New CBS Entertainment President Glenn Geller took the stage for the first time at the Television Critics Association's winter previews Tuesday, and he fielded multiple questions about the futures of several shows in limbo.
While Geller confirmed that the upcoming season of Mike & Molly will indeed be its final season, he's still taking a wait-and-see approach with veteran dramas The Good Wife and Person of Interest. Geller did say, however, that regardless of whether The Good Wife continues, creators and executive producers Robert and Michelle King will leave the show to work on the CBS summer series BrainDead.
"The Kings did say they would not be returning after this year," Geller said. "But we do have a deep bench on the show. Some of the writers have been here from the beginning. It's just January so we haven't made a determination if there will be another season or not."
Person of Interest will likely end after Season 5
As for Person of Interest, Geller said the show will air its 13-episode season in the spring, but he rebutted recent comments from executive producer from J.J. Abrams that suggested that the upcoming season would be the show's swan song. "We haven't aired the show yet, so I'm not sure," Geller said. "[The finale] could function as both a season and series finale. [The producers] have made, once again, a very compelling season arc of big, big surprises. ... I can't wait for the fans of the show to see it."
Other notes from Geller's executive session:
More diversity is coming to CBS. Geller defended claims about the network's lack of diversity among its stars by pointing out that he is "just a gay guy from Indiana who doesn't play basketball. ... I'm diverse. I mentioned my husband earlier and I talk about him publicly because I want to normalize my diversity. CBS will always reflect what America looks like, and it's always evolving and changing. There is diversity at CBS. It exists in front of the camera, it exists behind the camera, it exists in our offices. Can we do better? I think we are."
When pressed on the fact that most of the network's lead actors are not people of color, Geller pointed to upcoming new series Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders and Rush Hour as indicators of where the network is headed. "Those are the kind of shows that we're going to be putting on the air," Geller said. "These are two of the most diverse casts and they are new shows on CBS, not the perennials. ... We have a lot of new series in development, both series that are targeted to have full African-American or Latino casts... but also many [diverse] leads that are being developed. We're not casting color-blind, but color-conscious. It's not the best actor wins, it's the right roles for diversity."
NCIS writers are still plotting Michael Weatherly's exit from the show. Geller said he (and his mother) will miss Weatherly on the show, but that it was a decision beyond his control. "The decision was his, and it was a creative one," Geller says. "He'd been in the role for 13 years. I completely understand that and wish him well." Geller also said that there currently no plans for Cote de Pablo to return to the show as part of Weatherly's exit.
Geller says he's found CBS' next big reality hit. "The first buy for me as entertainment president is called Hunted. It' s based on a U.K. format and essentially it's teams of 2 — regular people like you and me — being hunted by real-life professional law enforcement. If we can outlast the hunters for 28 days, we get $100,000. What I love about the show is it essentially brings the procedural element ... into the reality space. It literally feels tailor-made for CBS. There's something for everyone in it, and for me that's exactly what reality has: big appeal for all audiences."
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)