Chairman of CBS Entertainment Nina Tassler took the stage at the Television Critics Association’s (TCA) winter press tour as the reigning queen — her CBS network remains the top dog of all broadcasters with seven of the net’s series in the coveted Top 10 list.
Tassler confirmed Season 2 picks ups for Madam Secretary, Scorpion and NCIS: New Orleans. No decision has been made yet for the Dylan McDermott/Maggie Q creeper – Stalker – at this time. As for CSI, Tassler gave props to Ted Dansen and said the series still performs strongly for the network. When asked if a Charlie Sheen return could be expected for the series finale of Two and a Half Men (February 19), she promises “a lot of surprises,” adding that Chuck Lorre did promise a “mystery sandwich.”
As for the major changes coming to late night, with David Letterman’s upcoming departure in May, Tassler said it will “be hard to say goodbye.” CBS will plan special programming leading up to Letterman’s final episodes. Letterman’s last night is planned for Wednesday, May 20. Stephen Colbert will fill the new Late Night position beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8, which gives him plenty of time to prepare. “I have nine months to make a show, just like a baby. So first, I should find out how you make a baby,” Colbert said in a release issued by the network.
While Colbert is retiring his Comedy Central character, he’s got all of his creative team from his former show working for him. What direction the format of the show will go is somewhat unknown at this point, as the network is giving him full creative leeway to develop a show that feels right to him. Tassler said, “we’re sitting back waiting for him to come to us,” as it’s still somewhat of a discovery process for him. She did say the show would have “parts that will be traditional” and most likely “things he’ll want to try differently.” Tassler also confirmed that music would be a part of the show.
“I have to be as entertaining as my guests,” Tassler said Colbert has previously shared. Whether or not there will be an opening monologue is also undecided, but Tassler said that he’s really putting a lot of attention on the show being topical, relevant and dealing with current events.
CBS will continue to focus on an “all season programming model,” introducing new programming throughout the year.