CBS Expects Competitive Thursday for ‘CSI’

Jul 15, 2006  •  Post A Comment

CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler said she sees her Thursday drama “CSI” as something of an “underdog” this fall now that ABC is moving its medical series “Grey’s Anatomy” to that night from Sundays.

“We expect to be dinged a little bit by ‘Grey’s,'” Ms. Tassler said Saturday at CBS’s executive session at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Pasadena, Calif. “Its going to be very complicated.”

But “two hit shows can be successful” in the same time period, Ms. Tassler said.

While “CSI” will be playing up the relationship between lead characters Gil Grissom and Sara Sidle this season, that character-based storyline has been building since the beginning of last season and is not a reaction to “Grey’s” moving to Thursdays, she said.

CBS is being “more aggressive” in development this summer, with actress Christine Taylor starring in a pilot directed and written by her husband Ben Stiller, and “Two and a Half Men” creator Chuck Lorre developing his comedy project “Big Bang Theory.”

The change in its previously announced Monday schedule, with debut comedy “The Class” flipping with sophomore comedy “How I Met Your Mother” at 8 p.m. (ET), was designed to keep “Mother” in the same time period it was in this past season and allow the show “to bask in the halo from promo of ‘The Class.'”

After taking repeated questions about whether networks are alienating their audiences when they cancel serialized series and leave a small yet dedicated group of viewers hanging over the show’s resolution, Ms. Tassler noted people don’t watch serialized or closed-ended shows, they watch things they like.

“You watch a show because it’s good,” she said. “You’re invested and you like it–that’s it.”

CBS has no plans to bring back original programming to Saturdays, Ms. Tassler said.

“Our Saturday night does fine,” she said. “We’re certainly open to it if the show presented itself, but we are going to be stet on Saturday.”

Moving crime drama “Cold Case” to 9 p.m. on Sundays is a good scheduling move for CBS, since football overruns this past season often pushed “Case” into the 9 p.m. time period. In those instances “it’s done quite well” against ABC powerhouse “Desperate Housewives,” Ms. Tassler said.

One critic asked Ms. Tassler about the failure of summer reality series “Tuesday Night Book Club,” and wondered “does it not matter what you put on in the summertime?”

“It was an attempt to do something different,” Ms. Tassler said. “We’re going to try different things. That’s what summer is about.”