CBS chair Nina Tassler took the stage at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena on Monday with confidence, announcing at the top of her exec session the renewal of “NCIS: New Orleans,” “Madam Secretary” and “Scorpion” — the season’s top-ranked new shows — for the 2015-16 season. All three hail from CBS TV Studios.
She said the Eye’s other frosh shows — “Stalker” and “The McCarthys” — are still contenders for renewal.
She also drew attention to the Sunday night lineup of “The Good Wife” and “Madam Secretary,” noting, “I’m a little surprised for the lack of attention this programming has received.”
She fielded several questions about the “Supergirl” pilot, now in development with Warner Bros. TV and Greg Berlanti. “She embodied so many of the characteristics of classic female heroines on the network,” Tassler said. “We fell in love with the pitch.” Casting is still underway, she said. “We’re looking for quality, charisma. She’s got to be everywoman.” Designs for the costume, however, are complete, thanks to Colleen Atwood.
Another hot topic was the upcoming latenight David Letterman/Stephen Colbert hand-off. Colbert’s “Late Show” is slated to debut on Tuesday, Sept. 8. “He knows he is introducing himself, the real Stephen Colbert, to his audience,” she said. The show will have music and guests, but otherwise is still very much in the development process. “We’re sitting back and waiting for him to come to us and say what he has in mind,” she said, adding that Colbert has brought most of his creative team from “The Colbert Report” over to the new show.
As for Letterman’s farewell, which is set for May 20, Tassler said they’re in conversations about special programming leading up to the finale, adding that CBS would likely run repeats of its primetime series during the interim period. “He has a legacy unmatched in the history of television,” she said of Letterman. “He’s extraordinarily philosophical about where he is.”
She heaped praise on James Corden, who will inherit the 12:35 a.m. “Late Late Show” slot on March 23. Tassler and CBS Corp. chief Leslie Moonves met with him in New York, and “to say we were mesmerized by him is an understatement,” she said. “He’s a combination of Jack Black and Fred Astaire. It’s pretty magic.”
Tassler noted that she had actually met with Corden in the past when he was pitching her projects as a writer. “He’s a multi hyphenate,” she said, citing his range of experience as a writer, actor, stage performer and host of the British yakker “League of Their Own.”
Tassler also addressed the rumors that Charlie Sheen would make an appearance on the upcoming “Two and a Half Men” finale. She also dodged questions about whether Angus T. Jones would return. Saying that she’d been sworn to secrecy, all she would reveal is that the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre, has promised to deliver a “mystery sandwich.”