Michael Emerson in new J.J. Abrams series
Will fans of J.J. Abrams’s dive-down-the-rabbit hole dramas follow him to CBS on Thursday night if he’s signed on to do a show that’s less JJ-trademark mythology-maze, and more CBS procedural?
CBS suits hope so, because they’ve tossed “CSI” out of their very best drama-series time slot — Thursdays at 9 — to make room for “Person of Interest,” starring Michael Emerson, of JJ’s “Lost” fame.
Meanwhile, the best testing pilot in CBS history — so CBS suits say — has landed between “How I Met Your Mother” and “Two and a Half Men” on Monday nights for the 2011-12 TV season. It’s a comedy called “2 Broke Girls” from “Sex and the City’s” Michael Patrick King and starring two chicks you’ve probably never heard of.
CBS also is getting back into the touched by angel cum talking to dead folks business on Friday nights.
And, in one of this week’s bigger scheduling surprises, a broadcast network has actually scheduled a series on Saturday night, bucking the “Saturday, Rerun Theatre” trend. Sure, it’s just one sitcom, and it’s just CBS’s utility player “Rules of Engagement,” but the network gets props for testing the theory that David Spade fans will follow him anywhere. If it works, it drives more viewers into the half-hour that follows, where CBS plans to “double pump” its new comedies, to get them better sampled.
“We had an embarrassment of riches” CBS programming chief Nina Tassler told The Reporters Who Cover Television and TV critics at a Wednesday morning Q&A before the network’s afternoon presentation of its new schedule to advertisers.
”We needed another night. We needed Sunursday.”
“Person of Interest” is CBS’s highest testing drama pilot in 15 years, CBS scheduling chief Kelly Kahl said at the breakfast news conference.
“We were looking for an opportunity to hit a home run.” Kahl said of the “CSI” swap for “PoI.” The new drama, Kahl said, had “crazy broad appeal you don’t usually see” in testing, during development season this spring.
“PoI” stars Emerson as a software billionaire who invented a program that uses pattern recognition to identify people about to be involved in violent crime. He teams up with a presumed dead former CIA agent to stop crimes before they happen. One reporter noted CBS suits have in the past scoffed at JJ shows because they tend to be drenched in mythology, burn very bright and flame out fast, and wondered if CBS suits were worried this one would go the way of, say “Fringe.”