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The Telefile

CBS: We've Got Our Eyes Half-Open

by Angel Cohn May 14, 2008 6:21 pm
CBS: We've Got Our Eyes Half-Open So I didn't get invited to CBS's big swanky upfront at Carnegie Hall. Which is fine since I probably would have ended up in the fourth balcony and I get wicked vertigo at that place. But I did get to watch the event from the comfort of my own desk (and thank god, because it was really long) via a satellite stream. Nice! Or well... parts of it were nice. Parts of it were downright tedious, but again, this is aimed at the advertisers so clearly I'm not the target demo for this.

After the obligatory intros from high-ranking execs and Les Moonves talking about all of the different aspects of CBS (We've got outdoor marketing! We're interactive! We're not just for old people any more!) They bring out Craig Ferguson. Let's just say, I'll take Jimmy Kimmel making fun of NBC any day instead of Craig Ferguson's lame attempts at jokes. I mean, he's talking about New York smelling like urine. Really? Then he talks about billboards. I think he might be missing some of the lines on the teleprompter... or reading them after the images come up on the massive screen. Hard to tell.

Thankfully they bring Adam Carolla out. Never thought I'd be saying those words. He's onstage to talk about CBS Radio and starts off by cracking that it is "great to be anywhere not dressed as a gay bullfighter." Nice. Then he makes some self-deprecating jokes about his job and tries to talk up the power of radio... I tune out until he makes mention of baby-back ribs. Then I get hungry, then I realize that he's not offering up food, just talking about his "crappy job." Back to more babble until he finally says. "Les Moonves is shining a flashlight at me, or is that a laser beam from a sniper gun? Either way I'm going to wrap it up and then run serpentine backstage." OK. that was kind of funny... only because of The In-Laws reference. He leaves us with the information that radio is "TV for blind people who drive to work." Um. OK. You should have stopped after serpentine.

More Craig Ferguson. More executive chatter. Then they bring out Anthony Zuiker, creator of all the CSI's, to talk about mobile stuff... after they let their head of interactive talk about it for like 10 minutes. But wait, this guy is kind of cool. Why did we have to listen to the other guy, who kind of looked like Vinnie Delpino? Zuiker, who must be insanely rich but still seems like the kind of guy you want to hang with, knows how to hawk his product. He's talking about how to get users literally involved in the television programming. Taking CSI from a great show (his words, not mine) to a multimedia experience. "CSI: 365. 24/7. Stay tuned." Now boring suit guy (who referred to clips of Britney on HIMYM as "liquid crack") is back and he's desperately trying to sound hip by talking about lonelygirl.

Craig Ferguson back... again. Talks about holding tiny burgers and being naked. Oh god he's gyrating. That's an image that is now burned in my head. Ew.

Rachael Ray comes out for some reason that I can't fathom. Her hair looks cute and shorter than the last time I saw a picture of her. I wonder if I could get my hair to look like that... I'm not at all paying attention to what she is talking about. Something about TV distribution and how she used to be on an affiliate. Before she tried to take over the world with 30-minute meals that take way longer than 30 minutes. Oh God. Then she's saying that CBS now stands for the Chicken BBQ Sammie. Help me... When are they going to talk about the fall shows already? Hmm... now she's talking about Judge Judy, Dr. Phil (ack, my eyes) Oprah and such. And now Craig Ferguson is back again. Singing Oprah's praises. Literally.

Nina Tassler comes out to introducing the shows. Hallelujah! She may not be a celeb, but I really like her pink suit. It's kind of snappy. She's hyping the summer shows, which features the bitchfest, Greatest American Dog. It doesn't look terrible, but I'm annoyed at the fact that they are playing "Who Let the Dogs Out." That song is so old. And of course, there's Swingtown, which seems like classy smut and I'm all about that.

Finally the fall stuff. Just when I'm starting to zone out.

First up. The new comedy, Worst Week. Now why would you go and name it that. That's just asking for the critics to pan it. I want to make fun of it, but it seems like such an easy target. It looks mostly horrible and seems to feature a lot of scatological humor (my favorite kind) and some subplots reminiscent of Weekend at Bernies. I will not be watching this one. I will watch the pilot, because that is my duty. But that's where it ends. It is getting a comfy home post-Two and a Half Men where I'm sure it will live very happily until they try and move it to a different night and realize that no one really watches it. They are just too lazy to change channels.

Next on tap. Eleventh Hour. I'm going on record saying that I'm totally biased when it comes to Rufus Sewell. I find him utterly appealing. I went to see him in Rock 'n' Roll on Broadway. Even as an old guy he was hot. He's headlining this new drama about a government agent who investigates scientific issues, like cloning and such. Sort of a little X-Files flair, but it is based on a British miniseries. Definite potential.

Another one with some potential. Project Gary. Think of it as the opposite of The New Adventures of Old Christine, a single guy coping with his ex-wife and kids and she's getting married and he's delving into dating, starring Jay Mohr. I don't know if I could literally handle the back-to-back pairing of Gary and Christine, but I'm thinking there's some crossover potential. My biggest question, is what will happen to Mohr's Ghost Whisperer character. He's sort of the life of that otherworldly party.

Then there's the Ex-List. A girl desperate to get married sees a psychic who tells her she's already met her perfect man. She's got to go down the list of guys she's dated in the past to find her Mr. Right, and she only has a year to do it. I just simply love shows with a time limit. If adoring Rufus Sewell and Jay Mohr made me pre-disposed to liking their shows, kind of hating Elizabeth Reaser gives this one a big strike against it. OK, maybe I don't hate her. I just hate her as Ava on Grey's Anatomy. But I just don't find her attractive. She always looks so sour. I guess that's just me. Strike two came in the form of Eric Balfour (the kiss of death to many a show), who plays an ex of hers. I'll hold off on strike three until I see the actual pilot, but there is just something about this list that seems oddly familiar to me... like maybe I've seen it on another show, that involves crossing things from ones past off a list in order to earn good karma. Hmm... can't quite put my finger on it.

Their last new fall series is The Mentalist. I'm torn about this one. Love Simon Baker. Don't like Robin Tunney (she ruined Prison Break for me). And does CBS really need another crime solver? Even if this one does pay really close attention to details and has knack for reading people? Don't they all? Snuggled between NCIS and Without a Trace this one has a chance to develop an audience, but I don't think I'm that audience. Sorry Simon. Good luck!

Midseason they've got a trippy new series called Harper's Island from the guy who made National Treasure. 36 people land on an island and they get killed off one by one. Hey, isn't that Lost? No? Are you sure? Actually, it looks more like your standard horror fare played out in episodic form. It could actually be kind of good, though CBS doesn't usually play well with shows that aren't procedural.

Midseason is a long way away though. Lots can change before then. Worst Week can get canceled for instance. Eleventh Hour can become my new favorite show. Jay Mohr and Julia Louis-Dreyfus can combine their shows into one big wild Brady Bunch for a new generation. So many possibilities.
TAGS: cbs, upfronts

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