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The Television Critics Association Press Tour is going to be crawling with TVWeek staffers. Check this space for observations from the presentations, hallway chatter and the dope on who was misbehaving at the parties. TVWeek’s Jon Lafayette, Josef Adalian, Andrew Krukowski, Sergio Ibarra and Vlada Gelman all will post as they scour the scene for news.


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Live-Blogging the CBS Executive Session

July 18, 2008 8:57 AM

Nina Tassler

EXECUTIVE ANSWER CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler loves vampires, but doesn't question canceling "Moonlight."

Three broadcast channels left! Today we have CBS' Nina Tassler, president of entertainment, in front of the critical firing squad. Prediction for this session: spinoff announcement of "Greatest American Cat."

9:11 a.m.: Ms. Tassler on stage. The big news according to her this TCA is William Petersen leaving "CSI."

9:13 a.m.: "Audiences are watching more television," Ms. Tassler says. "I think viewers are really looking forward to watching their shows."

9:14 a.m.: Ms. Tassler proud of "Swingtown," still behind the show.

Ms. Tassler talks about loving vampires, "Moonlight," and the evil gene after the jump.

9:15 a.m.: This upcoming season of "CSI" is "DVR-proof," she says.

9:19 a.m.: Last season, audiences were looking for comedies, Ms. Tassler says, and the network's "Big Bang Theory" definitely filled that void.

9:21 a.m.: Diversity on CBS: "Cane" was the centerpiece of that last year. Now, diversity is in the slate, but not so much in the pilots. Characters of diversity are being added to existing shows.

9:23 a.m.: Mr. Petersen is leaving after episode 10 of "CSI" next season, but it won't be the last time viewers see Gil Grissom.

9:26 a.m.: "Given the current climate, I think people want to be entertained, people want to laugh," Ms. Tassler says. People will gravitate toward their television sets for that distraction this fall.

9:28 a.m.: Hey, the Internet is important, and nice to keep an ear to the ground on. "But it's still about the creative vision," Ms. Tassler says.

9:29 a.m.: Britney Spears did not save "How I Met Your Mother." "It was never in danger," Ms. Tassler says.

9:30 a.m.: No more "Dexter" on CBS, and we probably won't see any other Showtime material on the network, either.

9:30 a.m.: "MOONLIGHT" QUESTION: "Oh my God," Ms. Tassler says in response to the show's name being mentioned. "Everybody knows I love vampires." Ms. Tassler says the response from fans was more actor-centric than anything else, but "I don't question the choice we made." Please address your letters to CBS, not TelevisionWeek.

9:33 a.m.: Any rumors of an overhaul of "The Price Is Right" are false.

9:35 a.m.: Sarah Chalke is returning to "How I Met Your Mother," and Jason Alexander and Luke Perry are doing "Criminal Minds."

9:36 a.m.: The new character on "CSI" has some wacky genetic code that gives him a predisposition toward being a serial killer. To paraphrase Dr. Hibbert: "Well, only one in 2 million people has what we call the 'evil gene.' Hitler had it, Walt Disney had it, and ... this new guy on 'CSI' has it."

9:40 a.m.: "MOONLIGHT" FOLLOW-UP: "We'd love to" keep Alex O'Loughlin on CBS.

Well, that's it for the session. Join us later today for panels on "Worst Week," "Eleventh Hour," "The Mentalist," "The Ex List" and some Showtime material.

—Andrew Krukowski

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Comments (13)

Natalie Ellis:

Actor centric my rear!!!
We love Moonlight too!!! I really hope Alex doesn't go back to CBS, they screwed him over last time, what's stopping them from doing it again????

Valerie :

Swingtown is just nasty and Big Bang Theory is something you laugh at not with. They cancelled Cane, their last years centerpiece, and Moonlight, a Peoples Award winner. Ms. Tassler has been drinking her own kool-aid I'm afraid. I think CBS is in for a bumpy ride for a while.

Jacqueline:

My friends and I watched Moonlight for the drama, paranormal elements, humor, and romance. Alex O'Loughlin was a bonus! Ms. Tassler continues to enjoy mocking the millions of fans and our feelings about the show. If she thinks canceling Moonlight, then adding a DISGUSTING show to their lineup (Swingtown) is going to bring in the female viewers......Sorry Ms. Tassler, you are CLUELESS! CBS is and will continue to be blocked from our home!

Christy:

What is going on?! The fans loved Moonlight because of the romance, drama, action, comedy, writing, sets, lighting, actor chemistry, costumes, etc. It wasn't about Alex, it was about EVERYTHING. It all just meshed well together.

Nina.doesn't.get.it.

Rhian:

I only watched Moonlight for all the shirtless shots of Alex O'Loughlin, otherwise it was a bit rubbish. It may have had 7 million viewers but Ghost Whisperer & Numb3rs had more. Heck Close to home had more viewers, and that was cancelled the year before! Stop beating a dead horse ladies and find a new show to salivate over.

Bill:

Sure, How I Met Your Mother was never in danger - that's why CBS didn't bother telling anyone involved with the show it was coming back until the upfronts, when other show runners were told weeks if not months earlier.

Good to hear Sarah Chalke will be back, though Tassler didn't say if it was a one time appearance or not, keeping the "Is she the Mom?" curiosity going until this fall.

Meanwhile "serial killer" gene? Perhaps Billy's leaving CSI at just the right time. Let's just hope CBS and the showrunners allow him to ride off into the sunset with Sara as we've all been hoping for for the past nine years… (really, is it that unhip to allow one couple somewhere on television to exit a series as a happy, functional couple?!?!)

lunarlover:

How can you say you love vampires in one breath and feel justified in cancelling Moonlight? And feel that the show was actor-centric? Of course I love Alex O'Loughlin, but as Mick St. John, a vampire. The show has a wonderfully talented and handsome lead in Alex, but it also has Sophia,Jason and Shannon who are equally talented and attractive. They all have great chemistry together. The actors from the original pilot were all recast except for Alex and for the better. But the show doesn't stop with its actors it also offers great writing, editing, film noir styling and music to bring it all together. This all culminates on the screen with intense romance, action, drama, crime-solving and more that keeps you coming back week after week. I think Ms. Tassler needs to question her decision on the cancellation of Moonlight; since her "former viewers" of CBS(and united fans of Moonlight)have moved on to find Alex O'Loughlin and the whole cast of Moonlight a new home on another network.
And for her support of Swingtown?? You don't call that Showtime material? I just don't get it.

Jason:

I'm so glad Moonlight got the garlic treatment. :D

Greeneyes279:

What planet did Nina Tassler come from? I am still baffled by this woman and her comments and decisions. Moonlight is a terrific show AND it has terrific actors that have that special on-screen chemistry. The fans emphasized how terrific the relationships are between the characters on Moonlight. Nina just doesn't get it. Moonlight isn't just a show about vampires. Moonlight is a show about relationships and the adversity faced by the characters with trying to have relationships with each other. Jericho was more about the entire premise of the show and how that premise affected the people. It is like comparing apples and oranges.

Is she really in an upper management position? Nina has no clue what her customers want & is not willing to listen. It almost feels as though there is more to this than any of us will ever know.

The decision to cancel Moonlight just didn't make good business sense. Moonlight was consistently winning its Friday night 9pm time slot. HBO is coming out with a vampire series, the Twilight book series is really hot & the Twilight movie is coming out in December. CBS WAS ahead of the game & could have capitalized on all the interest in the vampire genre by giving Moonlight a 2nd season.

Nina, pull your head out of the sand or you know where. It's ok to admit you're wrong, you are an adult.

Karen:

I think CBS misread fan reaction to this show from the very beginning. Alex O'Loughlin's portrayal of Mick probably was the initial draw for many, but what changed most of us from viewers into fans was the complex and evolving relationships between characters and especially the developing romance between Mick and Beth.

Just look at the hundreds of fan vids on YouTube. Most of them showcase story lines and character interactions, NOT one specific character or actor. Also, early on in the series, fans coined the term "MickBeth" to depict what for many is the central relationship on the show. And lastly, a quick glance through the fan fiction will prove to even the most dim witted that for fans this show was about relationships.

I have no doubt that most of the letters to CBS mentioned Alex, for many he was the first among equals on Moonlight. But I also have no doubt that most letters also had paragraphs devoted to Jason and Sophia, the story lines, the romance, the genre - all of the things that blended together made Moonlight so special to each of us.

The fans "got" Moonlight. Sadly, CBS never understood either the show or it's fans.

Ann:

Yes, I am sure Ms.Tassler thinks it was agood idea to cancel Moonlight with 8 million viewers in a bad friday spot, and put a show like Swingtown that even if CBS did a lot of publicity for it , the ratings are just lower each week.And she wants us to believe she is happy about all of this.Come on! Youu decision was wrong and you know it.You just won't admitt it. It's okay, ABC is my new friend now, I've blocked CBS from my direcTV and Ms.Tassler beautiful comments from time to time are a strong reminder in why I am doing this.

Jed:

Nina, how can you say that over 8 million people watched Moonlight just because of Alex O. Yeah, he's great to look at. But we watched the show because of the story, the action, the drama, the romance and some like myself love vampires. What doesn't Nina get? She would have had the Number One show this season 2008-2009 if only she would have kept Moonlight, especially with vampires being all the craze this year. To me there is really no logical explanation for the cancellation of Moonlight.

Sue:

I loved Jericho- and it is gone
I loved Cane and it is gone- Jimmy Smits is joining Dexter, I hear.
I Loved Moonlight and its gone.
I want to see Tru Blood but will wait for Dvd- why would I pay more for entertainment when I am currently watching only 2 hours on commercial tv and 1 hour cable ( not including the occasional movie)on Showtime- Dexter, Diary of a Call Girl, Tudors and L Word.

1 hour is on NBC- Medium . 1 hour is CBS Criminal Minds.

Amazon.com thanks CBS for my increased patronage

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