CBS made their appearance at TCA on Sunday despite the sexual misconduct investigation currently focused on CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves.
CBS Entertainment head Kelly Kahl set the tone with an executive session at the the beginning of the day, followed by panels for shows like Dick Wolf’s “FBI,” the revival of “Murphy Brown,” and the reboot of “Magnum PI.”
Here are five things we learned from Sunday’s session.
1.Kelly Kahl opened with prepared remarks on the allegations against Moonves before moving into a Q&A with the assembled reporters. “I believe we take workplace safety very seriously,” Kahl said. “I think if you look up and down the halls in CBS you’ll find a very safe environment.”
He declined to address allegations against the former “Star Trek: Discovery” showrunners or against “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager, however. “I can only speak to the entertainment division,” Kahl said. “We’re a large company. I’m confident that the culture of the entertainment division is very safe, very collaborative.”
2. “The Big Bang Theory” could continue beyond its upcoming twelfth season. Kahl said that CBS and Warner Bros. Television, which produces the show, are already discussing renewing the show beyond its upcoming twelfth season. Kahl said that CBS and the studio are in “preliminary discussions” to renew the show for thirteenth season, despite persistent rumors that the Season 12 would be the show’s last.
3. When “Murphy Brown” returns for its 13-episode revival season this September, the focus will be on the first amendment and free press because the characters are journalists and those things are “under attack like I’ve never seen before,” creator and executive producer Diane English said. But it will also be returning to topical stories the original run explored, like sexual harassment. Now with the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, English shared that the fourth episode of the season will be titled “Hashtag Murphy Too.” “I don’t think there’s a woman out here that hasn’t had some experience with misogyny or misconduct,” she said. “It’s a powerful movement, and we wanted to do it justice.”
4. Dick Wolf insisted that his new CBS procedural, “FBI,” is not meant to be political. Rather, Wolf said the show is meant as a celebration of the men and women who do the day-in-day-out work at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “We’re celebrating the troops on the ground,” Wolf said. “The New York office has 1300 agents and there are endless stories in there. I’m not changing trying to change hearts and minds. People are going to get a very realistic view of how that office operates.”
5. CBS has long been criticized for its lack of diversity, but the network’s panel lineup made it clear that people of color will play lead roles in the vast majority of their freshman shows this year. Kahl said that the network had made great strides but still had a ways to go. Among the networks new dramas, Jay Hernandez will play the title role in the high-profile reboot of “Magnum PI,” while Brandon Michael Hall will star in the light drama “God Friended Me,” and Zeeko Zaki is the male lead on “FBI.” On the comedy side, Damon Wayans Jr. and Amber Stevens West will star in “Happy Together,” and “The Neighborhood” cast is led by Cedric the Entertainer.