Welcome to the Television Critics Association press tour, kids. Tuesday (July 27) was the official kick-off with a day of set visits, but Wednesday is when things really get rolling, with CBS taking the dais to celebrate being No. 1 (in total viewers and Jerry Bruckheimer procedurals) and to express schadenfreude over the plight of the Lesser networks.
Sepinwall will be writing analysis based on CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler’s executive session. I’ll be live-blogging, if only as a way of taking notes for Sepinwall.
Click through for the highlights of TV’s least controversial network…
8:34 a.m. Tassler is proud of having the first TV show based on a Twitter feed. And proud that “The Defenders” was originally a FOX reality TV pitch. And proud that they’ve dug into their library for “Hawaii Five-0.” Much pride. “You just never know where your next hit is going to come from,” she celebrates.
8:35 a.m. “Survivor” will be a Battle of the Ages this season. Apparently if I looked in my e-mail, I have a press release about this.
8:36 a.m. Questions now.
8:36 a.m. Strong development in drama led to the moves of “CSI: Miami” and “CSI: NY.” It’s not exactly a sexy answer, but I guess it makes sense.
8:37 a.m. On “Hawaii Five-0,” she says, “You have to look at the audience that is going to remember the original show. You want to be respectful, in a way a kind of homage. But for us, we loved the pitch so much,” she says. This is a “deconstruction of the elements” of the original show. Somebody’s been watching her “Top Chef”! Mmmm… Deconstructed “Hawaii Five-0.” She promises, though, that certain elements — Old Hawaii vs. New Hawaii, etc — will remain.
8:38 a.m. Questioner asks if there’s a downside to CBS’ stability. “Damnit, he got out of Press Tour,” is what Tassler claims her first reaction was the to Steve McPherson resignation. That’s probably not exactly true, but it’s much more generous than past reactions to, say, Ben Silverman’s exit. She’s all praise for McPherson.
8:40 a.m. Tassler says that successes on other networks are still good for the industry, giving the creative community a chance to do good work.
8:41 a.m. Why does GLAAD keep giving CBS a failing grade for gay diversity? Tassler says that they shot a pilot and had pieces in development that would have helped. She says they’re “disappointed” in their track record and they’re adding gay characters. Alicia’s brother on “The Good Wife” will be gay. “Feces My Dad Says” will have a gay character. And “Rules of Engagement” will add a lesbian. “We’re not happy with ourselves,” she promises.
8:42 a.m. CBS cancelled several female-driven shows. But Tassler isn’t worried. She says that there’s plenty of “female representation” on the network. She promises they’re looking for ways to add female characters. “How you promote a show and how it develops through the season are two different things,” she says, noting that some shows that may be promoted with their male leads may have strong female characters as well.
8:44 a.m. One critic is confused that “Hawaii Five-0” started off dark and angry. Tassler assures us that “relative to its time,” the original “Hawaii Five-0” was a crime procedural as well. “I think that it has got great humor. It’s got great action. Those characters pop. It’s got those great beach scenes,” Tassler insists of the new version.
8:46 a.m. “I thought, ‘It’s Chuck Lorre,'” Tassler explains regarding the initial pitch of “Mike & Molly,” calling the overweight characters at the center relatable and funny.
8:47 a.m. Now we’re worried about the violence in “Hawaii Five-0” and how families might react. Tassler politely reminds us that it’s a 10 p.m. show. “We have standards, we have advertisers and we have audience and we respect that processes,” she says.
8:48 a.m. How will “Undercover Boss” change? Tassler won’t reveal. “If you hear hoofbeats, you don’t think zebras,” she says cryptically. Her point is that even after one season, people don’t instantly think of “Undercover Boss” when they see cameras. She promises that they have “an unbelievable lineup of great companies this year.”
8:50 a.m. There are no fees for the companies on “Undercover Boss” and she insists that it’s cast just like any other reality show.
8:50 a.m. In case you didn’t notice, CBS pulled “The Bridge” early. “The show wasn’t delivering the numbers we needed,” Tassler explains simply. That doesn’t mean, though, that the Canadian pipeline has dried up. She says “maybe” regarding the future of “Flashpoint.”
8:51 a.m. Any concerns that “Parenthood” is now beating “The Good Wife” in the key demo? “We see that it’s more competitive in the time period and I think we’re up for the challenge and there’s unbelievable story stuff coming up on that show,” she says.
8:52 a.m. “As long as Dave is happy and Dave wants to stay around, we’re very happy to have him there,” Tassler says regarding David Letterman. She says they currently aren’t negotiating with him for a new contract, though.
8:53 a.m. Charlie Sheen’s legal difficulties aren’t expected to interrupt either production or delivery of episodes for “Two and a Half Men.”
8:55 a.m. “We haven’t really gotten pushback yet,” Tassler says of the title of “Feces My Dad Says” She insists that the recasting isn’t a sign of a problem, though she acknowledges that in replacing the son, most of the pilot will likely be reshot. And yes, in my question, I called the show “Feces My Dad Says.”
8:57 a.m. Question regarding “the wife of the CEO” being in three shows. That would be Julie Chen. The issue involves CBS’ new version of “The View,” which was pitched to the network by Sara Gilbert. And now, it’s not actually “The View.” I just don’t remember the title. In any case, it was Sara’s idea to have Julie. “We followed her lead,” Tassler says. “I made the decision. I don’t think Leslie [Mooves] disliked the decision.”
9:00 a.m. Do they have different expectations for Friday shows? That specifically refers to “Blue Bloods.” Tassler says, “For us, we’ve always done scripted on Friday night.” She notes that that their last three shows on Friday night went to over 100 episodes. Well, not “Miami Medical.”
That’s it for Nina Tassler. I’ll let Sepinwall try to find value there…