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James Hibberd

CSI: Pasadena

January 18, 2007 7:07 PM

Tassler tells the critics she’s looking to find new shows that viewers will talk about. More buzz-generating shows. The network executives get frustrated because shows like “Criminal Minds' and “NCIS' are breaking out in the ratings, but critics don’t write about them. I mean, c’mon, CBS is the most-watched television network and, as of yesterday, hit #1 among adults 18 to 49 as well. Where’s the love shown Kevin Reilly? Where’s the respect?

CBS has good cause to feel disrespected in the ballroom. In the TVWeek Winter Critics Poll survey, not one CBS show landed in the top 25. “Amazing Race' was their first entry, and that came in at No. 28. How is it possible that the most popular TV network, a network that critics (who are largely white and middle aged) are a perfect demographic fit to watch, doesn’t have one critical hit?

The reason is best explained by this classic YouTube clip of David Caruso one-liners from “CSI: Miami'. CBS is an expert at making terrible, formulaic, popular shows. Fox produces more blatantly offensive efforts that anger critics, to be sure, but CBS has a slew of shows that are offensive in their mediocrity. “Jericho' was one clear attempt to break this pattern, and it’s easy to see why it’s CBS’s most popular show online, if not on the network.

On the TCA stage, the CBS executives all seem like pleasant people, but there’s no energy in the room. Critics complain afterward how dull the session was.

(Now just watch. After posting this, tonight I’ll be found garroted in the Ritz Carlton jacuzzi, still clutching my Blackberry. The CSI: Pasadena team will read my TCA coverage and decide Tassler, Nancy Grace and the Starz 1st Amendment Stand-Up comics are prime suspects. At the crime scene, David Caruso will find a half-empty bottle of vodka, put on his sunglasses, and declare, “Looks like … this blogger … was already … down-loaded.' Though initially it will seem as if Tassler ordered my execution to make her CBS TCA day more buzzworthy, critics will be stunned when retiring “Price is Right' host Bob Barker confesses to the crime, saying he’s always wanted to appear on a hit primetime drama).


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Somebody needs to option that idea for a MOW

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