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TCA Report: CBS Executive Session with Nina Tassler

TCA's Summer Press Tour began this morning with CBS' executive session, featuring Nina Tassler, President of CBS Entertainment.

While there wasn't much news announced this morning, save the latest twist on Survivor--which will see 20 castaways split between two age groups: those over 40 and those under 30--and the companies participating in the next season of reality series Undercover Boss (DirecTV, NASCAR, Chiquita Brands International, and Great Wolf Resorts).

However, Tassler did take questions from the critics, answering queries about the GLAAD score for CBS, Hawaii Five-O, Bleep My Dad Says, The Good Wife, and more.

Tassler began by praising series from across the broadcast networks, saying that the 2009-10 season produced "one of the best freshman classes in years" and acknowledged that "all of the network shows are programming engines for all of the other platforms," including online, etc.

"It was a terrific year for us and we are restless and motivated--and I like to say--paranoid... [There] is a real diversity in terms of source material for shows." Those would include Twitter (Bleep My Dad Says), a reality show at FOX (The Defenders), a real-life mommy group (Sara Gilbert's daytime talk show), and more. "It really reflects a great diversity in source material," said Tassler.

Here's what else Tassler had to say:

Steve McPherson leaving ABC: "Stability is a good thing. As far as Steve goes, I said, damn it, he gets out of doing press tour... And I'd like a case of chardonnay for the holidays."

Hawaii Five-O: "We loved the pitch so much... We've reimagined it, we've deconstructed the elements of the orginal show... retooled it and [turned it into a] great, hip, smart character show... You'll find as the series moves forward that it's still a small island, everybody knows each other--good guys, bad guys--and those story engines are still there."

"It's a crime drama set in Hawaii," said Tassler, defending the tone of Hawaii Five-O. "I think the pilot has got a lot of beauty shots. I think it shows the brilliance and vibrant color of the island. It's got humor, the characters pop... How it opened, the tease, it certainly launches you into the show."

As for the show's violence, Tassler said, "It's a 10 o'clock show. It's monday night at 10 o'clock... I don't see it that way. Certainly for us and our network, we have standards... and we respect that process."

Additionally, the relationship between Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park provides an "emotional spine" for the show.

GLAAD: "We're adding a few characters this season... We're going to meet Alicia's brother on The Good Wife, a gay character." Additionally, Bleep My Dad Says will have a recurring gay character and other shows will feature homosexual characters as well. "Once you come out of your pilot season disappointed, you have to make changes in the regular season."

The same goes for female characters as well. "Going forward in a series, if we can add a female character, we will," said Tassler.

Undercover Boss: "People seeing cameras don't automatically think, oh, I'm on an episode of Undercover Boss... How they do it, the methods, I certainly don't want to reveal."

Pressed for more details, Tassler said, "Undercover Boss is cast like any other reality show... It's very standard."

Why CBS bought Mike & Molly: "I thought, it's Chuck Lorre," said Tassler about comedy Mike & Molly. "These are two people I relate to, these are two people I care about. It's a romantic comedy. It's charming, it has heart, and it was really funny... As I said before, it's Chuck Lorre."

The cancellation of The Bridge: "The show wasn't delivering the numbers we needed. Generally, our summer strategy works."

The fate of Flashpoint: "I haven't decided yet."

The Good Wife: "I think The Good Wife is a phenomenal show and has great story reveals coming up for next season... Certainly, we see that it's more competitive in that timeslot... and there is unbelievable story stuff coming up for that show."

On Kalinda's sexuality and whether it will be revealed, Tassler said, "I don't think you will in the first part of the season but you will later on... We don't want to spill the beans just yet."

Two and a Half Men: "No indication that there will be any delay" on delivery or production of Two and a Half Men, said Tassler.

Stay tuned for more coverage from TCA throughout the day and over the next week and a half.


AskRachel said…
So, they're following up one of the "the best freshman classes in years" with junk like Hawaii Five-O and Bleep My Dad Says (not to mention continuing Two and a Half Men). I can honestly say that I'm not interested in any of the programs, new or old, that Tassler mentioned!

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