[01/11/12 - 07:09 PM]
TCA: CBS Teases Plans, Firms Up Episode Orders
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- With three of the season's top new shows ("2 Broke Girls," "Unforgettable," "Person of Interest") and unprecedented growth from the likes of "How I Met Your Mother" and "Two and a Half Men," CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler had plenty to be proud of during the network's executive session at the TCA Winter Press Tour. "We had an amazing year," she said. "We had a phenomenal year. You have the stats. They're really remarkable. And we're incredibly proud."

Notable developments from the session and the day's other panels included:

-- Tassler is happy with "The Good Wife's" numbers on Sundays. "The show feels like a better fit on Sunday night," Tassler said. "We're thrilled with the critical response and the awards and the attention the show gets. More importantly, the audience that does watch the show on Sunday night, it's very upscale. It's very female. And they're very engaged. So we feel it was a very good move."

-- Look for midseason drama "NYC 22" in the spring. "Part of the reason why it's later in the season is we had a very successful fall," the executive noted. "And as audience is continuing to grow for the shows that we launched this fall, we want to make sure that we fortify the audience, make sure we continue to support the new shows. And then we'll give it its own sort of very special launch later in the spring and using basketball as a platform to launch it."

-- We may see more reality next season. "We have a very, very heavy development slate this year in alternative, not only for summer, but next year as well," Tassler revealed. "Our goal has always been in reality, you know, not necessarily follow the same path that everybody else follows. It's really listening to our audience, knowing what they respond to. Having shows that have a stronger narrative drive seems to work for us better."

-- She's likewise pleased with "Person of Interest," but wants more Carter. "It's one of the top shows of -- the top two dramas of the fall, so I would say that's a great achievement," she said. As for Taraji P. Henson's character, Tassler added that "we felt that the Carter character was too peripheral [so] we sat down and we had a great creative meeting with them and asked them if they were open to sort of bringing the Carter character into the superhero cave, if you will. And it was a plan that they had in place, but more for the end of the season. And we asked them if they were open to moving that up and as we now as you now can see, Carter is a part of the you know, she's sort of the Commissioner Gordon, if you will."

-- The "Mike & Molly" wedding in on track for May, says executive producer Mark Roberts. Billy Gardell added that it's just the latest milestone planned for the series, saying "this is a story, beyond anything else, about two people falling in love who thought they were never going to get to fall in love, and if you can't root for that, you're a little dead inside."

-- Expect some reflection from Ted on "How I Met Your Mother" during February sweeps. "There's actually kind of big, like, soul searching stuff coming up for Ted, Episode 16, 17, 18," said co-creator Craig Thomas about Ted's seven-year quest to find a wife but coming up snake eyes. "He's going to come up with what he thinks is the answer, and then we're going to kind of explore whether it is the right answer for him."

-- Ashton Kutcher isn't signed through next season. "The deal that we structured for the show was kind of a test," the freshly shaved and cropped actor said during the "Two and a Half Men" session. "I have a couple features I think I'm going to do in the summer during the hiatus, and right now I'm looking at it as a hiatus because I'm having a lot of fun doing the show and working with these guys and would be interested in coming back if we can work that out."

-- Michael Patrick King had a rough day. The "2 Broke Girls" co-creator was criticized over the portrayal of minorities on the show. "I'm gay. I'm putting in gay stereotypes every week," King said. "I don't find it offensive, any of this. I find it I find it comic to take everybody down. That's what we're doing." Adding, "being a comedy writer gives you permission to be an outsider and poke fun at what people think about other people."

-- "NCIS," "How I Met Your Mother," "2 Broke Girls," "The Big Bang Theory" and "Two and a Half Men" will all shoot 24 episodes this season while "Mike & Molly" is set for 23. Chuck Lorre confirmed said numbers for his three series during the "Mike & Molly" session while Gary Glasberg, Michael Patrick King and Carter Bays affirmed their orders following their respective show's panels.

-- The 200th episode of "NCIS" is set for Tuesday, February 7. "The episode is called 'Life Before His Eyes,'" said executive producer Gary Glasberg. "It literally looks back at key moments throughout nine years of 'NCIS' where decisions have had to be made and, had people gone one direction instead of another, that how the world would have ended up. And it brings back familiar faces, old faces, faces fans aren't going to think don't think that they'd see again." As for who those faces are, Glasberg would only confirm Lauren Holly's Jenny Shepard isn't among them.

  [january 2012]  

· NYC 22 (CBS)

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