CBS IN OVERDRIVE FOR FUTURE FRANCHISES

Former Warner Bros, topper Leslie Moonves probably didn’t think taking over CBS would be as hard as it has proved, with even high-profile launches like “Central Park West” and “John Grisham’s the Client” landing low numbers. But Moonves is pushing along with a couple of prospects to try and elevate the web. First priority is to figure out some way to keep “Murphy Brown” from signing off at the end of its eighth season. Five-time Emmy winner Candice Bergen has reportedly vowed to make this season the last. Bergen’s William Morris agent Fred Westheimer said her contract ends this season, and the current plan is for “Murphy” to end its run.

If CBS can’t keep her, Buzz hears there’s talk about doing a spinoff of the Warner Bros.-based show, which could center on Faith Ford’s character, Corky Sherwood, and possibly Grant Shaud’s character, “FYI” producer Miles Silverberg. The characters married in the first episode of the new season.

CBS is also moving at warp speed with “The Osiris Chronicles,” a new sci-fi series hatched by Caleb Carr, the author of the acclaimed novel “The Alienist,” and “Gremlins” director Joe Dante, who will direct the pilot movie, the first regular episode and other periodic episodes. Reached at his offices at Paramount, where the series is based, Carr indicated the premise is as ambitious as the original “Star Trek.”

“It’s a space show that takes place following the time period which ‘Star Trek’ takes place in,” he said. “Whereas ‘Star Trek’ was about these ideal future orders where everything fell into place, this posits the question of what happens when that falls apart, when that world order collapses, and there’s a group of people facing a sinister threat who must find a way to restore order in the galaxy.”

Carr, who’s the show’s creator and primary writer, will be executive producer along with Dante, Mike Finnell and Bob Eisele. They start shooting Nov. 20, eyeing a March 20 air-date.

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