In Depth

CBS Picks Up 4 New Dramas, 2 Comedies

CBS is adding four dramas and two comedies to its 2008-09 roster, including a new project from Jerry Bruckheimer.

As she did last year, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler once again appears to be tweaking the net’s time-tested crime drama format. While procedural dramas still dominate, the network’s new shows seem very character-focused.

It seems likely at least four of the six shows will debut in the fall, with two projects waiting for midseason.

The two comedy pickups mean CBS will be able to expand to a second night of comedy, something network brass have longed to do for some time now.

Bruckheimer’s new series, “The Eleventh Hour,” has a tone similar to “The X-Files.” It revolves around a professor and a government agent who team up to track mysterious cases involving scientific and medical phenomena. “CSI” director Danny Cannon also directed the pilot for “Hour,” which was written by Mick Davis.

CBS has also given thumbs up to “The Mentalist,” a Simon Baker-led crime drama about a former TV psychic who ends up using his abilities to read people in order to solve crimes. While the project has a police blotter angle, it’s more character-driven than some of the network’s current crime fare. David Nutter directed the pilot.

Two other dramas with no apparent crime angles also are moving forward at CBS.

“The Ex List” is a romantic drama about a woman who decides to revisit all her old flames after a psychic tells her she has already met her true love. And “Harper’s Island” is a thriller about a group of friends who reunite for a wedding.

On the comedy side, the buzz project at CBS is “Project Gary,” a Jay Mohr-Paula Marshall half-hour about a man trying to balance life with his kids, his ex and his new girlfriend.

Also greenlit: “Worst Week,” a reimagining of the BBC comedy about a young couple trying to survive their in-laws.

Despite talk around town of networks ordering projects only from their in-house studios, CBS spread its love among several studios.

Warner Bros. has two of CBS’ six new projects (“Mentalist,” “Eleventh Hour”). ABC Studios is behind “Project Gary,” while Universal Media Studios produces “Worst Week.” “The Ex List” hails from 20th Century Fox TV.

Only “Harper’s Island” is produced by CBS Paramount Network Television.

CBS isn’t commenting on its series orders. Network also hasn’t announced pickups for bubble shows “Moonlight,” “Old Christine,” “The Unit” and “Shark.” Industry types don’t have high hopes for “Moonlight” or “Shark.”

If for any reason CBS doesn’t renew “Christine,” ABC has indicated its interest in ordering the series.

Speaking of ABC, the Hollywood Reporter said the network has renewed midseason replacement “Eli Stone” for a second season.