"We will be happy to be reporting in a few days that things will be resolved," CBS chief Nina Tassler told reporters at the winter TV previews Saturday about the possibility of a Season 9 renewal for HIMYM. "We're confident and excited that things will work out. Almost everything is complete."
Similarly, she said that both the network and Warner Bros. are interested in an 11th season of Two and a Half Men. As for star Angus T. Jones' participation in the wake of his video rant against the sitcom, in which he called it "filth," Tassler said, "We'd like him to be part of it next year, and he would too. Warner Bros. said they would also. He made his public apology, and we've moved on." The network has "not yet" secured co-star Ashton Kutcher for another season.
CBS has every reason to sound confident about its future. Although it finished as the No. 2 network in the 18-to-49 demographic for 2012, it was only down one-tenth from the previous year. It still can boast to be the most-watched network with 17 of the top 30 shows on broadcast TV overall — four out of the top five comedies and the top seven dramas. Not too shabby.
Check out more scoop on CBS from Tassler:
The Big Bang Theory: The sitcom recently drew 20 million viewers, has enjoyed series highs over the last two episodes and even beat out ABC's Modern Family in the 18-to-49 demographic. Tassler agreed that the sitcom's strong syndication has likely given it a bump on broadcast.
Golden Boy: Tassler says the midseason cop procedural is "a great fit" to lead in to Blue Bloods and that although it had been developed as a single-star vehicle, the chemistry between star Theo James and Chi McBride was so undeniable, the show has evolved into a two-hander.
Elementary: The Sherlock Holmes update is the most-watched new show, with 59 percent live viewing and a young median age of 36 viewing it online. Both Elementary and Vegas were vying for the top new show throughout the season, but CBS decided to go with Elementary to air after the Super Bowl for its "appeal to all viewers."
Stephen King's Under the Dome: CBS treated critics to a first look at the development of the series based on Stephen King's novel of the same name, in which an invisible dome inexplicably encapsulates a small town and cuts the residents off from the rest of the world. Writer Brian K. Vaughn says that the series will explore "the mundane ... colliding with the fantastic." The tagline reads: "No one gets in. No one gets out." The science-fiction story will be told in 13 episodes this summer beginning June 24, and Tassler promises that "there will be a key piece of information that the audiences will have by the end of the summer."
Person of Interest: Speaking of sci-fi-tinged series, Tassler noted that it was having a great year and is the fastest-growing sophomore show on network TV. To illustrate how the network makes decisions to renew a series based on story, not just numbers, Tassler detailed how CBS felt that Taraji P. Henson's character Carter was marginalized and left out of the loop last season. In response, the producers proposed that Carter learn about "the machine" by the end of the season. CBS thought it should be sooner, and so the conversations went back and forth until it was settled that she'll learn all by Episode 9 of this season. "It was a turning point," said Tassler. "It had the bones, and we knew it was going to be successful, but it needed creative adjustments."
Jennifer Esposito: Tassler denies that CBS is tough on its actors and points out that the network employs them for many years. In regards to Jennifer Esposito's controversial departure from Blue Bloods, Tassler said, "We're sorry to see her go. We tried to resolve it, but it didn't quite work out. We wish her the best."
Friend Me: There are no decisions yet about the future of Friend Me, a midseason comedy that was left in limbo after its creator Alan Kirschenbaum committed suicide last October. "As many of you know, it was a very painful situation toward the end of production," said Tassler. The tragedy slowed things down, but Tassler said CBS will look at it again after post-production to make a call.