NEW YORK, N.Y. – CBS on Wednesday revealed a few nips and tucks it is planning next season for what is already network television’s most successful schedule, including adding a comedy with Robin Williams playing an unorthodox advertising executive with Sarah Michelle Gellar as his daughter.
It will move “Person of Interest” to Tuesdays, pairing it with “NCIS” and “NCIS: Los Angeles” to have television’s three most-watched dramas on the same night and the same network.
Four comedies and one drama will debut on CBS this fall. CBS ordered only eight new series for the season, while rivals ABC, NBC and Fox are introducing a total of 41. CBS will end this season with the widest margin of victory in viewers of any network in 24 years and even win among the advertiser-desired demographic of 18- to 49-year-olds for the first time since the early 1990s, said Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp. CEO.
Moonves took notice of how Jimmy Kimmel called CBS executives smug during ABC’s schedule presentation on Tuesday, the late-night comic even adding an unprintable noun. If true, Moonves said, “I guess that means we’re winning.”
The company’s stock just exceeded $50 a share for the first time, said Moonves, who was given a $22 million signing bonus upon extending his contract last year.
Dealing with such riches, CBS rejected pilots of a “NCIS: Los Angeles” spinoff and a TV remake of “Beverly Hills Cop” backed by Eddie Murphy. Melissa McCarthy’s popular comedy “Mike & Molly” was left off the schedule and stuck in the bullpen, ready to return to plug any holes. CBS ordered 22 episodes of the sitcom.
Williams’ comedy is called “The Crazy Ones,” a reference to his comic style, and is getting a prime Thursday-night time slot after “The Big Bang Theory,” television’s most popular comedy. Among its producers is David E. Kelley.
“We think this is going to be the most talked-about show this fall,” said Nina Tassler, CBS’ entertainment president.
Chuck Lorre, TV’s premiere comedy producer, is behind “Mom,” a new Monday-night sitcom starring Anna Faris as a newly sober single mom with Allison Janney as her estranged mother. “We Are Men” is about four love-challenged single men living in the same apartment complex, with Tony Shalhoub as one of the stars.
CBS’ other new comedy is “The Millers,” with Will Arnett playing a recently divorced man whose plans to enjoy the single life are disrupted when his parents move in.
CBS is also trying something new in drama by ordering two limited-run series for its Monday-night schedule. “Hostages,” produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, stars Toni Collette as a surgeon who is taken hostage the night before she is to operate on the president. After a 15-episode run, it will be replaced by “Intelligence,” about an agent whose smarts are enhanced by a microchip implanted in his brain.
The network is cancelling “CSI: N.Y.,” ”Vegas,” ”Golden Boy” and “Rules of Engagement.”
The drama “Hawaii Five-0” will shift from Monday to Friday nights on the schedule. CBS usually runs drama reruns on Saturday, but next year will also air two comedies that night.
Midseason shows include:
—”Reckless,” a legal drama set in Charleston, S.C., where a Yankee litigator and Southern lawyer have the hots for each other despite being on opposite sides of a long-running case.
—”Friends With Better Lives,” a romantic comedy. Like its title suggests, it focuses on six friends at different stages of their romantic lives, all wondering if their pals have it better.