LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- "Damn it, he got out of doing press tour," CBS topper Nina Tassler joked about the much-ballyhooed resignation of Steve McPherson, her counterpart at ABC.
"I'd like a case of chardonnay over the holidays," she added during the network's executive session at the TCA Summer Press Tour. "He's a great guy. He's a good friend, and I wish him the best."
With the hot button issue addressed, Tassler spent most of her session touting the stability of the CBS brand, even with several of its high profile franchises ("CSI: Miami," "CSI: NY" and "The Big Bang Theory") heading to new time periods this fall.
Tassler also noted the diverse ways this year's show concepts came to them: "The Defenders" originated as a reality series at FOX about two real-life Las Vegas attorneys; "$#*! My Dad Says" comes from Justin Halpern's Twitter feed; and "Hawaii Five-0" is straight from the corporate library. "You just never know where your
next hit is going to come from, and as the world gets
smaller and online and social media gets bigger, the
pool of potential ideas and source material is going to
As for racial diversity, Tassler responded to the network's failing grade from GLAAD for their lack of gay and lesbian visibility. "We're not
happy with ourselves," she admitted, noting several shows will be adding gay and lesbian characters.
"You're going to meet Alicia's brother in "The Good
Wife," a gay character. We're also going to be adding
a new character to "Rules of Engagement." Jeff and
Audrey's surrogate will be a member of Jeff's softball
team, and she's a lesbian. We're also going to be
recurring a character in "$#*! My Dad Says," the
character Tim Bagley played. He will be returning
Other notable developments:
-- Tassler says she hasn't decided about the future of "Flashpoint." Currently, the Eye is only committed to the 13 episodes set to air this summer. CTV has locked in nine episodes beyond those 13, which presumably could turn up on CBS in 2011.
-- "The show wasn't delivering the numbers
that we needed," Tassler admitted about the quick trigger on "The Bridge." "Generally, our summer strategy works,
and I think we'll continue to look at other ways to do
other Canadian productions and other kinds of scripted
shows during the summer."
-- Tassler was quick to stamp out a reporter's suggestion that David
Letterman would reduce his workload to four days a week and begin using guest hosts on his off nights. Likewise, she says there won't be any interruption with "Two and a Half Men's" episode delivery due to Charlie Sheen's off-job
issues; nor has there been any advertiser push-back due to "$#*! My Dad Says's" title.
-- And lastly, when asked about "$#*! My Dad Says's" recent recasting, Tassler pointed out both "The Big Bang Theory" and "NUMB3RS" also had lead characters recast after their original pilots and each went on to successful runs.