CBS is known to take shots at its competitors, and the network’s entertainment president Nina Tassler came out swinging this morning. She walked out on stage for the CBS TCA executive session carrying a plush monkey, a jab at NBC, which brought in the monkey from its new comedy series Animal Practice to its TCA presentation and party, where she shared the lion’s share of attention with fellow guest Sarah Palin.
“It’s been a TCA full of cell phone announcements from the stage, monkeys, Sarah Palin, renegotiations. I couldn’t resist,” Tassler said of the TCA events from this past week that also included Fox Entertainment president calling new American Idol judge Mariah Carey during Fox’s executive session. While boasting about CBS’ ratings success (the network finished again as the most watched network and No. 2 in 18-49 to Fox this past season), Tassler took issue with another comment from Reilly who said on Monday that Fox’s reign as the top network among adults 18-49 may come to an end next season when CBS has the Super Bowl and AFC Championship Game. “According to Kevin Reilly ‑‑ thank you, Kevin ‑‑ we’ve just been awarded the 18‑49 crown for next year. Thanks, Kevin, but I think we’ll try to earn it before we claim it.”
Tassler confirmed that the network is in talks with 20th Century Fox TV and creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas for a ninth season of veteran comedy How I Met Your Mother. (Tassler’s “pet monkey” wore a HIMYM tie too!) “The show had an incredible year last year,” Tassler said. “We’re having conversations right now about extending it, we want the show to come back next year. We’re still in early conversations, we’re not there yet in terms of resolving the situation, but we’re pretty optimistic.” Talks for a potential Season 9 are starting early because of the concept of HIMYM, which will lead to the reveal of who the mother is, so planning for a final season has to start way in advance. “Craig and Carter have a very strategic wrapup for the show,” Tassler said.
Asked why CBS is sticking to a traditional fall rollup during premiere week while other networks are shying away from it, Tassler said, “It works for us, we like premiere week, we like the excitement and the energy and promotional machine that leads up to fall… We launch that way because it works and the audience expects it.”
Tassler declined to comment on the ongoing lawsuit against ABC’s Big Brother-esque reality series Glass House but said, “The message that needs to be communicated is that we’re incredibly protective of our brands and the creative infrastructure of the shows themselves.”
Tassler also was asked about the origins of its contemporary Sherlock Holmes drama Elementary after Sherlock writer Stephen Moffat implied that the network commissioned that script after the creators of the BBC turned down its request for the rights of their show. “Rob Doherty came in and pitched it. He came in from the studio,” Tassler said. “I had no conversations with the studio about it, until they walked in with the pitch.”
After the panel, Tassler was asked about former Two And A Half Men star Charlie Sheen’s new series Anger Management. “Not my cup of tee,” is all she said.
After the session, Tassler also said that CBS will not follow the other networks that all have serialized shows on the air, instead sticking to CBS’ brand of procedurals where serialization is “an element”, not the driver. She also reaffirmed the network’s commitment to single-camera comedy despite not having one on the air, pointing to the recently ordered Rob Greenbreg off-cycle pilot Ex-Men.
As for drama Unforgettable, which was renewed for next summer after getting cancelled in May, its action will move from Queens to Manhattan in Season 2. While only Poppy Montgomery, Dylan Walsh and Jane Curtin are officially coming back, Kevin Rankin may also return in some capacity, reprising his role as Roe Saunders.
Another show set in a New York borough, Two Broke Girls, will also have a change in its setup as its leads, Max and Caroline will finally launch the cupcake business they have been planning (without help from Martha Stewart.)
TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.