Upfronts 2011-12: CBS’s Two and a Half Moves

CBS Men Cryer, Jones and Kutcher: Winning?

Aside from the showy move of parachuting Ashton Kutcher into Two and a Half Men, CBS seemed to play it safe Wednesday, announcing a fairly stand pat schedule. Only five fall shows were added to America’s most-watched schedule, and none seemed to reach past the tried and true CBS formula: procedural crime dramas and buddy sitcoms.”Have you noticed how all CBS hours only involve either cops, lawyers or some sort of super-natural trick? Talk about formula,” says a TVFMF insider who has seen the new offerings.
Case in point: A Gifted Man, a new drama starring Patrick Wilson as, in CBS’s words, “a charismatic, ultra-motivated surgeon whose life changes forever when his deceased ex-wife, Anna (Jennifer Ehle), begins teaching him the meaning of life from the hereafter.”
Exhibit Two: Unforgettable, a new Tuesday drama starring Poppy Montgomery–one of those performers CBS tries to build a show around every two years–as “an enigmatic former detective with a rare condition that makes her able to recall every place, every conversation, every moment of joy and every heartbreak in her life.”

Exhibit Three: Person of Interest, a new crime drama from J.J. Abrams about “a presumed dead former-CIA agent who teams up with a mysterious billionaire to prevent violent crimes by using state-of-the-art technology and their own brand of vigilante justice.” James Caviezel (above) and Michael Emerson star and that’s the key at CBS–casting. Finding the right A-List actor to carry a show, even if it takes two or three shows to pull it together, as it did with Simon Baker before The Mentalist or Alex O’Loughlin before Hawaii FIVE-0.

Broke Girls Dennings and Behrs

The two comedies are 2 Broke Girls (Mondays), starring Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs as a street-smart lass and a former trust fund princess who are down to waitressing at a greasy spoon diner and How to be a Gentleman (Thursdays), another Odd Couple comedy about an uptight columnist (David Hornsby) and a wise guy fitness trainer (Entourage‘s Kevin Dillon).
CBS made room by junking two shows that did well on CTV this season, S#*! My Dad Says and The Defenders and by moving Undercover Boss to mid-season. CSI (Wednesdays at 10) and The Good Wife (Sundays at 9–does CBS smell desperation on ABC’s Desperate Housewives?) are both smart moves.
CBS also has The 2-2 for mid-season, a new cop show from executive producer Robert De Niro which sounds like NYPD Rookie Blue.

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