Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment, has plenty to brag about at the annual Television Critics Association summer tour. Her’s is the most watch network with shows like “NCIS,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Amazing Race.” Things have gone so well, the network will only launch four new shows in the fall — “Partners,” ‘Vegas,” “Made in Jersey” and “Elementary.” Three of those new shows have strong potential to be around for a second season.
CBS also picked up 60 Emmy nominations this year, up from 50 last year. That’s amazing considering how strong cable programs have become with the TV awards.
The most interesting thing is what Tassler isn’t saying. This is the first press tour in years that “Two and a Half Men” isn’t a major point of conversation.
In other words, news from CBS is rather light. Here are a few highlights:
On cancelation of “CSI: Miami” over “CSI: New York”: “Saying good-bye to a ‘CSI (Miami)” this year was a very big deal. That show has been extraordinarily successful for us. It was a jump ball. What we looked at was Friday night versus Sunday night. We looked at the flow on Friday night for ‘New York’ versus ‘Miami.’ So it was a very tough choice.”
On low ratings of summer reality show “3″: “It was a show we tried, we were excited about. It didn’t quite get traction. I think overall the summer has been a little bit soft for everybody. For us, we usually have a steady diet of repeats and reality, which is still good business for us. Even with repeats being a little bit softer, it’s still, for us, a real profit center for the company. I think reality is challenging and intriguing in so many ways. You’re obviously looking for a headline. You’re looking for something to get people talking.”
On the role of social media: ” I think for us social media has been an extraordinary experience. It’s given us insight and a window into sort of cultural and social topics, ideas to watch how topics are trending real time. To see what has really stimulated a social conversation has given us great information that we can use in the body of the shows themselves. For example, we had there’s a promo clip that you’re going to see on ‘Big Brother’ where Ashley and Ian are being tied to the Sheldon and Penny of reality television. That was generated by a tweet that came from one of our fans.”
On bringing back “Unforgettable” next summer: “When you think about that there was only one other show more highly rated that ‘Unforgettable’ at the time, which was ‘Castle,’ it was a really tough decision. We had a very strong schedule. We had very strong pilots going in. And we had very strong research on the show. So we did not want to let it go. We saw this as a window of opportunity to put the show on for next season and we jumped at it.