Television isn’t dead. Just NBC is.
That in a nutshell was the underlying message delivered by CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler at this morning’s executive session at the January Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena.
FOX has GLEE, ABC has MODERN FAMILY and Tassler’s own Tiffany Network — thanks in no small part to the unstoppable juggernauts that are the NCIS, CSI franchises… and Jay Leno — is having one of their strongest seasons to date. Seriously.
In other-words, while the JAY LENO experiment may have been a colossal disaster for the network that doesn’t seem to think broadcast TV is a viable business anymore (Yes, we’re talking to you NBC). It continues to pay dividends for CBS, which continues to roll along this season, grabbing a bigger slice of the 10PM ad revenue pie, successfully moving THE MENTALIST to Thursday and managing to launch one of the season’s only hit freshman hour-longs in THE GOOD WIFE.
A roll that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon thanks to the upcoming post Super Bowl launch of the reality TV show UNDERCOVER BOSS (Explains Tassler, “We’ve seen five or six episodes of “Undercover Boss” and feel there is a tone and a quality to the show that we felt was a great fit after the Super Bowl. It is aspirational and it is a feel-good program.”), MIAMI MEDICAL (Which Tassler calls quintessential Jerry Bruckheimer) and of course the upcoming 20th season of SURVIVOR (Which pits ‘Heroes’ versus ‘Villains’ and is said to be the franchises most exciting season yet)
In fact, things have been going so well for the network (With of course the notable exception of the whole pesky ‘Charlie Sheen’ criminal issue which Tassler promises won’t affect TWO AND A HALF MEN) that their only problem is a ‘high class’ one. Translation: The network’s schedule is too solid. Which is bad news for the 18 episodes of FLASHPOINT and 13 episodes of the Aaron Douglas (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) vehicle THE BRIDGE that are anxiously waiting to see the light of day. Not to mention, the future of MEDIUM and NUMB3RS, whose futures remain murky, even though Tassler was quick to point out are both “absolutely still under consideration” for next season.
Too bad the same can’t be said for THREE RIVERS, which while officially over (Joked Tassler, “We all know that when something is ‘on hiatus’ it’s code for something else.”) does have the distinction of being the only show to have actually saved lives. Said Tassler, “The reality is we are very proud of that show, and it’s not too often that you get mail that lets you know as a network that eight lives were saved as a result of the organ donation that people became aware of because of that show.