TV Upfront

CBS Focuses on Comedy, and Building a Bigger Pipeline

Four New Sitcoms and Two New Dramas for No. 1 Network

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CBS is focusing on new comedy this fall, picking up four new sitcoms and two new dramas for the upcoming season. The network also 23 pilots this year, more than usual.

Jo Ann Ross, president of ad sales, and CEO Leslie Moonves
Jo Ann Ross, president of ad sales, and CEO Leslie Moonves Credit: David Yellen

The network's ultimate goal is to have more originals and fewer repeats, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler said a press breakfast Wednesday ahead of the network's upfront presentation to advertisers.

Mondays this fall will include two new comedies, "We are Men" and "Mom," which will be weaved between "2 Broke Girls" and the final season of "How I Met Your Mother."

"We are Men" follows four newly single men living in a short-term-rental apartment complex. "Mom" is a comedy from "Two and a Half Men" creator Chuck Lorre that stars Anna Faris and Allison Janney.

CBS will use the 10 p.m. Monday slot in the 2013-14 season for two new dramas, first "Hostages" and then "Intelligence." "Hostages" is a highly-serialized suspense thriller about a surgeon who is seized with her family the night before she is set to operate on the president of the United States. "Hostages" will air for 15 episodes before being replaced by "Intelligence," which received an order for 13 episodes.

Tuesday will see "NCIS" and "NCIS: Los Angeles" aired back to back, followed by "Person of Interest" at 10 p.m.

Wednesday prime-time will remain intact, with "Survivor" kicking off the night, followed by "Criminal Minds" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

CBS will use "The Big Bang Theory," which executives said leads "The Voice" and "Modern Family" among 18-to-49-year-olds, to lead into two new comedies on Thursdays: "The Millers" and "The Crazy Ones." "The Millers" is about a newly single guy whose parents move in with him, while "The Crazy Ones" stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and Robin Williams as daughter-and-father partners at an ad agency.

"Hawaii Five-0" will move to Friday nights, where it will be paired with "Undercover Boss" and "Blue Bloods."

CBS is holding "Mike & Molly" for midseason, giving the network the chance to put on a original that viewers already know later in the year, Ms. Tassler said. It also picked up "Friends with Better Lives" and "Reckless" for midseason.

More originals seems to be the trend this year, with both Fox and ABC playing with their schedules, intertwining limited series among the traditional 22 to 24 episodes.

But Ms. Tassler said CBS, which is airing the "Under the Dome" miniseries this summer, won't go the route of limited series in the upcoming season. "We have series of shows people love, they don't want shows taken off the air, unless it's for one of our big events," she said.

"We don't need place fillers," she added. "We have hit shows."

CBS won't spend much time focusing on digital and social initiatives at its upfront presentation at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday afternoon, CEO Leslie Moonves said.

"Anyone that spends 20 minutes at the upfront talking about multi-platform doesn't have much to sell, and we do have more to sell," Mr. Moonves said.

Mr. Moonves also took the opportunity to respond to the crack Jimmy Kimmel made during ABC's upfront on Tuesday, where he called CBS old and smug.

"I'm flattered, if he is calling us smug that's good because it means we are winning," Mr. Moonves said. CBS is ending the season as not only the No. 1 network in total viewers and among adults 25-to-54, but also as the most-watched in the 18-to-49 demo, the first for CBS since the 1991-92 season.

Mr. Moonves joked that he will try to be less smug and more gracious, but that's hard for him.

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