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CBS Touts Schedule at Pre-Upfront

Mar 23, 2006  •  Post A Comment

CBS is so confident in its current prime-time programming schedule it is taking bigger risks with its development slate this season, said Nina Tassler, the network’s president of entertainment, at CBS’s pre-upfront presentation Thursday morning at New York’s Ed Sullivan Theatre.

After brief remarks by Jo Ann Ross, the network’s president of sales, CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves introduced Ms. Tassler, who described a number of series in development, including the apocalyptic drama “Jericho”; the legal one-hour “Shark,” starring James Woods; the crime drama “Smith,” from “ER” producer John Wells; and the occult series “Orpheus.” Comedies highlighted included “The Angriest Man in Suburbia,” starring comedian Mitch Rouse; and Warner Bros. Television’s younger-skewing half-hour “The Class,” from “Friends” creator David Crane.

“The Class,” which went to CBS after a bidding war among the networks, is “nontraditional in its structure,” Ms. Tassler said to TelevisionWeek after the presentation, noting that the pilot will be more like a serialized drama with soap opera elements than a traditional comedy.

“You may not see certain characters in certain episodes,” she added.

Because so many of the shows on CBS’s schedule are currently working, there is “limited real estate” on the schedule, leaving less room for new programming, Ms. Tassler said.

“What makes it to the finish line [next fall] will be the cream of the crop,” she said.

CBS also unveiled some of its upcoming reality programming. Besides the previously announced “A Hero’s Welcome,” hosted by Patrick Duffy, the network is developing “Tuesday Night Book Club,” a documentary series that follows the lives of suburban women and their weekly get-togethers. In “Guess Who’s Coming Over,” people from dissimilar lives are brought together to better understand their differences. The network is also working on a reality series with financial coach Dave Ramsey. Air dates were not released.