schedule."
CSI: NY: With CSI: NY in an 8 p.m. timeslot for the first time, Tassler promised more humor this season and "big, New York-centric event stories."
No more spin-offs (for now): Despite the massive success of NCIS: Los Angeles, CBS has no plans to expand the franchise any time soon. "We're really happy with the strength of the schedule," Tassler said.
Reviving Unforgettable: Tassler admitted that she did not "want to let [Unforgettable] go" when CBS canceled it in May and jumped at the opportunity to bring it back next summer. "I can't predict what our expectations for it will be in the summer," she said. "I think it will fare well next summer."
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NFL overruns: With NFL kick-off times pushed back 10 minutes, there will likely be more Sunday night delays, to which Tassler is "sensitive." But the overruns are "great for us," she said, because they boost ratings across the board. In addition to on-screen "bugs" and tweets notifying delayed start times, CBS will also use texts to alert viewers. "We do everything possible, and will continue to do everything, to make sure the audience knows the show will be delayed."
Reality shows: Acknowledging that it's been a "soft" summer for everyone, Tassler said that their new dating reality show 3, which bombed in the ratings, "didn't quite get the traction." As for CBS' beef with ABC's Big Brother-like The Glass House, its lawsuit is still ongoing. "We're incredibly protective of our brands and the creative infrastructure of the shows," Tassler said. So does that mean more mock press releases like the one touting Dancing on the Stars? "Well, we can only hope."