CBS kept the tradition of renewing most of its slate in one fell swoop. Demonstrating its signature stability, the network has picked up most of its current series for next season, with two major exceptions: veteran …
CBS Renews ‘Elementary’, ‘The Good Wife’, ‘Blue Bloods’, ‘NCIS: LA’, ‘POI’, ‘Mentalist’, ’2 Broke Girls’, ‘Mike & Molly’, ‘Hawaii’
CBS is going for only minor tweaks to its schedule in midseason, filling the holes left by cancelled freshmen Made In Jersey and Partners with new drama Golden Boy and veteran comedy Rules Of Engagement, respectively.
The network is keeping the crime 9-11 PM block on Friday, anchored by Blue Bloods at 10 PM, with midseason cop drama Golden Boy taking over the 9 PM slot March 8, following the February 22 season finale of veteran CSI: NY, which had a shorter, 17-episode order. Acknowledging how challenging it is to launch a new drama on Friday, CBS is trying to give Golden Boy a running start by airing its first episodes in the Tuesday 10 PM slot following originals of NCIS and NCIS: LA and pre-empting freshman Vegas. Golden Boy, executive produced by Greg Berlanti and Nicholas Wootton, is about the meteoric rise of an ambitious cop (Theo James) who becomes the youngest police commissioner in the history of New York City. Coincidentally, Blue Bloods stars Tom Selleck as the New York Police commissioner, with Len Cariou as his father, the retired NY police commissioner. CBS has not been able to successfully launch a new drama in the Friday 9 PM slot since CSI 12 years ago. Reality series Undercover Boss is staying put in the Friday 8 PM hour. I hear the network may also use the slot to try new unscripted series. CBS has a couple on tap, including The Job.
EXCLUSIVE: His CBS sitcom Rules Of Engagement has been an unsung hero for the network, an utility player the network calls upon when a time slot is in trouble. With the show safely in syndication and possibly heading into its final season on CBS, the network is making sure it is staying in business with Tom Hertz. In a competitive situation, CBS has landed a new relationship multi-camera comedy project from him with a put pilot commitment. Like Rules, its is being produced by Sony Pictures TV and Happy Madison.
The untitled project is based on Hertz’s early relationship with his wife and centers on a young couple that meets and moves in together very quickly and then has to navigate their very different ways of looking at life. Hertz is writing and will executive produce with Happy Madison’s Doug Robinson.
Tom Hertz is the creator and showrunner of the CBS sitcom Rules of Engagement which will be filming its 100th episode in its upcoming seventh season. Before Rules, Hertz created Married to the Kellys for ABC which was based on his marriage and his wife’s family. Hertz also served as showrunner on Spin City and King of Queens and was on the writing staff of HBO’s The Larry Sanders Show and Dennis Miller Live, for which he won an Emmy Award in 1996. We asked Hertz to give us his thoughts on sitcoms today. Hertz had a better idea: A transcript of his phone conversation with his talent manager.
TOM HERTZ: (into phone): Hello.
HERTZ REP: Hey there. How’s everything going?
TH: Fine. You know, just a regular life.
HR: Great. Well, I think I have an opportunity for you.
HR: No, this is good. They’re doing a Deadline Hollywood Emmy issue, a print thing, and they’d like you to write something for it.
TH: Why? What am I writing about?
The renewal of CBS‘ long-running sitcom Rules Of Engagement is going down to the wire. Less that 24 hours before CBS’ upfront presentation tomorrow, the network and Rules producer Sony Pictures TV continue to be deep in negotiations on a pickup. The two sides are still going back-and-forth on a number of issues, including the size of a potential seventh-season order, but there appears to be a will on both parts to make it happen. The show needs 13 episodes to get to the 100-episode mark. CBS only ordered two new comedy series for next season, so, as this season proved, having a reliable performer like Rules on the bench could come in handy.
CBS Unveils 2011-12 Schedule
After branding last year’s schedule overhaul as “aggressive stability” last May, CBS scheduling guru Kelly Kahl described the changes this year as “dynamic stability.” They include launching a new series in the Thursday 9 PM slot, the J.J. Abrams/Jonah Nolan drama Person of Interest; moving The Good Wife to Sunday and Rules of Engagement to Saturday; and trying again to launch a new show, medical drama A Gifted Man, in the Friday 8 PM slot. (I’m sure the producers of Chaos are calling their colleagues on the A Gifted Man this morning saying, “Good luck with that!”)
Addressing the network’s biggest move, putting the Jim Caviezel/Michael Emerson-starring Person of Interest in the Thursday 9 PM slot, Kahl said, “To do that you have to have the big guns, and we do. Now we have stability at 8 and 10 PM and a great upside in the middle.” CSI will move to the Wednesday 10 PM slot, longtime home of spinoff CSI: NY until it was shifted to Friday in the shakeup last May. “We hope to get some stability at 10 PM,” Kahl said. I felt that removing the darker CSI: NY from the slot following the gruesome Criminal Minds in favor of the lightweight The Defenders was a mistake, so this in a way to correct that. I’m also happy to see The Good Wife taken away from the Tuesday 10 PM slot where its audience was cannibalized by ABC’s Body of Proof and especially Parenthood. The problem is that The Good Wife is moving to the Sunday 9 PM slot for a “battle of the wives”: The Good Wife vs. Desperate Housewives. CBS scheduled a pure procedural, new series Unforgettable, to follow NCIS and NCIS: LA (“We through we could do better,” CBS brass say). And, with The Good Wife joining the Sunday lineup of 60 Minutes and The Amazing Race, CBS now calls Sunday “our prestige night.” (There probably should be an asterisk next to that as CSI: Miami still airs on the night at 10 PM.)
He’s done it again! Escape artist CHUCK, which has successfully cheated cancellation for the past two years, will be coming back to fight again next season. I hear a deal is being finalized for a 13-episode order to the NBC spy dramedy. (The other Warner Bros.-produced, yet-to-be-renewed NBC series, David E. Kelley’s HARRY’s LAW, has long been considered a good bet to return). It is unclear what CHUCK‘s renewal bodes for NBC’s other big bubble Monday show, LAW & ORDER: LA. After getting a rare second chance with a complete reboot that has largely failed, it is unclear what more NBC can do with the show. But as they say, never bet against Dick Wolf. PARENTHOOD, which has done solid business in its Tuesday 10 PM slot, is expected to return, while THE EVENT is not. Also probably out is comedy OUTSOURCED despite a fan campaign to save the workplace show.
Last year, CBS went for a bloodbath, canceling seven series, including some decent performers like The Ghost Whisperer and The New Adventures of Old Christine. The network, which is yet to find a series that does as well as Ghost Whisperer in the Friday 8 PM slot, is not expected to go for such a dramatic overhaul this year. I hear a deal is almost done for RULES OF ENGAGEMENT to be renewed as CBS seems to be summoning all of its veteran comedies as flagship Two and a Half Men faces an uncertain future. There is even talk about possibly bringing $#*! MY DAD SAYS sans star Jonathan Sadowski. Even long-forgotten legal dramedy THE DEFENDERS is not completely dead. As one insider noted, the show starring Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell did better than any other CBS series in the Friday 8 PM season this season. Things don’t look good for midseason comedy MAD LOVE, though CBS brass loooove Jason Biggs, while CBS’ other midseason entry, crime drama spinoff CRIMINAL MINDS: SUSPECT BEHAVIOR, is at 50/50 as its performances has been largely disappointing given its pedigree. As for CSI: MIAMI and CSI: NY, word is that the entire CSI franchise, a big off-network and international seller, is safe for next season.