Fall TV Preview 2012: CBS
For the past few years, CBS has been the sun around which the other networks, er, planets, revolve.Michael Chiklis can shed plenty of light about the TV business to Dennis Quaid. In a perennial position of strength, the Eye rarely needs a fall overhaul and has the luxury of trying to improve already strong timeslots or giving a boost to series that have been around a few years. “Launching new shows is always a priority, but we want to continue to bolster and promote our returning hits,” entertainment president Nina Tassler told Variety. Tassler said she wants to make sure second-year laffer “2 Broke Girls” can continue to flourish in its new 9 p.m. Monday perch. “We need to give that show more fanfare in that time period,” Tassler adds. “Those Monday comedy blocks are very important to us.” Starting the night is “How I Met Your Mother,” now in its eighth season, with rookie series “Partners” to follow. Challenge for “Partners” will be to compete against a pair heavyweight reality series in “Dancing With the Stars” on ABC and NBC’s “The Voice.” CBS is adding only two dramas for fall, with both slotted at 10 o’clock. Thursday entry “Elementary” — a modern-day Gotham take on Sherlock Holmes, starring Jonny Lee Miller — would seem to be in a prime position to succeed with NBC’s ratings challenged “Rock Center With Brian Williams” and ABC’s “Scandal” in the same time period. “I’m not a gambler and don’t like to predict what a show will do, but we had really strong testing coming out of the pilot,” Tassler says, “and ‘Person of Interest’ is a great lead-in. It’s a great flow and we’re expecting very good things.” Calling the cancellation of “CSI: Miami” the hardest decision made leading in to the May upfronts, Tassler still has potent dramas returning as well as the top-rated comedy in the 18-49 demo with “The Big Bang Theory,” a laffer that will be around for many seasons to come.
The former star of “The Shield” has spent most of his career on the smallscreen, while Quaid’s last regular TV gig was on the 1970s Robert Blake starrer “Baretta.” The two meet as adversaries on 1960s-set “Vegas,” with Chiklis playing a mob boss and Quaid as popular Las Vegas sheriff Ralph Lamb, who is faced with being a lawman in a city that is seeing an influx in criminal activity as legalized gambling begins to flourish. Quaid is glad for the opportunity to play a character that has an arc longer than two hours. “It’s just a different challenge,” Quaid says. “The idea really appealed to me, to unfold a character over, hopefully, a very long period of time.” There is a strong film pedigree, however, behind the camera as well. “GoodFellas” and “Casino” scribe Nicholas Pileggi is co-creator and exec producer while “Walk the Line” helmer James Mangold directed the pilot.
CBS won’t need to spend marketing dollars to explain who Sherlock Holmes is, although this Gotham version is probably not what Arthur Conan Doyle had in mind. The addition of a female Watson (Lucy Liu) makes for an intriguing partnership.
Max Mutchnick and David Kohan know a little something about what ingredients are necessary for a wildly successful sitcom. The “Will & Grace” creators stay in their comfort zone — mixing gay and straight characters — with Michael Urie and David Krumholtz in the leading roles.
English actress Janet Montgomery goes all Garden State as an upstart lawyer crossing the Hudson and trying to make a name for herself in the big city. Whoever can spot the most Springsteen or Devils references in each episode wins a prize.