All week long as the other networks have been frantically renewing and canceling established shows and picking up new shows, CBS has been the cool kid leaning up against the wall in a leather jacket smoking a cigarette. [Yes, I'm picturing Pre-Upfronts Week as a '50s problem drama.]
Late Friday (May 9), CBS decided to get in on the action, announcing seven series pickups, five dramas and two comedies.
[Actually, it's kinda only six series pickups, since Vince Gilligan's “Battle Creek” had been acquired as a 13-episode series commitment pre-pilot.]
On the drama side, CBS is moving forward with the “Battle Creek,” the planted spinoff “NCIS: New Orleans,” “Stalker” (formerly “Untitled Kevin Williamson”), “Scorpion” and “Madam Secretary.”
On the comedy side, CBS has ordered “The McCarthys” and “The Odd Couple” to series.
It's unclear which shows are headed for midseason and which are targeted for fall.
And CBS isn't expected to announce any additional pickups or cancellations today.
So let's get down to the details on CBS' new shows for the 2014-15 season, or at least the first batch.
*** “Battle Creek” – As you already know, Vince Gilligan wrote “Battle Creek” over a decade ago, dusted it off and now the story of a detective and an FBI agent working the hard streets of Michigan is coming to TV with David Shore (“House”) as showrunner. The series stars Kal Penn, Josh Duhamel, Janet McTeer, Dean Winters and Aubrey Dollar, among others. Gilligan also directed the pilot.
*** “Madam Secretary” – Created by Barbara Hall, “Madam Secretary” stars Tea Leoni as a Secretary of State who struggles with diplomacy both abroad and in her own home. The Vocational Irony Narrative co-stars Tim Daly, Geoffrey Arend and Bebe Neuwirth and the pilot was directed by David Semel.
*** “NCIS: New Orleans” – This year's attempt at a nested “NCIS” spinoff was better received than last year's “NCIS: Red.” It stars Scott Bakula, Lucas Black, CCH Pounder and Zoey McLellan.
*** “Scorpion” – “Prison Break” veteran Nick Santora wrote the “Scorpion” pilot which tells the kinda true story of ultra-genius Walter (Elyes Gabel) who recruits a team of fellow geniuses to fight the world's biggest problems. Katharine McPhee plays the Normal who helps the brains interact with the world. The Justin Lin-directed project co-stars Ernie Hudson, Jadyn Wong, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Robert Patrick and more.
*** “Stalker” – Written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Liz Friedlander, “Stalker” focuses on the detectives handling stalking incidents in the LAPD's Threat Management Unit. Dylan McDermott returns to CBS in the lead role, joined by Maggie Q, Victor Rasuk and Mariana Kaveno.
*** “The McCarthys” – Created by Brian Gallivan and executive produced by Will Gluck, “The McCarthys” is, as I'm sure you'd guess, the story of a wacky Irish-Catholic family living in Boston. And yes, it features at least one former New Kid on the Block, in this case Joey McIntyre, along with Laurie Metcalf, Jimmy Dunn, Jack McGee, Kelen Coleman and Tyler Ritter.
*** “The Odd Couple” – Matthew Perry plays Oscar to Thomas Lennon's Felix in this new take on the Neil Simon's classic and entirely self-explanatory story. Wendell Pierce, Lindsay Sloane, Sarah Baker and Georgia King round out the ensemble.
These are merely the shows that CBS wanted to announce today. It doesn't mean that the network's other pilots are dead. However, as TV's most-watched network, CBS has many fewer logical scheduling holes than several of the other networks and this is already more dramas than most observers expected them to pick up.
So stay tuned!
Anything pique your interest?