Mike Vogel, Britt Robertson
CBS doesn't really have too much to worry about, except maybe James Spader.
At Wednesday's Television Critics Association winter TV previews, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler acknowledged the massive second week ratings drop for its new drama Intelligence. "Look, it's a much tougher time period Mondays at 10," she said, referencing NBC's ratings juggernaut The Blacklist twice.
Red Reddington aside, CBS is still basking in placing first in almost everything else. It is still the most-watched network, can claim 15 of the top 20 shows on the air and is home to the top scripted series in drama (NCIS) and comedy (The Big Bang Theory) in the coveted 18-49 adult demographic. In addition The Millers, The Cazy Ones and Mom are the top three new comedies from this season.
CBS announces February premieres for Survivor, The Amazing Race
Check out more scoop from CBS' executive session:
Under the Dome returns: The first season of the sci-fi series became the biggest scripted summer series in 21 years and returns Monday, June 30 at 10/9c. According to a sneak peek trailer, Season 2 will introduce new characters, new horrors, unimagined romances and alliances, and "two dome favorites won't survive the first episode."
Alien womb invasion: Stephen King will rule summer with Extant, another sci-fi project for CBS that will premiere Wednesday, July 2 at 9/8c. Halle Berry stars as an astronaut named Molly who returns to Earth after a 13-month solo mission into deep space and discovers she's mysteriously pregnant. She reunites with her husband, who has created an android son for them, who could be threatened by Molly's unexpected fetal stowaway. The series will explore artificial intelligence and extraterrestrial intelligence.
Daytime done right: The network has renewed its entire daytime lineup, which includes Let's Make a Deal, The Price Is Right, Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful and The Talk.
Fox at TCA: Get all the scoop here!
Unscheduled midseason shows: Bad Teacher and Reckless still have no premiere dates, but we should expect more news on them in the weeks ahead. The shows won't be scheduled, however, until all 13 episodes are in the can, which will give CBS "unique opportunities."
Pro-pilot season: Unlike Fox boss Kevin Reilly, Tassler says that CBS still believes in the pilot season model. "Pilot season isn't perfect," she said. "It's certainly a difficult time, it's frustrating but it's exciting ... and gives way to creative [innovation]." She pointed out that the pilot process led to the casting of Kaley Cuoco's Big Bang character and that How I Met Your Mother's pilot process defined Neil Patrick Harris' character Barney more. That said, CBS is still developing series year-round, such as Battle Creek from Breaking Bad's Vince Gilligan, which has a 13-episode order. Casting will begin as soon as the rewrite is approved.
Late-night strategy: NBC's late-night shuffle with Jimmy Fallon will create new opposition for David Letterman. Although Tassler wouldn't tip her hand, plans are definitely coming together in order to remind viewers of Letterman. "You're always thinking ahead," Tassler said. "Dave is an icon at the top of his game. Internally, we're planning ... to promote Dave being there."
R.I.P. Hostages: Hostages recently limped off our TVs after a lackluster first and last season, but CBS isn't necessarily against serialized storytelling. "When a show does not for whatever reason take off you can't look at the form... There's a knee-jerk reaction to analyze and determine why it didn't work," she said. "We stuck with it... Kudos to James Spader.... Monday night is tougher all around."
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No plans for more Jesse Stone: Tom Selleck fans can only expect him back on Blue Bloods, but Tassler added, "It's not to say we wouldn't do [more Jesse Stone] at some point." CBS is looking to make more noise, however, and are gung-ho on the limited event series Dovekeepers from Mark Burnett based on Alice Hoffman's historical novel.
Big Brother lessons: Regarding last season's racism controversy, Tassler said, "I was mortified by the comments that Aaryn made and we have to look at last summer as a confluence of events.. [that included] Trayvon Martin and Paula Deen... It is a social experiment. You are taking people from very disparate walks of life and confining them. We do the requisite background checks, upgrading as more and more resources are available. We go through a pretty aggressive process of screening." Would casting smarter or at least more worldly people work? "It's not a science... this is part of why people watch the show," she said.
Risky midseason shifts: It's purely a coincidence that both Person of Interest and The Mentalist made big moves that were worthy of finales in the middle of their seasons. Tassler says that both showrunners came to her last year with their plans. POI's Jonah Nolan said, "I love my cast. Taraji [P. Henson] is an extraordinary actress but the role has changed." As for The Mentalist's Bruno Heller, he "reinvented the whole Patrick Jane character and redirected the series" by wrapping up the Red John mystery.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)