Why CBS Is Sticking With Pilot Season

Jan 15, 2014  •  Post A Comment

After Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly delivered a blow to the traditional network pilot season during his appearance at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, as we reported earlier this week, another network came to the defense of the model.

CBS Entertainment Chief Nina Tassler said today that the Tiffany Network will stick with the traditional model of a pilot season, The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed Reports. Why? "Pilot season does work for us," said Tassler.

She added, however: “Pilot season isn’t perfect, and it certainly is a very difficult time.”

Tassler also commented on recent remarks by "Lost" co-creator and showrunner Damon Lindelof, who compared the broadcast pilot season to a conveyor belt, implying that it stands in the way of programming quality.

Said Tassler: "I want to hear Damon Lindelof complain about broadcast when he goes to the bank to cash his ‘Lost’ checks." She added: "The bottom line is … yes, it’s harder, yes, it’s challenging, but when you have a great writer and great storytelling and they have to make decisions in a pressurized situation, they’re going to make the right and best decisions, period."

THR adds: "She pointed to a recent Forbes article, which addressed the kind of creative adrenaline that can come out of a compressed — and thus high-pressure — period like pilot season. ‘It’s frustrating but also it’s exciting,’ she said of the springtime arms race for talent, pointing to two key examples of juggernauts, ‘CSI’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ born out of that pressure cooker environment. The former was an 11th-hour order, which forced a team and script to come together and deliver a hit show, while the latter required a reshoot that added star Kaley Cuoco."

Noting that Reilly’s decision may make sense for Fox, Tassler added: "I think you can’t make these broad generalizations."

nina tassler.pngNina Tassler

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