The Eye’s move toward more adventurous series development won’t be a one-year fling.
That was the message Wednesday from CBS Entertainment prexy Nina Tassler, who told journos that she won’t let the inevitable failure of some of the net’s new fall players deter her from continuing the gradual reshaping of its primetime lineup.
“Some of them will fail and some of them will succeed,” Tassler said during an appearance at the TV Critics Assn. summer press tour in Beverly Hills. “But it’s not an either/or choice … If they do fail, I don’t think it’s going to be because they were so daring and different.”
And even before she knows how shows like the musical “Viva Laughlin” or the randy “Swingtown” play with the Eye’s heartland auds, Tassler is vowing to develop another slate of skeins that veer from the procedural path.
“It will be adventurous,” she said. “We are going to be daring and bold and different this year as well.”
Indeed, Tassler said she wanted to get auds talking about CBS shows, even if it meant generating some negative headlines. When asked about the racy content of wife-swap drama “Swingtown,” Tassler didn’t seem worried at all about a possible backlash.
“I hope there are concerns about it. I really do,” she said. “We’re going to push the envelope with that show.”
Tassler was quick to add that the net isn’t abandoning the idea of adding more crime procedurals to the mix.
“If a great (one) walks in the door, we are absolutely going to buy it,” she said. “A good show is a good show.”
For the most part, Tassler talked about potential controversy without having to deal with any real brouhahas. Some critics tried to stir the pot with new reality skein “Kid Nation,” but with no smoking guns, there wasn’t much to talk about.
Exec’s low-key appearance before the nation’s TV critics was notable mostly for the journos’ inexplicable interest in the details of Mandy Patinkin’s exit from the successful but heretofore buzz-free “Criminal Minds” (Daily Variety, July 17).
Tassler said the show would be fine without Patinkin and attributed his departure to “personal” reasons. When one scribe noted that a news release had chalked up his ankling to creative differences, Tassler responded with wit.
“I think ‘creative differences’ is a euphemism for personal issues,” she said with a wink.
Scribes followed up several more times in an attempt to get Tassler to elaborate, but she repeatedly declined.
“I do not mean to sound like I’m avoiding the question,” she said. “I wish I could say more. I just — I don’t feel that this is the forum in which I’d like to have that conversation.”
Tassler also hinted that Patinkin would be addressing the reasons behind his exit “at some point, I hope, in the near future.”
Critics also spent a good amount of time grilling Tassler on her decision to revive “Jericho.”
Elsewhere during her session, Tassler announced the following:
- CBS will roll out most of its fall sked during premiere week, but the net is saving its biggest bet of the season for last.
Musical drama “Viva Laughlin” won’t settle into its regular 8 p.m. Sunday slot until Oct. 21, a full month after the season starts. Eye said it picked that date in order to take advantage of a two-week window in the NFL sked in which there won’t be any chance of football overruns.
Move is also designed to give the Eye more time to sell the skein to auds. Toward that end, CBS will serve up a “Laughlin” preview on Oct. 18, slotting it behind an original episode of “CSI.”
As for the rest of the net’s lineup, it plans to give reality skeins “Kid Nation” and “Survivor” early premiere dates, on Sept. 19 and Sept. 20, respectively.
Remainder of the sked, from “How I Met Your Mother to “48 Hours Mystery,” will roll out the week of Sept. 24.
- Helmer Tony Scott will direct the season premiere of “Numbers.” Tassler said the director is “giving the show a whole new look.”
- New “Ghost Whisperer” co-showrunner P.K. Simonds is revamping the skein, inventing a new mythology about the town in which Jennifer Love Hewitt’s character lives.
- Two Jerry Bruckheimer-produced shows — “CSI” and “Without a Trace” — will film crossover episodes, with stars William Petersen and Anthony LaPaglia appearing in each other’s shows. “CSI: NY,” meanwhile, will feature an episode set in the world of Second Life.
- Season premiere of “Cold Case” will feature a soundtrack of songs by Nirvana.