CBS’ Nina Tassler on the State of the Network – Press tour live-blog

01.12.15 3 years ago


Sunday was a big day for The CW, with a slew of big renewals in the morning, a busy day of Press Tour panels and then an evening coronation for Gina Rodriguez at the Golden Globes.

Well, CBS has its own Golden Globe winner, with “CSI: Cyber” star Patricia Arquette, but will the network have anything meaningful in store during its Television Critics Association press tour activities?

Let's see what CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler has to say…

9:00 a.m. PT. The CBS clip reel begins with somebody at a juke box, pressing play on a  record, which tells you everything you need to know about CBS' demos.

9:01 a.m. Nina Tassler begins by congratulating Gina Rodriguez and Patricia Arquette for their Golden Globes.

9:02 a.m. CBS is No.1 in total viewers and overnight ratings are less important than ever before. And CBS is getting more value out of viewers in digital platforms and whatnot. “It's about finding all viewers, wherever they are and whenever they watch,” she emphasizes. But the CBS brand is distinguished by the ability to find big audiences. CBS has launched three new hits, the top three ranked new shows (presumably overall?). Those would be “NCIS: New Orleans,” “Madam Secretary” and “Scorpion.” ALL THREE HAVE BEEN RENEWED. Tassler also says that “Stalker” is still in contention for next season. [That's ridiculous, but whatever.] Tassler thinks that all of CBS' Sunday shows should be getting more recognition, not just “Good Wife.” “Mom” is the fastest growing returning show, Tassler says. 

9:05 a.m. Our first mention of “Supergirl,” which is part of CBS' emphasis on leading ladies. But no casting announced. Tassler says that the term “back-nine” is becoming obsolete. Shows are getting variable episode orders and premiering at variable times in the year. And CBS is adding more original programming throughout the year. CBS has a big year ahead in late-night, with David Letterman departing in May and two new shows coming. Tuesday, September 8 will be Stephen Colbert's premiere in the 11:30 slot. 

9:09 a.m. Tassler heads over to her “interrogation chair” for questions.

9:09 a.m. What will CBS be doing in the summer between Letterman's exit and Colbert's premiere. Tassler says that the network will be running its primetime shows in the summer at 11:30, specifically encores of scripted programming. 

9:10 a.m. What makes “Supergirl” a CBS show? “As you can tell from the strength of the female characters we have on television, it's a real passion of ours,” Tassler says. She says that Supergirl is “a story and a coming-of-age opportunity for us.” Tassler also loves the genre.

9:11 a.m. Will Charlie Sheen be back for the “Two and a Half Men” finale? Tassler gives a shout-out to Chuck Lorre. “I can promise you there'll be a lot of surprises,” she says. Lorre is promising to deliver “a mystery sandwich.” But that's not an answer.

9:12 a.m. Tassler says that the network is receiving fewer complaints about Sunday delays because the world is changing and people are paying more attention.

9:13 a.m. CBS has had no discussions about “Dallas” returning to the network.

9:13 a.m. “'CSI: Cyber' is reflecting what is happening in our world today,” Tassler says. She claims stories are ripped from the headlines and the show has its finger on the pulse. But that doesn't mean there's a North Korea storyline coming.

9:14 a.m. Even with digital platforms becoming more important, Tassler says that live viewing is still how people find shows. So scheduling and flow and protecting programs are still important. Scheduling is most important, then, to launching and supporting a show.

9:15 a.m. We go back to “Supergirl.” Will it be a procedural? Or will it feel like a superhero show? On the studio side, Tassler worked on “Lois & Clark.” She says that there's a human drama there. “I think we're watching an evolution with regard to the way superhero characters are portrayed,” she says, noting the humanity. The network responded to the humanity, the character arc and relatability. “We made the decision based on the pitch that we heard,” she says.

9:17 a.m. “Extant” will have some big changes. The Molly character will be more proactive and there will be supporting actor changes. She likes that with summer shows you can make big sweeping changes and audiences will embrace those changes.

9:17 a.m. Tassler says that when you're handling a property like “The Odd Couple,” “you're certainly going to proceed with caution.” She said they loved the Matthew Perry/Thomas Lennon chemistry and when Garry Marshall gave his blessing, that was a big deal for the show.

9:18 a.m. How much life is left in “The Amazing Race”? “As we know, 'The Amazing Race' is one of our beloved unscripted franchises. It is an upscale show,” she says, adding that it did well. She says the producers have made some changes and that there will be some surprises in store. She likes that with unscripted shows you can bring in new viewers with each new cast. Tassler praises the playback ratings for “Race.”

9:20 a.m. What is the structure of Stephen Colbert's show going to be? They've just moved into their new offices. “This really an additive process,” she says, noting that almost all of the “Colbert Reporte” writing team is coming. There will be a musical component. There will be guests. Colbert knows that he's introducing himself to America as Stephen Colbert. Tassler says that the network is sitting back and waiting for Colbert to say what he has in mind. “It's really a discovery process for him. He's in development on it right now,” she says.

9:22 a.m. What happened with the quick pull on “The Millers”? “We gave 'The Millers' a terrific launch last year. It had a great time period. We're enormous fans of Greg Garcia,” she says. She adds that they gave it a good start this year. “It didn't take off. It is the nature of what we do. There are shows that get traction and build,” she says, pointing to “Mom.”

9:22 a.m. “It certainly will be a contender for next year,” Tassler says of “The McCarthys.”

9:24 a.m. Tassler saw James Corden on Broadway. “You knew that you were in the presence of someone a little crazy and someone incredibly talented,” she says. She notes they met with “talented and diverse people” for the late-night job, but Corden came in and they were mesmerized by him. Actually she says “mesmerized” is an understatement. They'd had meetings with Corden previously about scripted shows. “He is so vibrant, so entertaining. He is a fearless actor and he is a multi-hyphenate,” she says. “He's pretty magic,” she says. 

9:26 a.m. Is there any possibility that CBS could do anything original on Saturday night? “It's a conversation that we have season-to-season,” she says. She claims they often joke that it would be great to open up Saturday nights. 

9:27 a.m. “First lesson is: Do it better,” Tassler says of doing another “Criminal Minds” spinoff. The network isn't ready to call this the last season of “CSI.” 

9:27 a.m. Regarding “Stalker” and “McCarthys,” Tassler says ratings will be relevant, but also creative in the second half and, nebulously, “economics.”

That's all, folks…

Around The Web