Bromance is out, romance in. With USA dramedy Psych wrapping its eight-season run this month, star James Roday has set his followup series project, signing on as the male lead of CBS’ single-camera comedy pilot Good Session. …
Former CBS News correspondent Bill McLaughlin died this morning. The diplomatic and foreign correspondent, who headed bureaus in Germany and Lebanon for CBS News in the late 1960s and ‘70s, died from cardiac arrest in a Waterbury, CT hospital. McLaughlin lived in France and was visiting friends in the U.S. at the time of his death. He was 76.
McLaughlin’s television news career spanned 27 years, nearly all of it with CBS News; he left for two years in late 1979 to report for NBC News as its United Nations correspondent. He spent a decade overseas on his CBS news assignments, including the Paris bureau, where he met his wife, the former Huguette Cord’homme, who survives him. He covered the gamut of overseas events, from the Vietnam War, to terrorism to the conflicts in the war-torn Middle East, appearing on the CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite, CBS Radio News and other CBS News broadcasts, including CBS Reports documentaries. From 1983 to 1993, when he left CBS news, he was a State Department correspondent, and general assignment reporter in the Washington Bureau. This job, too, sent him overseas on a regular basis, covering the diplomatic travels of secretaries of state, including George Shultz.
In this week’s podcast, Deadline’s executive editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom look at the big Dish-Disney deal and what it might mean for other media companies and even a possible sports-free online pay-TV service. They also discuss Disney’s continuing headaches with its Interactive unit, whether FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s new rules for local broadcast alliances go far enough and look at the speculation about Carmike, the big exhibitor whose strong quarter fueled speculation that it will be a fat takeover target.
CBS News has named veteran Bill Whitaker a 60 Minutes correspondent, it was announced today by Jeff Fager, the executive producer of the newsmag and the chairman of CBS News. Whitaker, who has been based in Los Angeles, will move to the New York area and begin appearing in the fall on the CBS newsmagazine, which is America’s most-watched news program. The newsmag got nicked in its reputation when Lara Logan took a leave in the wake of the program’s since-discredited story on the Benghazi attacks.
The CBS chief describes Dish Network and Disney’s new programming agreement as “a win-win for both companies.” But it’s still “not quite enough for us,” Les Moonves told the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference today. He likes the fact that Dish chairman Charlie Ergen curtailed the ability of his Hopper DVR to automatically zap ads on ABC shows; the new deal will delay that until three days after a show airs. (CBS and other broadcasters sued Dish saying that the Hopper infringed on their copyrights and violated programming contracts. Dish says the Hopper simply automates the ad skipping that DVR viewers already do with their remote controls.) Moonves also doesn’t mind the terms in the deal with Disney that would enable Dish to carry its channels on an Internet pay TV service, also known as over-the-top. “Everybody’s talking about over the top,” he says. “We’re talking about it with many of the [pay TV distributors] we’re in business with….The current ecosystem works very well, but a new way to get paid for your linear content is a good thing if it’s done appropriately.” He adds that consumers will probably see a online pay TV service “in concert with our partners.” That could include Dish: Moonves says that “our deal with Charlie is up at the end of this year. It’ll be an interesting conversation, as they always are with Charlie.”
CBS and CBS Television Studios have signed three talent holding deals with performers from the CBS’ 9th annual Diversity Comedy Showcase, held on January 22nd and 23rd. One of them, with Upright Citizens Brigade’s Drew Tarver, already resulted in his casting as a lead in CBS’ comedy pilot How I Met Your Dad. The other two comedy performers signed in talent deals are Haneefah Wood, who has appeared in the Broadway productions of Rent, Avenue Q, and Brooklyn; and Nico Santos, a recurring panelist on Chelsea Lately. Additionally, another performer in the showcase, which is open to the community, Chloe Wepper, landed a regular role on the ABC comedy pilot My Thoughts Exactly.
Neil Simon’s classic The Odd Couple is getting closer to a primetime return with a pilot order by CBS to the multi-camera version starring, co-written and executive produced by Matthew Perry. The project, which had a script commitment with penalty, is a new take on two mismatched roommates — the messy Oscar Madison (Perry) and the neat freak Felix Unger. It was written by Perry and Frasier veteran Joe Keenan, the latter replacing original co-writer Danny Jacobson. The Odd Couple pilot hails from CBS TV Studios and two of its top pods, Timberman-Beverly and The Tannenbaum Co. It marks Friends alum Perry’s return to multi-camera comedy after two single-camera shows — ABC’s Mr. Sunshine, which he also co-created, and NBC’s Go On. Simon’s play The Odd Couple premiered on Broadway in 1965 with Walter Matthau as Oscar and Art Carney as Felix and spawned a successful 1968 movie in which Matthau reprised his role alongside Jack Lemmon as Felix, and the 1970 ABC/Paramount TV series in which Oscar was played by Jack Klugman and Felix by Tony Randall. It ran for five seasons.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
As she just marked her 10th year anniversary atop CBS Entertainment, Nina Tassler has been promoted to Chairman of CBS Entertainment and has signed a new contract that will keep her at the network through 2017. Tassler continues to report to her long-time boss, CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves.
Tassler oversees CBS’ entertainment programming across primetime, daytime and late night, and the promotion reflects the success the network has had on her watch. CBS has been the most watched network for 10 of the last 11 years, with Tassler adding such series to the primetime lineup as comedy hits The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, critical darling The Good Wife, strong procedurals Person Of Interest, Blue Bloods and Elementary – all sold in syndication — and Emmy-winning reality show Undercover Boss. Tassler also landed an elusive summer scripted series hit last year with Under The Dome, something the broadcast networks have struggled to do for two decades. She recently guided CBS’ re-entry into the long-form arena with a new programming unit and a green light for miniseries The Dovekeepers. Additionally, the network’s daytime lineup, where Tassler introduced The Talk and Let’s Make a Deal, has done very well, setting all time highs this season. “Nina’s creative instincts, programming savvy and leadership skills have helped form a hit-making machine that has fueled the Network’s success and benefited the Company’s bottom line,” said Moonves.