Going through all these CBS pilots, I could see practically all of them be picked up. Most are quite good, and there’s not a ludicrious one in the bunch. However, there are 11 dramas and 12 comedies on the pilot list. That’s 17 hours of television! CBS has 22 hours per week to program, and two of those hours are Saturday repeats. Only one drama and one comedy has been cancelled this season, and only three dramas are at risk of cancellation. There aren’t many slots left.
One could get creative. Programming is a year round thing now, but CBS’ procedurals and comedies like The Big Bang Theory do very well in repeats. Perhaps though, repeats will be needed for summer viewing and those Saturday slots. Survivor too might be better as a summer show. Comedies fill slots nicely, but dramas don’t. Still, I only see room for four dramas and six comedies at most.
Miss my initial analysis of CBS pilots? That can be found here:
Beverly Hills Cop –
- Casting: Brandon T. Jackson, Eddie Murphy, Christine Lahti, David Denman, Kevin Pollak, Sheila Vand
- New info: None. It’s Beverly Hills Cop: The Next Generation.
- Confidence level: Good-ish. Shawn Ryan, Barry Sonnenfeld, Eddie Murphy…that’s quite a producer’s list. Ryan alone has me hopeful this won’t be lame. Still, I have doubts this will be in a hit in 18-49 demos.
- Casting: Josh Holloway, Marg Helgenberger, James Martinez, John Billingsley, Meghan Ory, Michael Rady, P.J. Byrne
- New info: Holloway is the agent at US Cyber Command that will have a microchip in his brain. This gives him the ability to access the entire electromagnetic spectrum. What that means is anyone’s idea!
- Confidence level: Hopeful. This sounds way better than any of the bland front running procedurals. I’m actually stunned it’s on CBS. They need something like this for diversity. The casting is excellent.
- Casting: Adam Rodriguez, Anna Wood, Cam Gigandet, Georgina Haig, Gregory Harrison, Kim Wayans, Michael Gladis, Shawn Hatosy.
- New info: Wood plays a “gorgeous” Yankee litigator. Aww, why can’t it be an ugly one? Her “intense” attraction is to Gigandet’s character.
- Confidence level: Toss-up. I have no idea who these actors are. So, either they’re going to have sparks from the word go that will surprise everyone, or people will write this off as just another lame idea that went very wrong thanks to desperate casting monkeys.
- Casting: Jason Lee, Christina Cole, Derek Luke, Erik Jensen, Jill Scott, Kim Dickens, Madison Moellers.
- New info: None, except the condition that will be plaguing Lee’s character. Azoors Syndrome. Google it.
- Confidence level: Good. I love Lee, the premise can fly, and Carol Mendelsohn’s name is on it. I just hope they don’t make New Orleans look like Los Angeles.
The Surgeon General
- Casting: Jason Isaacs, Sean Astin, Beth Riesgraf, Katherine McNamara, Kathryn Morris, Mike Colter
- New info: None. It’s about the Surgeon General. Duh. Astin is the dude in charge of the nation’s mental health though. Oh, so he’s playing a bad guy? (Yes, I’m joking, but I’m not).
- Confidence level: Still good. It’s an awesome premise, and I like it will be an Atlanta based show. That adds to the character.
The Advocates –
- Casting: Ben McKenzie, Mandy Moore, Brit Morgan, CCH Pounder, Esai Morales.
- New info: None really. Premise is the same. A lawyer and an ex-con fight to right the wrongs of the law and give the underdog a chance. Because this is America dammit.
- Confidence level: Sure thing. Why? David Nutter is directing the pilot for Warner Brothers. That’s as good as a guarantee your show will be picked up. The guy never loses. Plus it sounds like Mandy Moore landed on her feet. On the sad side, casting Ben McKenzie as the lead must mean Southland is done, huh?
The Anatomy of Violence –
- Casting: Skeet Ulrich, David Harewood, Amber Tamblyn.
- New info: It’s based on a book! A nonfiction book at that, so it must be real. Ulrich plays the psychologist, Tamblyn is the FBI agent.
- Confidence level: Poor. Not only has this premise been done before, do you know Skeet Ulrich’s track record with TV shows? He’s responsible for sinking the Criminal Minds spinoff. I not to long ago proclaimed Christian Slater as the new Ted McGinley for the jump the shark casting moniker. Skeet Ulrich is another king in that category.
- Casting: Rainn Wilson, Mamie Gummer, Beatrice Rosen, Camryn Manheim, Dennis Haysbert, Kristopher Polaha, Page Kennedy, Thomas Dekker.
- New info: The premise is more clear. It’s based on a Swedish book series. This is about Everett Backstrom, a cranky, short-tempered, overweight, offensive, detective who tries (and fails) to fix his self destructive tendencies. It’s pretty much the latest incarnation of Greg House.
- Confidence level: Semi-good. I said before with the right casting, this could move to the most promising area. They scored. No wonder Rainn Wilson took this role, as opposed to the crap comedy at NBC he was offered. It sounds something challenging for him.
- Casting: Dylan McDermott, Toni Collette, Billy Brown, James Naughton, Mateus Ward, Quinn Shephard, Rhys Corio, Sandrine Holt, Tate Donovan.
- New info: A surgeon has to operate on the president, but her family has been taken hostage, so she has to kill him. Wasn’t this recently a Person of Interest plot?
- Confidence level: Uncertain. I know I wouldn’t watch this show. I mean, how do you build a whole series on this? Plus, I’m not Jerry Bruckheimer’s biggest fan. However, this does sound like a typical CBS show, so who knows/
- Casting: Sam Neill, Jorge Garcia, Hope Davis, Audra McDonald, Charlie Cox, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Nestor Serrano
- New info: Cox plays an ex-priest from a “Kennedy-esque” type family who becomes a lawyer (that’s a weird career shift), just so he can protect his politician sister from death by assassination. It’s the feel good story of the year!
- Confidence level: Bored. This just isn’t my thing. However, throw “Kennedy-esque” into the mix, and people tend to flock.
Untitled NCIS:Los Angeles Spinoff ProjectNCIS: Red ??
- Casting: John Corbett, Kim Raver, Edwin Hodge, Gillian Alexy, Kenneth Mitchell, Miguel Ferrer, Scott Grimes
- New info: The NCIS Red team travels cross country fighting crimes, which means they are all together 24/7. Kind of kills the personal life, you know? I do love that they live on two trucks named Laverne and Shirley. That’s so twisted I love it.
- Confidence level: Not sure. This backdoor pilot aired Tuesday (3/19). So what did you think? Part two airs next week. Reaction I’ve seen so far has been mixed. To be honest, I don’t like Kim Raver. Plus, I like John Corbett in quirkier roles. But then again, I never cared for NCIS: LA and it’s a hit, so what do I know?
On page 2, the comedy pilots.