Bullet points from Nina Tassler’s CBS exec session at TCA

Nina Nina Tassler kicked off the Television Critics Assn. press tour with CBS’ executive session before reporters. Here are some highlights:

  • On ABC Entertainment topper Steve McPherson’s departure from the network late Tuesday: “Damn it, he got out of doing press tour.”
  • On criticism for a lack of gay and lesbian characters on the network: “We’re very disappointed in our track record so far. We know, and we want to do better.” She added that gay characters have and will be coming on such shows as “The Good Wife,” “Rules of Engagement” and “… My Dad Says.”
  • On a perceived lack of strong female characters throughout the network: “You don’t look at a show and say, ‘I’m going to pick this up because it’s driven by a female cast member.’ You have to pick it up on the merits of the show itself. If we can going forward in a series add female characters, we will.”
  • On “Mike and Molly”: “Chuck (Lorre) has consistently delivered big hits to us. Mark Roberts is a terrific writer, and he comes from ‘Two and a Half Men.’”
  • On keeping “Undercover Boss” secret during production: “You hear hoofbeats, you don’t think zebras. People seeing cameras don’t automatically think, ‘I’m on an episode of “Undercover Boss.”’ (The producers have a procedure; they have a process in place.”
  • On the cancelation of “The Bridge”: The show wasn’t delivering the numbers we needed. Generally, our summer strategy works. We’ll keep looking (for shows from Canada and elsewhere.)”
  • On David Letterman’s contract expiring in 2012: “As long as Dave is happy and Dave wants to say around, we’re very happy to have him there.”
  • On Kalinda’s mysterious sexuality on “The Good Wife”: “I don’t think you will (see it revealed) in the first part of season, but you will later on. People love speculating about her personal life and her sexuality, and so I don’t think we want to spill the beans on her yet.”
  • On recasting after greenlighting pilots: “’Big Bang’ was recast. ‘Numbers’ was recast. The whole idea behind recasting is part of the development of any show.”
  • On moving “Big Bang Theory” to Thursdays: “Certainly it was difficult (to decide to move ‘Big Bang’), but not in the sense that you don’t have complete faith and belief in the show. The time felt right – the show is certainly enjoying an extraordinary amount of support and love, and this was a great opportunity for us to move it into a strategic place. We don’t expect it to do the numbers that it’s done on Monday yet, but the show has distinguished itself.”
  • On the new daytime talker making the arguably pragmatic choice of selecting CBS head Les Moonves’ wife, Julie Chen, as a co-host. “The executive producer of this show, Sara Gilbert, said, ‘What about Julie – do you think she would be interested?’ We followed her lead. I made the decision. I don’t think Leslie’s unhappy with the decision, but we’re thrilled to have her.”
  • On Charlie Sheen’s legal status affecting “Two and a Half Men”: “There will be no interruption in delivery of episodes or production.”
  • On scripted TV on Fridays: “The last three shows we’ve had on Friday night, all three of them went over 100 episodes.”
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