CBS has made the bulk of its new series orders for next season with pickups for a whopping four dramas, NCIS: New Orleans, Madam Secretary, Stalker (formerly untitled Kevin Williamson) and Scorpion. They join previously ordered straight to series Battle Creek. On the comedy side the picks went to Matthew Perry’s The Odd Couple reboot, to be run by Bob Daily, who has closed a new deal with CBS Studios, and multi-generational family comedy The McCarthys.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
Besides the large number of dramas (CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves had told investors the network would pick up two new hourlong series for next season), what’s remarkable about the list is the pilots that did not make it — most notably the planted CSI spinoff starring Patricia Arquette and the How I Met Your Mother spinoff How I Met Your Dad. I hear talks on the CSI spinoff, which would be a big moneymaker for CBS’ sibling CBS Studios, are ongoing and are expected to result in a pickup (UPDATE: CBS Picks Up ‘CSI: Cyber’ To Series). Things are more complicated with 20th Century Fox TV-produced How I Met Your Dad. Just as those false pickup rumors began circulating yesterday, we started to to hear that CBS may not go forward with the high-profile project. It is unclear yet if that is genuine disinterest in the show or a negotiating tactic to get a piece of it. CBS is known to drop bombs before, like last year’s pass on The Beverly Hills Cop pilot. And the network and HIMYD producer 20th TV had a rough negotiations for Friends With Better Lives last May. CBS owns or co-owns (with Sony TV) all newly picked up comedy series and all but one (Warner Bros. TV’s Stalker) drama. With Stalker, WBTV saw all seven of its drama pilots go to series. (Its eight one, which didn’t go, was a planted spinoff, Bloodlines, which aired as an episode of Supernatural.)
CBS usually picks up its new series over the weekend before the upfronts unless there is an A-list producer who commands a Friday deadline. Last year it was Chuck Lorre with Mom, this time I hear it was Williamson with Stalker. In those cases, CBS normally picks up shows for the fall schedule plus an occasional backup show. If it sticks to tradition, CBS just gave us a glimpse at its fall lineup. Though, with so many new comedies, not all of the orders will be geared toward full-season runs ala Hostages and Intelligence, which shared a time slot last season, with Stalker and Battle Creek potential contenders.
As for the the pilots that did make cut, there are no big surprises. The Tea Leoni-starring DC drama Madam Secretary, from Barbara Hall, had been an early frontrunner, with NCIS: New Orleans starring Scott Bakula, the scary Stalker and action-driven Scorpion all solid contenders. The Odd Couple was the only fully owned CBS comedy pilot that is based on a big CBS property and toplined by a big TV star, Perry. Originally a dark horse, The McCarthys had been slowly but steadily picking up momentum. A happy ending for the show, which came oh so close to a series order last season. The multi-generational comedy, which was re-piloted, is seen as a good companion for CBS’ Mike & Molly or The Millers. The McCarthys star Lauri Metcalf, who also is a regular on HBO’s Getting On, will be able to juggle both shows. Note that no single-camera comedies have made it on the CBS schedule so far as the network seems to be pulling back from the genre after venturing into it last season with The Crazy Ones and We Are Men.
Here are the network’s descriptions of the new shows:
PICKED UP DIRECT TO SERIES FOR NEXT SEASON
STUDIO: Sony TV/CBS TV Studios
TEAM: Vince Gilligan (ep), David Shore (ep), Mark Johnson (ep), Bryan Singer (d, ep)
LOGLINE: Two detectives with very different worldviews are teamed up and must answer the question: Are cynicism, guile and deception enough to clean up the semi-mean streets of Battle Creek, Mich., in the face of a complete lack of resources; or is the exact opposite true – it takes naïveté, trust and a boatload of resources?
CAST: Josh Duhamel, Kal Penn, Janet McTeer, Dean Winters, Aubrey Dollar, Edward Fordham Jr
STUDIO: CBS TV Studios
TEAM: Barbara Hall (w, ep), Morgan Freeman (ep), Lori McCreary (ep), Tracy Mercer (ep), David Semel (d)
LOGLINE: Explores the personal and professional life of a maverick female Secretary of State as she drives international diplomacy, wrangles office politics and balances a complex family life.
CAST: Tea Leoni, Tim Daly, Bebe Neuwirth, Erich Bergen, Geoffrey Arend, Patina Miller, Evan Roe, Katherine Herzer
NCIS: NEW ORLEANS
STUDIO: CBS Studios
TEAM: Mark Harmon (ep), Gary Glasberg (w, ep)
LOGLINE: Set at the NCIS New Orleans office, which handles cases from Pensacola through Mississippi and Louisiana to the Texas panhandle.
CAST: Scott Bakula, Paige Turco, Lucas Black, CCH Pounder, Zoe McLellan
STUDIO: CBS TV Studios
TEAM: Nick Santora (w, ep), Justin Lin (d, ep), Alex Kurtzman (ep), Roberto Orci (ep), Walter O’Brien (ep), Heather Kadin (ep), Scooter Braun (ep), Danny Rose (co-ep), Danielle Woodrow (co-ep),Troy Craig Poon
LOGLINE: An eccentric genius and his international network of super-geniuses form the last line of defense against the complex threats of the modern age.
CAST: Elyes Gabel, Robert Patrick, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Ari Stidham, Ernie Hudson
STALKER (Formerly UNTITLED KEVIN WILLIAMSON)
STUDIO: Warner Bros TV
TEAM: Kevin Williamson (w, ep), Liz Friedlander (d)
LOGLINE: Psychological thriller revolves around a pair of detectives who handle stalking incidents for the Threat Management Unit of the LAPD.
CAST: Dylan McDermott, Maggie Q, Mariana Klaveno, Victor Rasuk
THE McCARTHYS (multi-camera)
STUDIO: Sony TV
TEAM: Brian Gallivan (w, ep), Will Gluck (ep), Richie Schwartz (ep), Mike Sikowitz (ep)
LOGLINE: Story about a big Irish Catholic, sports-crazed Boston clan and the gay son whose greatest sin is not his sexuality but his desire to spend less time with his family.
CAST: Jack McGee, Joey McIntyre, Laurie Metcalf, Jimmy Dunn, Kelen Coleman, Tyler Ritter
THE ODD COUPLE (multi-camera)
STUDIO: CBS TV Studios
TEAM: Matthew Perry (w, ep), Joe Keenan (w), Carl Beverly (ep), Sarah Timberman (ep), Eric Tannenbaum (ep), Kim Tannenbaum (ep)
LOGLINE: Reboot of the classic series about the messy Oscar Madison and the neat-freak Felix Unger, who are roommates.
CAST: Matthew Perry, Thomas Lennon, Sarah Baker, Wendell Pierce, Georgia King, Lindsay Sloane