When touting CBS’ comedy lineup in his opening remarks at TCA, CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller singled out “the biggest of them all,” The Big Bang Theory. The highest rated comedy on television is now entering its 10th season, the last of a three-year renewal deal with producer Warner Bros. TV and last of the current contracts of the show’s principal cast. Both a license deal with the studio and pacts with the cast need to be hammered out in the next 10 months, but Geller sounded optimistic today.
“We are very confident that everyone involved wants more Big Bang beyond Year 10, and we know that Warner Bros. will make these deals,” he said.
While there was hope that talks with the actors would start before the series goes into production on Season 10, that has not happened yet. And while WBTV will handle negotiations, CBS will carry a lot (or all) of the cost, which is the case for older series. The three main stars, Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco, are already in the Friends range of $1 million an episode, and could eclipse that in the upcoming go-around.
Speaking of comedy, Geller identified CBS’ brand as “big, multi-camera comedies with families — at home or at work.” Indeed, the vast majority of CBS’ comedy lineup is multi-camera, as are all newly picked up series. The network made a big push in single-camera comedies under Geller’s predecessor Nina Tassler, including putting Life In Pieces on the air. The single-camera comedy was renewed for a second season, and CBS also is taking another look on its 2016 single-camera comedy Furst Born.
But, maybe sensing the message his definition of the CBS brand could send to creators and producers, Geller was quick to add, “That does not to say we don’t buy single-camera shows.”
Geller also was asked about the decision to pick up MacGyver and put it on the fall schedule while discarding the produced pilot, keeping only two cast members from the first pilot, star Lucas Till and George Eads, and hiring a new showrunner, Hawaii Five-0‘s Peter Lenkov, to create a new concept and write a new script.
“At the end of the day we had Lucas Till, George Eads, we had an iconic franchise and Peter Lenkov who said I will do this,” said Geller, who noted Lenkov’s success rebooting Hawaii Five-0 for the network. (Lenkov co-created the show Hawaii with Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman and has run it for its entire run.) “Knowing we had these two actors, an iconic IP and Peter Lenkov, we thought we had more than enough.”
As MacGyver came on, CBS’ freshman drama Supergirl departed CBS for the CW but the network is not closing the door on the superhero genre.
“If we heard the right superhero pitch, we would absolutely buy it,” Geller said.