Following a detour in last season's CBS programming strategy which saw the network throw a few wackier ideas against the fridge to see what stuck (Drac Steele, Vampire P.I. and The Singing Venetian, Hugh Jackman's addition to the musical-casino genre, were what stuck), it seems they have returned to the dependability of laugh-tracks and procedurals for the fall 2008-09 season. At their upfronts announcement this morning at their New York offices, Les Moonves and trusty commandantes Nina Tassler and Kelly Kahl made official their last-minute, 22-episode order of The New Adventures of Old Christine, the unlikely story of what happens when Elaine loses her balls and spends the majority of her leisure time bickering with her ex-husband and his new girlfriend. Following them on Wednesdays is a new sitcom, Project Gary, starring Jay Mohr, while another new, single-camera comedy, Worst Week, joins the Monday night lineup, alongside all the wisecracking nerd-geniuses and Britney guest spots you've come to expect.
Hoping to finally close the Case of the Vanishing Criminal Minds Star, reporters at today's CBS Television Critics Association panel confronted president Nina Tassler about the exact nature of the "creative differences" that might induce an actor to flee a successful series without explanation. Clarified Tassler:
For Jericho fans anxiously awaiting confirmation of the rumors that their grassroots campaign to save the series had actually worked, today comes official word from on high: This morning, a tiny, white flag poked out of the gargantuan mound of peanuts that currently stands where CBS headquarters used to be. It was waved weakly (there was precious little oxygen for the executives trapped beneath to breath), and was followed by a rolled-up sheet of CBS letterhead, which eventually landed with a bounce at the feet of the small army of chanting Jericho activists hoisting placards at its base. This is what it read:
Today's NY Times uses the example of Smith, the quickly dispatched CBS drama whose birth/death cycle was an impressively efficient three weeks, to illustrate how the itchy trigger-fingers of jittery, hit-hungry TV executives seem to have doomed the on-air existence of TV's "modest successes," shows that fall somewhere between total Nielsen bed-shitters and instant, inexplicable, Deal or No Deal-type hits. But after hearing CBS head executioner Nina Tassler dissect the reasons she dispassionately strangled the show with a piece of piano wire, Smith sounds less like a "modest success" than a "show that people checked out once or twice, then decided they weren't interested in." Reports the Times: