Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fantasy Network Mogul: Part 2 - CBS

Part 1 - ABC

CBS is coming off of a strong year - so strong that they don't have many vacancies on their lineup. This is bad news for aging shows that might find themselves euthanized just to make room for new blood. In a weaker season, CSI:NY probably wouldn't be at as much risk.

Here's the thing about CBS. Anyone who's dealt with them knows that they have a specific type of show that works for them. No matter how many times they say they want to break outside that box and try new things, they always will get cold feet and retreat to the familiar. You can also usually count on their moves to be more conservative and predictable.

The one thing we can be sure of is that Alex O'Loughlin won't be getting a new pilot, as he did the previous three seasons. CBS tried so hard to make him happen, you'd think he was "fetch" and they were "Gretchen Wiener."

Canceled: Medium
Endangered: CSI: NY, The Defenders, Mad Love, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior

Comedy - CBS has nine comedy pilots in contention, with most or all of them being multi-camera. Of those, the ones below strike me as the most likely pick-ups.

The Assistants
Logline: A multi-camera comedy about four assistants who work for a celebrity couple.
Cast: Heather Locklear, Jason Jones,
Creatives: Tucker Cawley (writer), Pamela Fryman (director)
Thoughts: Most of CBS's loglines sound very generic, so I admit this is a case where I'm betting on the actors as much as the concept. They've got another pilot also dealing with young people and their first jobs, so I'm inferring that's a concept they'd like to put on the air.

How to Be a Gentleman
Logline: The series centers on an uptight guy and his male friend from high school who helps him get through life.
Cast: Dave Foley, Rhys Darby, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Kevin Dillon
Creatives: David Hornsby (writer), Pamela Fryman (director)
Thoughts: Another frustratingly generic logline. I could see this fitting with the Chuck Lorre style of sitcom that works so well for CBS though.

Vince Uncensored
Logline: A multi-camera comedy series centering on a man who decides to approach his working and domestic lives more honestly after a life-altering experience.
Cast: Michael Chiklis, Elizabeth Perkins
Creatives: Pheof Sutton (writer), Kelsey Grammer (director)
Thoughts: It's one of the few CBS comedies where the logline hints at some greater depth to the character arcs. Put that together with Chiklis and I'm willing to be on it. Writer Sutton is late of Terriers and Boston Legal.

Dramas - 7 pilots are in contention, most of them procedurals so as to fit with CBS's existing line-up. And again, this may just be the fault of whoever's writing these loglines, but I'm not blown away by much on the list.

My best guesses?

The Doctor
Logline: A dramatic series centering on a family medical practice with a mother and her adult children at the center.
Cast: Christine Lahti, Eva Amurri, Michael Boatman, Kyle Maclachlan, Scott Foley, Lorraine Toussaint (Ayanna)
Creatives: Rina Mimoun (writer), David Nutter (director)
Thoughts: Nutter has a pretty good pilot-to-series track record. Mimoun has worked on Pushing Daisies, Everwood, and Privileged, among others, so there's no denying her chops, and the cast is strong. I'm gonna bet on CBS picking it up, and struggling all season to find it a good timeslot.

Hail Mary
Logline: Buddy P.I. show centered on a suburban single mom in Atlanta who teams up with a street-wise hustler to solve crimes
Cast: Minnie Driver, Stephen Tobolowsky, Brandon T. Jackson
Creatives: Jeff Wadlow (writer), Brad Silberling (director), Joel Silver (EP)
Thoughts: This is what I meant when I said CBS will buy something that's way outside the box just for the sake of doing it. Don't be surprised if Driver's presence gets this thing ordered, probably as a replacement for The Defenders.

Person of Interest
Logline: An ex-CIA agent and a scientist team up to prevent crimes before they happen.
Cast: Michael Emerson, Taraji P. Henson, Jim Caviezel
Creatives: Jonah Nolan (writer), David Semel (director), JJ Abrams, Jonah Nolan, Bryan Burk (EPs)
Thoughts: Procedural? Check. High-concept hook? Check. Superstar producer who the network wants to be in business with? Check.

Logline: A dramatic series centering on a woman, who, on the lam, impersonates her twin sister. When she does, she discovers that her sister's life isn't perfect either.
Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nestor Carbonell, Ioan Gruffudd, Kristoffer Polaha, Tara Summers
Creatives: Eric Charmelo, Nicole Snyder (writers), Richard Shepard (director)
Thoughts: The pilot script has gotten some decent reviews, but even without those and the presence of Gellar, this is one I'd want to see. Again, this'll be the "outside the box" buy.

Part 3: Fox
Part 4: NBC
Part 5: The CW

1 comment:

  1. I'm still angry at CBS over Jericho. They say they cancelled it due to poor ratings, but I have my doubts.