Fresno Bee TV critic Rick Bentley is in Los Angeles at the summer TV critics tour. These are his early reports.
Nina Tassler, the Chairman of CBS Entertainment, has some big issues to deal with including changes in both of the network’s late-night programs, the launch of NFL games on Thursday night and a viewership that continues to skew old. It’s easy to face such issues when you are coming off another season as America’s most-watched network. If you are keeping tabs, that’s 11 times in 12 years.
Here’s what Tassler has to say about some of the issues she’s facing with the network:
Why programs like “Friends with Better Lives” and “Bad Teacher” only got a short window to prove their worth: “Every season we have shows that work and shows that don’t work, shows that get traction, others that don’t. And if we didn’t have that cycle, it wouldn’t create opportunity for other shows to get on the air. It’s a part of our ecosystem. Some shows take off, and some don’t.”
On the status of contracts for the big five on the “Big Bang Theory?”: “I just love being able to answer these questions year after year primarily because we have successful shows. And when you have successful shows, you have renegotiations. We’re feeling very confident that everything will work out. These deals manage to get done somehow miraculously year after year.”
Why multi-camera sitcoms work on CBS when they don’t on the other networks: “The reality for us is, is we have got a great track record with multi-cams. They’re definitely harder to do. But for us,the emphasis on being able to craft and score with hard jokes, which really is a part of the format of a multi-cam, we are particularly good at it. And we’re actually — I think we have a very keen ability to identify those talents who can really deliver that kind of comedy.”
Regarding the changes on late-night: “We’re discussing all of the timetable right now. We’re going to be having meetings probably early August to just begin having conversations internally about scheduling for the 11:30 show. The preliminary conversations with Stephen, he’s still very busy, he’s got his show on Comedy Central. And regarding 12:30, it’s really interesting. We’re looking at it through a very different lens. We’re trying to look at the entire landscape. We’re also looking in terms of formats.”
On the older audience that watches CBS: “We’re in a transitional phase. If we’re only going to talk about 18-49, I’m might as well just get up off my chair and turn my television manually. It can only be a part of the story. It’s a much bigger playing field. There are many more metrics. There are many more standards by which we are measured. So the definition of success is changing, it’s evolving. And I think the 18-49 is literally just a part of the conversation.”