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CBS, The No. 1 Network, Fills Its Few Holes


Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar in The Crazy Ones.

At ABC’s upfront on Tuesday, Jimmy Kimmel called CBS “smug motherfuckers.” Wednesday morning, Leslie Moonves (the president and CEO of CBS Corp.), entertainment president Nina Tassler, and head of scheduling Kelly Kahl, embraced their roles.

“Jimmy, ABC is still going to finish fourth in 18 to 49,” said Moonves. Later, in reference to the other networks talking about platforms other than TV itself, he said, “Anybody who talks to you for 20 minutes about being ‘multi-platform’ doesn’t have anything to sell you.”

CBS is the No. 1 network in viewers, and this season, it will win among 18 to 49 year-olds as well. At one point during the network’s annual breakfast with the press Wednesday, Kahl noted that he realized he’s talking more about 18 to 49 than he ever has: In previous years, CBS has downplayed the importance of advertisers’ favored demographic, and instead pushed total viewers and 25 to 54. Now that CBS is winning, though, 18 to 49 it is!

In big scheduling moves, Person of Interest will move to Tuesdays at 10; Hawaii Five-0 to Fridays at 9; and Mike & Molly is being held for midseason (but did get a 22-episode order).

As with the other networks this upfront, one of CBS’ big themes was fewer repeats throughout the season. To achieve that, the serialized Hostages will run straight through January, at which point the equally serialized Intelligence will take over its spot on Mondays at 10.

CBS has such a stable schedule that it just doesn’t need that many new shows: Here, the network has picked up five new comedies (two single camera, three multi camera), and three new dramas.

As for the comedy splurge, CBS’ one attempt at a half-hour this past season, Partners, didn’t work at all. With How I Met Your Mother going into its last year, the network clearly wants to find a new hit or two.

Behold, the CBS pick-ups below.

3. We Are Men (Mondays at 8:30 p.m.)

Who’s in it?: Chris Smith, Kal Penn (he’s back from the White House in real life), Tony Shalhoub and Jerry O’Connell
Who made it?: Rob Greenberg (creator), Eric and Kim Tannenbaum
What’s it about?: I’m sorry I’m quoting a lot of log-lines here, but I don’t have a lot to go on: “A young guy finds camaraderie living among the more experienced guys he meets in a short-term rental complex.”
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: I appreciate and respect the CBS comedy brand; it’s so hard to do what the network has done in creating hugely successful comedies that stand alone and in blocks. Yet: I am who I am, and I like what I like. There’s no right and wrong here. People love different things! Etc. This is all to say that what I imagine this show’s viewpoint on humanity to be makes me want to leave Earth. Just awful and repulsive. That’s OK! Maybe there are people who will love this show. (Restraining order in Aisle 7, please!)

5. Mom (Mondays at 9:30 p.m.)

Who’s in it?: Anna Faris and Allison Janney
Who made it?: Chuck Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky, and Gemma Baker
What’s it about?: A multi-camera comedy about a “newly sober single mom tries to pull her life together in Napa Valley.”
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: I laughed at the beginning of this trailer when Anna Faris is crying while waiting on people. And in an effort not to be negative about the majority of comedies coming to the networks in the fall, I will leave it there. (I like both actresses. I don’t want to condemn this show.)

7. Hostages (Mondays at 10 p.m.)

Who’s in it?: Toni Collette, Dylan McDermott, and Tate Donovan
Who made it?: Jeffrey Nachmanoff, Rick Eid, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, Omri Givon, Rotem Shamir, and Chayim Sharir
What’s it about?: A conspiracy thriller based on an Israeli format. McDermott plays an FBI agent, and Collette plays a surgeon whose family is taken hostage.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: I feared that the first season of American Horror Story might have turned me against Dylan McDermott forever; I began to find him so unlikeable. This show looks sort of crazy, but it’s ambitious, and — well, Toni Collette is in it. Let’s see the pilot.

9. The Millers (Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.)

Who’s in it?: Will Arnett, Margo Martindale, J.B. Smoove, Beau Bridges
Who made it?: Greg Garcia, with the pilot directed by James Burrows
What’s it about?: A multi-camera comedy about a divorced man whose parents begin to have marital problems also.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: Fart jokes. Not my thing. Some people like them. These actors are all talented, and maybe this show will appeal to people. Probably not to me.

11. The Crazy Ones (Thursdays at 9 p.m.)

Who’s in it?: Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar
Who made it?: David E. Kelley, Dean Lorey, Bill D’Elia, John R. Montgomery, Mark Teitelbaum
What’s it about?: Williams and Gellar play a father and daughter in a single-camera comedy about advertising. Not to alarm anyone, but I fear that Robin Williams performing written material by David E. Kelley might cause the world to explode. Please, Buffy, save us.
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: Robin Williams coming back to TV is a big deal. I’m a huge Sarah Michelle Gellar fan. I’m less of a David E. Kelley person, though that hasn’t always been the case. I was pretty distracted by the product placement here? “Placement” is too light a word: product anvil. And then Kelly Clarkson’s strangely pivotal role in things. In summary! It all seemed so odd, that I really don’t think I can judge anything based on the cutdown.

13. Intelligence: Midseason (Mondays at 10 p.m.)

Who’s in it?: Josh Holloway (Sawyer!), Marg Helgenberger (Catherine!), and Meghan Ory (person whose name I don’t recognize, but I guess was Red Riding Hood on Once Upon a Time!)
Who made it?: Michael Seitzman, David Semel, Tripp Vinson, Rene Echevarria
What’s it about?: Here’s part of the logline of this show, describing an agent at U.S. Cyber Command, who has “a microchip that has been implanted in his brain that allows him to access the entire electromagnetic spectrum.” Here’s me going: What? That’s OK. I’ll get it eventually. Sawyer! Catherine!
Now that we’ve seen the trailer: Haven’t we all been waiting for Josh Holloway to be a star, of either the television or film persuasion? (Or both?) He could make this fun. Also: good haircut.

15. Friends With Better Lives: Midseason, Not Yet Scheduled

David Livingston / Getty Images

Who’s in it?: Kevin Connolly, James Van Der Beek, Brooklyn Decker, Rick Donald, Zoe Lister Jones, and Majandra Delfino
Who made it?: Dana Klein, Aaron Kaplan, Rick Donald, Zoe Lister Jones, and Majandra Delfino. James Burrows directed the pilot.
What’s it about?: A multicamera comedy about a group of friends in their thirties.

16. Reckless: Midseason, Not Yet Scheduled

Ian Gavan / Getty Images

Who’s in it?: Anna Wood, Cam Gigandet, Gregory Harrison, Georgina Haig, Michael Gladis, Shawn Hatosy, Adam Rodriguez, Kim Wayans
Who made it?: Ian Sander, Kim Moses, Dana Stevens, Corey Miller, and Catherine Hardwicke (she directed the pilot — squee).
What’s it about?: A nighttiime legal soap about a sex-and-corruption scandal in the Charleston police department.

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