BEVERLY HILLS – The combination of a late night for the Television Critics Association — we presented our awards — plus CBS’ relative paucity of new programming has led to a late-ish start on Sunday, July 29.
It’s also likely to lead to yet another relatively uneventful Executive Session with CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler.
Click through for the celebration of CBS’ continued place as TV’s most-watched network. And more…
9:33 a.m. We begin with gentle mockery from a CBS PR exec about our late-night partying. And with a clip reel of CBS awesomeness.
9:35 a.m. NINA TASSLER BROUGHT A MONKEY!!!! It’s a stuffed monkey. And it’s adorable. He’s wearing a “How I Met Your Mother” tie.
9:36 a.m. “I must admit I have a very familiar story to tell,” Tassler tells us. Tops in viewers. Tops in Emmy nominations for the networks. And Tops in a bunch of other stuff. Tassler reminds us that CBS sells 25-54 for advertising, rather than 18-49. We know this. She’s proud of developing, scheduling and marketing. Very on-message. As you’d have expected. She says that 80 percent of CBS’ returning shows have already sold into syndication. That’s a little mind-boggling if you think about it.
9:39 a.m. CBS is happy with upcoming shows and development is already under way.
9:40 a.m. First question is about a possible ninth season of “How I Met Your Mother.” “They had an incredible year last year,” she says of “HIMYM,” saying that they have “a very strategic wrap-up to the show.” The network wants the show back next year and they’re having conversations. They’re in early conversations and “we’re pretty optimistic.”
9:41 a.m. CBS has “Ex-Men” in development. We knew this. CBS has no plans to expand to a third “NCIS” installment.
9:41 a.m. Is CBS concerned that “The Mentalist” will be pushed way out of primetime? CBS is developing next texting technology to let viewers know when their shows are pushed. “Literally, we do everything possible and will continue to do everything to make sure that the audience knows that the show will be on later,” she says.
9:44 a.m. “Saying good-bye to a ‘CSI’ this year was a very big deal,” Tassler says of jettisoning “CSI: Miami.” She calls the decision to kill “Miami” “a jump ball,” calling it a tough choice that came down to time slots and scheduling. Will there be a difference in “CSI: NY” in the 8 p.m. hour? She says the early episodes are “big New York-centric event stories.” She promises more humor this season.
9:44 a.m. Will CBS have a quick hook for “3” after last week’s dismal premiere? And what does it say about the sad state of summer reality this summer? “It was a show we tried, we were excited about, it didn’t quite get traction,” Tassler says, calling the summer tough for everybody. CBS says that summer repeats are still good business for CBS. “I think reality is challenging and intriguing in so many ways,” she says.
9:46 a.m. First reference to bringing “Unforgettable” back. It’s just a reference to CBS trying other things with summers.
9:47 a.m. Why has the network struggled to find something after “The Big Bang Theory”? And why is “Two and a Half Men” going there? Tassler calls it “a strategic move.” “It gives Thursday night a whole new boost,” she says.
9:49 a.m. Social media is important to CBS, but the network is strategic/conservative. They want to protect brands. Etc. “Across the board, it’s motivated by ‘What’s in the best interest of the brand? What’s in the best interest of the network?’
9:50 a.m. How much of a distraction is the Sunday football delays? Tassler repeats that the network is “sensitive.” But she still says that overruns are “great for us,” because they boost ratings across the board. She points out that demo numbers for “The Good Wife” are basically what they were on Tuesday.
9:52 a.m. “Elementary” blather. “When you have an opportunity to build a show around one of the greatest detectives in all of literature, you’re going to jump at that show,” Tassler says. She points out all of the actors who have played Sherlock Holmes over the years and that many of TV’s great characters owe their origin to Holmes. She calls the creator of “Elementary” a “Holmesian expert.” She calls the female Watson a forward-thinking way of approaching the character. Lots of praise for creator Rob Doherty tapping into the DNA of the character.
9:53 a.m. Tassler points out that yes, “Sherlock” was out there, but so were the movies and the books. “I think their version is extraordinary. It’s a wonderful version of the show,” Tassler says of “Sherlock.” She says “there’s plenty of room for another Holmes in our world.
9:55 a.m. Back to “Unforgettable.” Does Nina have regrets about canceling it at all? “It was a really tough decision,” she repeats. What will they expect when it return? “I can’t predict what our expectations for it will be in the summer,” she says, expecting it to do “well.”
9:56 a.m. Will CBS’ publicity department continue in the vein of the jokey “Dancing on the Stars” press release from earlier this summer? “Well, we can only hope,” she says.
9:57 a.m. For some reason, we keep not understanding that Primetime Entertainment Presidents don’t have jurisdiction over morning shows and news shows.
9:57 a.m. Why is CBS sticking with the traditional Premiere Week? “It works for us. We like Premiere Week. We like the excitement and the energy and the marketing and promotional machine that leads up to fall,” she says. Real answer: We’re CBS, damnit.
9:58 a.m. Why is CBS confident about “Vegas”? The network was given a “scriptment,” a script with narrative and snippets of dialogue. “For us, the fact that it was set in the ’60s was secondary to the extraordinary character of Ralph Lamb,” Tassler says, saying that there’s a franchise built into the show. The script they originally saw was mostly Ralph Lamb, but they asked the writers to bump up the nemesis character played by Michael Chiklis. “It’s not about the ’60s, per se. It’s about these two forces that were battling for the heart and soul of Las Vegas,” she says.
10:01 a.m. “It’s still ongoing,” Tassler says of the “Glass House”/”Big Brother” lawsuit. She wants the message to be that the network is very protective of their brands.
That’s all, folks…