[07/28/10 - 12:04 PM]
CBS at TCA: Tassler Emphasizes Stability, Diversity
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- "Damn it, he got out of doing press tour," CBS topper Nina Tassler joked about the much-ballyhooed resignation of Steve McPherson, her counterpart at ABC.

"I'd like a case of chardonnay over the holidays," she added during the network's executive session at the TCA Summer Press Tour. "He's a great guy. He's a good friend, and I wish him the best."

With the hot button issue addressed, Tassler spent most of her session touting the stability of the CBS brand, even with several of its high profile franchises ("CSI: Miami," "CSI: NY" and "The Big Bang Theory") heading to new time periods this fall.

Tassler also noted the diverse ways this year's show concepts came to them: "The Defenders" originated as a reality series at FOX about two real-life Las Vegas attorneys; "$#*! My Dad Says" comes from Justin Halpern's Twitter feed; and "Hawaii Five-0" is straight from the corporate library. "You just never know where your next hit is going to come from, and as the world gets smaller and online and social media gets bigger, the pool of potential ideas and source material is going to expand dramatically."

As for racial diversity, Tassler responded to the network's failing grade from GLAAD for their lack of gay and lesbian visibility. "We're not happy with ourselves," she admitted, noting several shows will be adding gay and lesbian characters. "You're going to meet Alicia's brother in "The Good Wife," a gay character. We're also going to be adding a new character to "Rules of Engagement." Jeff and Audrey's surrogate will be a member of Jeff's softball team, and she's a lesbian. We're also going to be recurring a character in "$#*! My Dad Says," the character Tim Bagley played. He will be returning this season."

Other notable developments:

-- Tassler says she hasn't decided about the future of "Flashpoint." Currently, the Eye is only committed to the 13 episodes set to air this summer. CTV has locked in nine episodes beyond those 13, which presumably could turn up on CBS in 2011.

-- "The show wasn't delivering the numbers that we needed," Tassler admitted about the quick trigger on "The Bridge." "Generally, our summer strategy works, and I think we'll continue to look at other ways to do other Canadian productions and other kinds of scripted shows during the summer."

-- Tassler was quick to stamp out a reporter's suggestion that David Letterman would reduce his workload to four days a week and begin using guest hosts on his off nights. Likewise, she says there won't be any interruption with "Two and a Half Men's" episode delivery due to Charlie Sheen's off-job issues; nor has there been any advertiser push-back due to "$#*! My Dad Says's" title.

-- And lastly, when asked about "$#*! My Dad Says's" recent recasting, Tassler pointed out both "The Big Bang Theory" and "NUMB3RS" also had lead characters recast after their original pilots and each went on to successful runs.

  [july 2010]  


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