5 items from 2007
NEW YORK -- CBS is rolling the dice on a casino-based musical and several other unconventional series the network unveiled Wednesday, with the intent to shake up the network's stodgy sensibility.
Viva Laughlin, a drama that features gamblers belting out pop tunes, is just one example of how CBS wants to draw outside the chalk lines of a schedule already stocked with crime procedurals, albeit shows comprising the industry's most stable lineup. Other edgy dramas come in the form of Cane, a Scarface-esque epic starring Jimmy Smits, and Moonlight, a Joel Silver production featuring a lovelorn vampire detective.
"Our strong, solid schedule allows us to push the envelope next fall," CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves said at the opening of the network's upfront presentation at Carnegie Hall.
The entire presentation was a relatively slim 75 minutes, with none of the elaborately pretaped skits Madison Avenue has come to expect from CBS.
Some comic relief came from customized video snippets featuring the melodramatic line readings of CSI: Miami star David Caruso. He set up scheduling announcements with howlers like, "Monday's so bright you gotta wear shades," before walking out onstage, joining CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler.
Five new series -- four dramas and one comedy -- will join CBS' schedule in the fall, with at least two more slated for midseason.
Like NBC, CBS opted not to open a second comedy night, adding its sole new half-hour series, The Big Bang Theory, to the network's established comedy block at 8:30 p.m. Monday, sandwiched between How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men. However, the network is still considering single-camera pilots I'm in Hell and The Captain for midseason.
The most-talked-about CBS program next season might come on the unscripted side: Kid Nation, a new franchise in which 40 children spend 40 days without their parents trying to organize their own society in an abandoned ghost town. The series is being slotted in the 8 p.m. Wednesday slot left open by Jericho, a first-year drama CBS has opted not to bring back.
An even more provocative series is being held over for midseason: Swingtown, a 1970s-era drama originally intended for cable that will depict swinging couples. »
CBS is swinging for the fences on the drama side and staying close to tradition on the comedy side.
On Monday, the network picked up four drama pilots to series: the musical mystery Viva Laughlin, the partner-swapping period drama Swingtown, the vampire crime drama Moonlight and the Latin family drama Cane.
On the returning front, CBS is close to bringing back the freshman comedy Rules of Engagement and the sophomore sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine. Christine, which saw its ratings soften when it was moved from 9:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday, is rumored to get a 13-episode midseason order.
Erika Christensen and David Cross have been tapped to co-star in CBS' comedy pilot I'm in Hell. Meanwhile, former American Idol finalist Lisa Tucker has been cast in the Fox drama pilot Born in the USA and Janina Gavankar has been added to the CW comedy pilot Dash 4 Cash.
I'm in Hell, from CBS Paramount Network TV, centers on a highflying Wall Street player (Jason Biggs) who dies in a BlackBerry-related car crash, but because hell is at full capacity, he is reassigned to Hell on Earth and must figure out a way to get by without his career and all the trappings of his former existence.
Christensen will play a nanny and love interest for Biggs' character who also is in the Hell on Earth program. Christensen, who co-stars on ABC's Six Degrees, next appears in Gardener of Eden, directed by Kevin Connolly and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, which is slated to premiere this month at the Tribeca Film Festival. She is repped by UTA and the Collective. »
Sarah Brown is set to co-star in Fox's drama pilot Company Man, Timm Sharp has been tapped to co-star opposite Jason Biggs in CBS' comedy pilot I'm in Hell, Ian Gomez has joined Fox's comedy pilot The Beast, and child actor Nathan Gamble has landed the lead in Fox's untitled Victor Fresco comedy pilot.
Man, from 20th TV and Real Time Prods., centers on a family man (Jason Behr) who winds up recruited by the NSA as a spy within the defense contracting company he works for. Brown will play the man's co-worker.
Hell, from CBS Par TV, centers on a dead Wall Street player (Biggs) who is reassigned to hell on Earth. Sharp will play his "roommate from hell," a slovenly, disreputable guy.
Beast, from CBS Par TV and FremantleMedia, centers on a womanizing veterinarian (Steve Howey). »
The project, from CBS Paramount Network TV, stars Jason Biggs as a high-flying Wall Street player who dies in a BlackBerry-related car crash. Because Hell is at full capacity, he is reassigned to Hell on Earth and must figure out a way to get by without his career and all the fabulous trappings of his former existence.
Coraci is best known for his collaborations with actor Adam Sandler. He directed the former Saturday Night Live star in 1998's The Waterboy and The Wedding Singer and, most recently, in Click last year.
He is repped by Endeavor, Management 360 and attorney Jason Sloane. »
5 items from 2007
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