CBS spent most of their upfront presentation telling us that they don't have a lot of new shows because their returning shows are so good or, as Les Moonves put it, "We make mass appeal hit shows." Fantastic, so more cop dramas then? The event kicked off with Michael Weatherly doing a pre-taped bit to appeal to advertisers. Oh, Eyes Only. I expected better from you. Then they had David Letterman, Steve Martin and Paul Schaffer doing a pre-taped song about how good all the new shows were. It was awkward and unfunny. And then the cast of Blue Bloods did an extended segment in which they chased down a perp (Regis Philbin, who was begging for a job on The Talk) in order to get the CBS fall schedule to the upfront in time. After a helicopter ride (on tape), Tom Selleck arrived at Carnegie Hall, old school Jeff Probst on Survivor finale style, with the schedule to hand off to Moonves. Was that really the best they could do with the talented cast of Blue Bloods? On the plus side, Will Estes received more screen time in this bit than he has all season on the show.
Before getting to CBS' new shows, it's worth mentioning that the network is making some major changes to their schedule. Rules of Engagement is going to serve some sort of penance on Saturday nights at 8 PM (notable only because it's now unheard of for scripted shows to air that day), while CSI original flavor, is getting bumped to 10 PM on Wednesdays, which may signal the beginning of the end for that show (we hope). But the move that most concerns us is The Good Wife going to Sundays at 9 PM. That's far from the worst time slot for the show, but now I'll have to DVR some huge chunk of CBS real estate on Sundays in order to compensate for the inevitable sporting overruns. Not only will I have to worry about the end of The Amazing Race getting cut off each week, but I'll also have to sweat the possibility of missing something like Alicia showing off her ability to open hotel room doors in the closing minutes of a Good Wife.
Finally, this upfront also marked the first official appearance of Ashton Kutcher as a member of the Two and a Half Men cast. Hilariously, he was introduced as an "actor, producer and social media mogul." Yes, social media mogul. As if he invented Twitter or something. (Charlie Sheen's worst crime may have been forcing us to acknowledge that this show still exists. And that Ashton still does, too.)
Coming to CBS This Fall
Person of Interest (Thursdays at 9 PM)
It's got Michael Emerson, which is fantastic. It also has Jim Caviezel, who is about as interesting as a block of wood. Hopefully, Ben Linus is prepared to carry this entire show on his shoulders, and judging by the trailers, he does most of the talking and Caviezel just shoots stuff. I can live with that. Emerson's character created some mega-spy database thing that tracks any potential terrorist activity, but it also predicts when bad things are going to happen to or by someone. The catch: he only gets their Social Security number and doesn't know if they are good or evil. That's where Caviezel comes in -- he's the muscle who tracks the people down and follows them. There's lots of web cams and stalking. So... my kind of show. Doesn't hurt that J.J. Abrams is involved, though then again: Undercovers.
Unforgettable (Tuesdays at 10 PM)
Poppy Montgomery is a cop who can remember every little detail of every single day she's ever had, except for the one when her sister was killed, which she's still trying to piece together. In the meantime, she can do fun party tricks like recall what color shirt someone was wearing on a any given day, and bust criminals because she saw them hanging out in a diner having a snack. This also stars Dylan Walsh, but that still doesn't mean I'm going to watch it.
A Gifted Man (Fridays at 8 PM)
A cranky workaholic neurosurgeon is forced to reevaluate his life based on musings from his dead wife? Has Everwood been renewed? Nope. It's a new show from Jonathan Demme, starring Patrick Wilson and filling the "commune with the dead" void that Ghost Whisperer and Medium left behind. Now, I'm a sucker for medical dramas and I've learned to buy McDreamy as a brain surgeon, so I suppose I can wrap my head around Patrick Wilson as one. This also stars Julie Benz, who is looking for refuge after No Ordinary Family, playing Wilson's sister. I will check it out, but will probably end up re-watching Treat Williams on my old DVDs instead.
2 Broke Girls (Mondays at 8:30 PM)
Well, of the two comedies that Whitney Cummings is involved with this season, this one looks far more tolerable. It's too bad that she didn't cast herself in this one, though at least we get Kat Dennings as a Whitney-esque brash girl who hates the world and just wants to waitress and not be poor. Beth Behrs co-stars as a formerly spoiled girl whose father did some corrupt things and now she's flat broke. It's yet another twist on The Odd Couple and while it didn't have me rolling on the floor laughing, it did almost make me smile and I appreciated Dennings' dry delivery of the slightly edgy (by CBS sitcom standards) dialogue.
How to Be a Gentleman (Thursdays at 8:30 PM)
Kevin Dillon owns a gym and works as a trainer who is trying to get etiquette columnist David Hornsby to behave more like a real man. And real men go to strip clubs, punch each other, do shots and hit on women, at least according to Dillon. It has sort of an offensive bullying premise, and it co-stars
ChloeMary Lynn Rajskub and Dave Foley in roles that just made me sad for them. Even Johnny Drama may have thought twice about this one.
Rookie cops hitting the beat for the first time. We didn't see any clips from it, but I've already got Southland and some people enjoy Rookie Blue, so unless this show has newbie cops wearing tutus, I'm not particularly interested. The fact that Robert De Niro is an executive producer carries zero weight.
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