CBS’ Nina Tassler Promoted To Chairman, Extends Contract Through 2017

By | Thursday February 20, 2014 @ 9:15am PST
Nellie Andreeva

tasslerAs 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. Read More »

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CBS’ Nina Tassler: “Pilot Season Is Not Perfect But Works For Us”

By | Wednesday January 15, 2014 @ 9:57am PST
Nellie Andreeva

TCA CBS is the network that probably closest adheres to tradition both in the development process and scheduling, rolling virtually its entire fall lineup during premiere week. So it is not surprising that CBS is not running to jump in with Fox in discarding pilot season. “Pilot season isn’t perfect; it certainly is a very difficult time, frustrating but it is also exciting,” CBS’ Nina Tassler TCANinaTasslersaid this morning during the network’s TCA session in response to Fox chairman Kevin Reilly’s announcement Monday that the network will bypass pilot season going forward. Tassler quoted a study about how working under pressure in great time constraints with a sense of urgency creates a creative adrenaline that is very productive. She also brought up success pilot stories like The Big Bang Theory and CSI, though she talked about the benefits of doing a pilot — like was the case with Big Bang – reworked and recast after the pilot came in a little rough. That is actually an argument Reilly used in his pitch for dumping the pressure-cooker pilot season for a model where promising butcbs-logo__120711164808__121116195436__130108233101__130716162250__130926192712 imperfect pilots and new series are given more time for course-correction through tweaking and recasting. “Pilot season does work for us, it’s not perfect,” Tassler said. “You cannot make those broad generalizations (about abandoning pilot season). Maybe for them (Fox) it is challenging, but for us it is part of the process that works.” Like Fox, CBS has been mixing things up with direct-to-series orders, like last summer’s breakout Under The Dome, which was ordered off scripts and a bible, and the upcoming Extant and Battle Creek.

Related: Fox’s Abolishment Of Pilot Season: Practical Guide To How Will It Work

Tassler also defended the serialized, limited-run-style dramas despite complaints about Under The Dome’s creative direction and the soft ratings performance of Hostages. “When a show does not for whatever reason take off, you can’t (blame it on the form),” Tassler said. “We felt there were a lot of great elements to (Hostages), I think we had a terrific cast, all really well done… Monday night is a tough night all around, it’s difficult to give an absolute answer.”

Related: TCA: CBS Set Premiere Dates For ‘Extant’ & ‘Under The Dome’ Read More »

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Artios Awards: ‘Argo’, ‘House Of Cards’ Among Casting Winners

By | Tuesday November 19, 2013 @ 6:15am PST

The Casting Society of America’s 29th annual Artios Awards celebrating outstanding achievement in casting were handed out last night in simultaneous ceremonies in LA and NY. On the West Coast, CBS Entertainment boss Nina Tassler received the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award and Linda Lowy the Hoyt Bowers Awards, while Michael J Fox was given the New York Apple Award. Here are this year’s winners in categories covering film, TV and stage:

Related: Casting Society Unveils Artios Nominees

2013 ARTIOS AWARDS WINNERS

Big Budget Feature – Comedy
“Silver Linings Playbook,” Mary Vernieu, Lindsay Graham, Diane Heery (Location Casting), Jason Loftus (Location Casting)

Big Budget Feature – Drama
“Argo,” Lora Kennedy

Feature – Studio or Independent – Comedy
“Moonrise Kingdom,” Douglas Aibel, Henry Russell Bergstein (Associate) Read More »

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Casting Society To Honor Nina Tassler, Michael J. Fox

By | Tuesday September 10, 2013 @ 11:00am PDT

The Casting Society of America will present its Career Achievement Award to CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler during its 29th annual Artios Awards, set for November 18 at ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York. The CSA also … Read More »

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TCA: CBS CEO Leslie Moonves Stepping In For Entertainment President Nina Tassler At Tour

By | Sunday July 28, 2013 @ 9:49pm PDT

CBS sent out word to TV Critics Association members tonight that its entertainment president Nina Tassler has had to cancel Monday’s scheduled appearance at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013, owing to the death of a close friend.Read More »

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CBS’ Nina Tassler: TV Violence Conversation Shouldn’t “Devolve Into Discussion Of One Show Vs. The Other” – TCA

By | Saturday January 12, 2013 @ 11:10am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Violence on TV has been a major topic during the current TCA press tour, and along with references to the recent massacres in Aurora and Newtown, the discussion frequently included CBS‘ dark and violent serial killer procedural … Read More »

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CBS’ Nina Tassler On Pending ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Renewal, Jennifer Esposito’s ‘Blue Bloods’ Exit: TCA

By | Saturday January 12, 2013 @ 10:32am PST
Nellie Andreeva

No doubt CBS would’ve liked to announce a ninth season renewal for How I Met Your Mother at TCA today but it didn’t as the network and producer 20th Century Fox TV are still haggling over some license fee deal points. (The pacts with creators/showrunners Craig Thomas and Carter Bays and the cast, including Jason Segel are done.) Things are very close. “I will be happy to report in a very few days (a renewal),” CBS’ Nina Tassler said. “I’m confident and excited that all will be resolved. Almost everything is completed.” As for where the show will go next season story-wise, “(Bays and Thomas) had two CBSplans in place — if they had to resolve this year and or if they came back next year,” Tassler said after the session. “So we’ll sit down and talk to them in about a month about their plans for next year.” She assured that “this would be the end as designed by Carter and Craig.

Tassler was asked about the network’s reputation of being tough on actors on procedural dramas in light of the recent decision to sideline and eventually drop Jennifer Esposito from Blue Bloods. “Oh, I don’t think we are tougher on our actors,” she said. “We employ them for many, many years. In a situation like this we are sorry to see her go, we tried to resolve it, it didn’t quite work out and we wish her the best.”

Related: CBS’ Nina Tassler: TV Violence Conversation Shouldn’t “Devolve Into Discussion Of One Show Vs. The Other”

CBS gave a rare “shout out” to veteran Rules Of Engagement, which has been used to successfully plug holes on the schedule for most of its run, summoned to do it again this midseason on Mondays where it will replace cancelled Partners. “A show that serves us well, it is the best utility warrior on television.”

Asked whether there is a point where CBS would ask 2 Broke Girls executive producer Michael Patrick King to curb the racy content on the show, Tassler said, “I say to Michael as long as you keep us laughing, and as long as we vet stuff through standards and practices, we’re good. It’s an adult comedy. People enjoy it.”

Tassler spent a long time talking about summer series Under The Dome, a Steven Spielberg-produced adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, which was originally developed for sibling pay cable network Showtime. Read More »

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CBS’ Nina Tassler Skewers Rivals, Says She’s “Optimistic” About ‘HIMYM’ Renewal

By | Sunday July 29, 2012 @ 10:48am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

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.

Related: CBS’ ‘Vegas’ Vs. ‘Elementary’ And What Makes A Procedural: TCA

“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.”

Related: CBS Keeps ‘Elementary’s “Secrets” But Teases Moriarty: TCA

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. Read More »

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CBS In ‘Early Conversations’ For More ‘Two & Half Men’, Nina Tassler On Future Of ‘CSI’ And ’2 Broke Girls’ Vagina Jokes: TCA

By | Wednesday January 11, 2012 @ 11:45am PST
Nellie Andreeva

For a third consecutive spring, the future of Two And A Half Men will be a top priority for CBS brass. Two years ago, the goal was to re-sign star Charlie Sheen; last year, it was finding a way to … Read More »

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HRTS: Broadcast Network Chiefs Reflect On ‘Crazy’ Pitch Season

Nellie Andreeva

We are at the tail end of a TV selling season that saw more bidding wars and production and put pilot commitments than I can remember, and that isn’t lost on the broadcast entertainment presidents. Survivor‘s Jeff Probst opened the discussion at the annual Hollywood Radio & Television Society network chiefs luncheon today by sharing that during his lunch with the executives before they took the stage, everyone was complaining about how crazy and out of whack this pitch season has been. Fox’s Kevin Reilly, who spoke his mind more than anyone else on the panel, quickly jumped in. “(NBC) got cash, (ABC) got competitive against that cash, and we took the bait,” is how Reilly summed up this year’s marketplace. “We all think we were played a little bit. Agents are doing very well this year as a result.” Reilly’s counterparts mostly agreed, though their responses were more measured. “It’s been very, very frantic this year,” CBS’ Nina Tassler said. She blamed media coverage for the increased intensity of the pitch season. “Every single thing that happens is now being reported, from a pitch to speculation on the terms of a deal, and that does absolutely impact the business.” Added NBC’s Jennifer Salke: “I get the email about a media inquiry while the producer is still in the parking lot. That adds to the frenzy.” But it wasn’t all bad this buying season, ABC’s Paul Lee said. “There was also a rush of new energy, with a lot of new people and new ideas; there was lot of ambition in the projects coming in,” he said. Read More »

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TCA: Nina Tassler On Charlie Sheen Fiasco, Ashton Kutcher, ‘CSI’ & ‘Minds’ Spinoff

Nellie Andreeva

CBS Reveals Ashton Kutcher’s ‘Men’ Character’s Name And Background
During TCA’s CBS executive session, the network’s entertainment president Nina Tassler was asked about lessons the network has learned from the  Charlie Sheen debacle that culminated in his public firing. “Oh, where do I begin…,” she said. “What we learned is that we have an extraordinary cast — I was at the table red on Monday — we have extraordinary writers and actors, and there is a great value in hiring an actor like Ashton Kutcher, a talented, funny, gifted actor coming in with tremendous commitment and enthusiasm. What you learn is that the show is brilliantly written, extraordinary produced and you have the opportunity to move forward to create this exciting new character and do a great show.” She later added that Men will be as “smart, irreverent and risque” as it’s ever been. “Standards and Practices is already on high alert.” After the session, Tassler was asked to elaborate on her line from the Q&A that “you could cut the air with a knife” at the Monday table read. “The anticipation was great,” she said. “Hearing an actor utter the first line was a relief.” She also revealed that Men co-creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre opened the table read with what she described as “touching speech.” Read More »

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TCA: CBS Reveals Ashton Kutcher’s ‘Men’ Character’s Name & Background

By | Wednesday August 3, 2011 @ 9:15am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

At CBS’ executive session, entertainment president Nina Tassler revealed the name of Ashton Kutcher’s character on Two and a Half Men - Walden Schmidt. He is an “Internet billionaire with a broken heart.” She also confirmed … Read More »

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New ‘Two And A Half Men’ Star Ashton Kutcher Introduced At CBS’ Upfront

Nellie Andreeva

“Deep cleansing breath,” CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler said at CBS’ presentation after a very carefully edited clip from Two and a Half Men that featured no trace of former star Charlie Sheen. “It has been a hectic few months for us,” she said. “Just last week, thanks to our new cast member’s tweet, we found out what the square root of 6.25 is,” she said, referring to Ashton Kutcher’s tweet shortly after news of his deal for Men leaked. “We could not be happier to have actor, producer and social-media mogul Ashton Kutcher joining TV’s No. 1 comedy for the past five years. Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time together, the new cast of Two and a Half Men.” Kutcher, joined by co-stars Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones, walked onstage, all grooving to the theme song of the show. Kutcher looked genuinely happy and came across as likable as he gave unscripted remarks. “It’s awesome, it’s unbelievable to be here,” he said, adding that never in his 13-year career had he received so many congratulatory calls and emails. “You’d almost think I won the lotto … which I kinda did,” he said to laughs. “I got the best job in show business and I’m ecstatic.” Read More »

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Upfronts: CBS Says It Covers All Ad Bases

By | Wednesday May 18, 2011 @ 2:01pm PDT

CBS executives tried to have it all in their upfront presentation today, telling advertisers that the network effectively reaches a mass audience, young adults and fans of digital media. CEO Les Moonves said that “the economy continues to rebound” and … Read More »

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‘Law & Order: SVU’ Showrunner Neal Baer Signs Big Overall Deal With CBS TV Studios

By | Tuesday November 23, 2010 @ 5:30pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

After 16 years at NBC – 5 on ER and 11 on Law & Order: SVU – Neal Baer is heading to CBS. In a competitive situation, Baer has signed a three-year overall deal with CBS Television Studios. The pact, said to be in the high-seven figures, includes development as well as showrunner services. It starts on June 2, a day after Baer’s contract on SVU expires. Baer has been the executive producer/showrunner on SVU since the series’ second season. With him departing and the deals of stars Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni up at the end of this season, the future of the veteran NBC crime drama is in limbo. Read More »

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CBS Gives Full-Season Orders To All 5 Freshman Series: ‘Hawaii Five-0′, ‘Blue Bloods’, ‘Defenders’, ‘Mike & Molly’ & ‘$#*!’

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE: I hear the orders to $#*! and The Defenders are for 6 additional episodes and 3 scripts, while the 9-episode back order to Mike & Molly may be expanded to 11.

PREVIOUS: CBS is not monkeying around, handing out today full-season orders to all of its freshman series: dramas Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods, dramedy The Defenders and comedies Mike & Molly and $#*! My Dad Says. No big surprise here given the fact that those happen to be the five most-watched new series of the season and 3 of them, HawaiiMike & Molly and $#*! also rank as the top three new series in adults 18-49. The solid showing by the five freshmen helped CBS win the opening 4 weeks of the season for the first time. ”Everything has clicked so far this year—from development in January, to scheduling in May, to production over the summer, to marketing and publicity in the fall,” CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler said. Hawaii is averaging 14.2 million viewers and a 4.1/11 in 18-49 and also ranks as the most DVR’d TV program, adding some 3.4 million viewers Read More »

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‘Glee’ & ‘Modern Family’ Win Humanitas Prizes, CBS’ Nina Tassler Gets Roasted

By | Thursday September 16, 2010 @ 3:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Feature Precious, series Glee, Modern Family, The Good Wife and Nurse Jackie and movie Temple Grandin were among the winners at the 36th Humanitas Prizes awarded today at a luncheon in Beverly Hills. The monetary prizes recognize writers whose work “entertain, engage and enrich the viewing public.” Geoffrey Fletcher won the feature film category for Precious, competing in a field that included Oscar winner The Hurt Locker. Read More »

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Showrunner Ken Sanzel Exits ‘Blue Bloods’ After Creative Tension With Tom Selleck

EXCLUSIVE: I learned this morning that Tom Selleck hasn’t been accepting the scripts which CBS’ Blue Bloods executive producer Ken Sanzel has been giving him. So a standoff developed over character vs procedural visions for the series, summarized to me as “creative tension”. By midday, Sanzel was still staying with the show. No more. Insiders just emailed me that the former New York cop told the staff late today that he is leaving. There’s no exit date yet. “He’s a stand-up guy; he won’t leave the network or studio hanging,” a network source explains. “Simply creative differences. It happens. He was brought in after the pilot as a showrunner to set the show up. We often do this for pilots picked up to series that have great writers but who haven’t run shows before.” Now, to replace Sanzel, Selleck wants to find ”his guy” who must also meet with studio/network approval. Unfortunately this turmoil is especially embarrassing because it’s executive produced by Leonard Goldberg, a CBS Corporation board member.

Sanzel, a longtime Numb3rs showrunner, was handpicked by CBS and CBS Studios to executive produce with creators Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green, who continue with the show. ”Ken is a real take-charge tough guy and everyone knows it. They begged  him to take the show. He was reluctant to do it. And Selleck was not crazy to have Ken imposed on hm. But Ken was doing the network bidding thanklessly,” an insider tells me. Sanzel’s vision was for a compelling crime procedural, whereas Selleck wanted softer character exploration. Sanzel knew the network was behind him. But Selleck wanted to be in charge of the show.  “Too many cooks,” one of my insiders explains. “They love him at CBS. But Selleck realized it’s not the show he thought he was in. Ken calls Nina Tassler and says, ‘What do you want to do?’ And she says, ‘Let me talk to Tom.’” Today, it became clear to me it was just a matter of hours before Sanzel left the show. ”Not bail on them in one day. Just saunter off peacefully,” a source tells me. “If we were to count up every single show where there’s creative friction between actors and producers, we’d have a number like the census bureau.” Read More »

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TCA: Networks Answer Diversity Questions

By | Sunday August 1, 2010 @ 3:21pm PDT

Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

At this 2010 TCA, the issue of depicting diversity on shows has become a key talking point as the broadcast networks present their new programming to the media. First, it was CBS’ Nina Tassler admitting she was disappointed with her outlet’s track record” on depicting gay and … Read More »

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