Executive Session Scrum
July 15, 2006 8:42 PM
It's a time honored press tour tradition for critics to rush the stage after the network executive sessions to try and get quotes that won't be shared with the whole room. Usually a dozen or so of the more aggressive types (usually the boy critics) plus trade reporters looking for more exclusive copy that will be fresh for the weekly issue (ahem) bound up to the executive with such force it is wonder everyone doesn't end up in a 30-yard tackle.
The same happened to CBS's Nina Tassler after her session.
While most of the questions were follow ups form what was asked in the room, some new information did pour from the scrum.
On why modest ratings success and creatively challenged suburban legal drama "Close to Home" was one of the last series to get picked up for next season:
"It was a little bit of a bubble show. There were some creative elements that we wanted to take a look at and see if we could improve on this year. Because of our relationship with [prolific executive producer Jerry] Bruckheimer, we valued our relationship, and we wanted to make sure it got a great deal of thought and consideration. At the end of the year last year, they came in and gave a fantastic pitch on this is where the show is going to go next year."
Besides adding "JAG" alum David James Elliott to the cast, "Close" will have more "ripped from the headlines" storylines next season.
On whether actress Aisha Tyler asked out of the Friday night drama "Ghost Whisperer" or was her character killed for creative reasons:
"It was a creative decision, and it was a part of what they had been talking about during the year. Aisha was a really significant part of [the show], but they were really looking to do something with the story that would have a big impact."
On what CBS needs to figure out before the network has a viable business model to run telenovela-like programming:
"The number of episodes that you do. How many times a week you're going to air the episodes. Also, where we were going to shoot the show. I mean, all these things were in flux. And doing that with arcing out 18 to 24 episodes, we just weren't ready. A telenovela is a very unique form of storytelling. In adapting it for our network we had to make certain adjustments."
On whether there will be two cycles of "The Amazing Race" this season:
"We have only ordered one so far."
On whether CBS's new video Web site innertube would be a place to let cancelled shows play out any unaired episodes:
"It does give us an opportunity to extend brands, to continue to promote the product. It's there, and right now we're very supportive, and they have been very supportive of us."
Spokesman Chris Ender noted that CBS is trying to get the canceled series "Love Monkey" on innertube, as long as the show's music rights can be cleared for the Internet.
On whether the apocalyptic drama "Jericho" is a science fiction series:
"If that audience responds to the show, that's great, but I think the beauty of it is that it has a much more classic and broader appeal. The circumstances that play out are incredibly relevant."
On whether crime drama "Smith" will feature a different heist each week:
"Over the course of the year, you'll see only three or four big crimes. It's not every week they steal another painting."
On whether CBS is talking to its creatives about toning things down dues to the recent FCC scrutiny of broadcast content:
"We have Standards and Practices. We have a legal department. We have a process we go through. It is a system that has been in place."