CBS Boss Talks Snubbed Good Wife (and Denies End Date), Defends 'Old' NCIS, Previews Colbert's Late Show

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CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler fielded questions Thursday at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour, addressing major developments at the network — and, of course, The Good Wife‘s recent Emmy snub.

RELATED NCIS Alum Cote de Pablo to Star in CBS’ The Dovekeepers Miniseries

“I admit it, I’m still really pissed about The Good Wife,” she began. “But overall, the nominations were very good at CBS,” which lead all broadcasters with 45 total nods. (On the topic of the acclaimed-yet-not drama, Tassler after her press conference firmly refuted any suggestion that an end date is anywhere on the horizon.)

Another veteran series up for debate — or, rather, defense — was NCIS.

“Competitors may call it old-skewing; we call it a billion-dollar franchise,” Tassler said.

Other topics tackled by Tassler during her TCA exec session:

* On passing on How I Met Your Dad, she said, “You really have to look at all of the elements…. Craig [Thomas] and Carter [Bays] and Emily [Spivey] — we adore those guys and we want to stay in business with them. [But] some things about How I Met Your Dad worked, some things didn’t. We’d love the opportunity to take another shot. Big Bang wouldn’t have been Big Bang without redoing that pilot.”

* Speaking of The Big Bang Theory, Tassler asserted that CBS is “feeling very confident that everything will work out” in terms of the cast’s current contract negotiations.

* Also on the sitcom front, Tassler said she renewed The Millers over Friends With Better Lives because as a “family-centric comedy” it has comparatively “more stories yet to be told,” and not solely because CBS owns the former.

RELATED CBS’ Fall Schedule Kicks Off With Thursday Night Football; 2-1/2 Men, Elementary Premiere in Late October

* The midseason drama Battle Creek — a Vince Gilligan project that was originally pitched to the network 12 years ago — was also further explained. “The year that Vince sold us that script, we bought it … and then he went across town and sold another little show [Breaking Bad] that kind of occupied his time for a couple years…. This was the first window of opportunity where he was free.”

* Former NCIS star Cote de Pablo’s upcoming Dovekeepers miniseries was briefly mentioned, but only in terms of maintaining diversity on the network.

* Though CBS hasn’t confirmed a date for Stephen Colbert to take over the Late Show, Tassler said talks have begun. They’ve also “had very early conversations [with Colbert] regarding format. We know he’s retiring his [Colbert Report] character. He does want an interview format. He’s thinking about [whether or not he'll have a band.]“

* As for who — and what — ends up following Colbert, Tassler said we might all be surprised. “There’s certainly a knee-jerk reaction to go for a more traditional, behind-the-desk interview format, but who knows? This is an opportunity us look at all kinds of hosts — not only from the comic world, but maybe the political world. Right now, we’re doing our homework and having a lot of meetings and talking. We want to make the right decision.”

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45 Comments
  1. Concerned says:

    Any mention of crazy ones?

  2. Claire says:

    “* Former NCIS star Cote de Pablo’s upcoming Dovekeepers miniseries was briefly mentioned, but only in terms of maintaining diversity on the network.” I’m either reading too much into something, or I’m sensing some shade. Still miffed about Cote not being on NCIS :(

    • mary says:

      I think because it was just announced, & they’re still working on all the preliminaries of the miniseries. So not much to talk about.

    • as524 says:

      probably thinking shade because of your feelings about ziva/NCIS.

      Don’t see the big deal. an actress quit her job to pursue other avenues – which she is doing

    • Adam says:

      If you are so “miffed” write Cote and reprimand her–she was the one who left–she wasn’t fired. How dare someone, who put eight long years into a job, just up and QUIT like that–I mean, it’s not like it is her decision…oh, wait.

      • Maria says:

        I am more angry at the lack of closure of the Ziva storyline. I either want her back as a regular or they need to give us some actual good closure on Ziva and subsequently Tiva if Cote indeed confirms that she is done with the show. There is no way I accept what happened in Past Present Future as a good way to close out the storyline of a character with eight years of history in which she developed into a complex and compelling character. It is completely ridiculous that the rest of the characters forgot Ziva and it just really destroyed what they had developed for years.

        • Keith says:

          There was closure. Tony asked Ziva to come back with him from Israel in episode 2. She refused him. Isn’t that closure enough for you?

          • Gabi says:

            Where was the scene where she actually said no? I did not see such a scene. In addition there was never a scene where she said the terms of her staying and she even left him her Star of David which further complicates things and means that her relationship with Tony is still ambiguous.
            Furthermore she was left alone in the middle of a mental breakdown in Israel without a job or any life goals. Clearly I do not see her living this way for the next four decades so there needs to be some resolution to this storyline or at the very least some mention that she is better or at least is making improvements. Eventually culminating with finding out what she will be doing as a job and her life goals. So no there was no closure and while they refuse to even mention her there will still be no closure as she will still be living a miserable existence and not improving to eventually overcome her issues even if the resolution ends up being offscreen.

  3. JJM says:

    Talks about approaching The Mentalist or The Good Wife as final seasons would have been good.

    • as524 says:

      That was discussed for Good Wife, I guess…if the () was any indication.
      TBH, I’m shocked mentalist is even still around

    • Tran says:

      The Mentalist should have a final season but is CBS thinking about a possible final season of CSI?

  4. Tran says:

    Hope Stephen Colbert is going to do a great job as the new host of Late Show. Still no word on who’s going to replaced Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show? My money’s on Norm MacDonald.

    • Liberals Steal says:

      Not going to happen. He’s already failed at Comedy Central in this role, had his share of critics (and to be fair some fans) when he did it on SNL, and is just not a “mainstream” or “popular” enough pick.

      There’s less than zero chance of this happening (meaning CBS should pay to even negotiate with him, before he swiftly turns them down) but I think the perfect fit would be Dave Chappelle. You get diversity at the network, yet someone all audiences would enjoy, and you get the chance to do something different. There would be some signs where you let him just do 30 minutes of stand-up if that’s what he wants, and others maybe you have the kind of African-American guests that rarely get booked on these shows.

      Plus, the idea of him doing the obgliatory interviews with the Kardashians and political figures would get not only the regular viewers that tune in for that crap, but also a younger audience who knows it will be gold.

  5. Shaun says:

    She seems super defensive…..get her a Xanex

  6. J says:

    I hope there isn’t an end to The Good Wife anytime soon. Sure its not the highest rated or most watched series on CBS but the quality of the show especially going into its sixth season speaks volumes.

    • Steven says:

      (On the topic of the acclaimed-yet-not drama, Tassler after her press conference firmly refuted any suggestion that an end date is anywhere on the horizon.) Sounds like a good sign. But if ratings drop they can instantly change their minds. Here’s hoping they at least get the 7 years they envisioned.

  7. Bob Smith says:

    The “target demo” audience has no money compared with older viewers. Madison Avenue needs to rethink their marketing approach and realize that NCIS and older skewing shows offer them more monetary rewards than the 18-49 age group.

    • Shaun says:

      Demo is about us youngins being more willing to change brands,so that’s why the commercials are targeting us.Old people are usually set in their ways or on a budget.

      • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

        Yup.

        • M3rc Nate says:

          Is there proof commercials work? I ask cause i have NEVER seen a commercial and then wanted to go buy that thing…ESPECIALLY not extremely well known brands like Doritos or Coke/Pepsi…now dont get me wrong, if its a commercial showing off something new, i might be like “hey ill give that a try”, but anything else? No. The only time i support a show with its commercial products is when is very very intimate. For example podcasts, youtube channels, TV shows like Chuck (Subway)…that type of stuff. When a show has a relationship with their sponsors and really really needs their support, i back them…buying from amazon using their link, buying a product from their sponsor company…but main stream commercials on network/cable TV feel so impersonal (and poorly made, so generic to reach all audiences) that i cant imagine it working on many people.

          • I quite deliberately DO NOT buy products I’ve seen advertised. But I guess I’m just an annoying bug in that respect.

          • herman1959 says:

            If we are talking about adults, I would say that most commercials do not work except when the product has some type of novelty attached to it. An example would be the iPad, certain prescription drugs, and those “as seen on tv” gadgets. Most people (even young ones) maintain brand loyalty on routine items like bread, detergent, etc. Now, if we are talking about children, yes commercials work very well.

          • Hannah says:

            There are people whose whole life is researching advertising. Yes, it does work or people wouldn’t spend millions of dollars on it. The way it works is not usually someone seeing a commercial and immediately going out to get the thing, commercials build brand awareness. There has probably been a time you’ve been confronted with a choice in many different brands and you grabbed the one that you had heard of before and perhaps had subconscious positive ideas about.

      • puredieselbc says:

        Bob’s right, most of the viewers in the demo don’t make anywhere near the money that people in that same demo made 20-30 years ago. Plus so many 18-49 year olds dvr or download their shows for free, it makes you wonder what the hell the advertisers are actually paying the networks for.

    • Angela says:

      Thing is, even if they did try that, that probably still wouldn’t work in older people’s favor, because there’s a lot of people in that 18-49 demographic who watch a lot of those “older skewing” shows on CBS more and more now, too. So either way they’re still getting a lot of what they want from the demo they covet.
      I agree that making a lot of assumptions about people and their viewing/buying habits based on their ages can be a ridiculous thing a lot of the time, because not everyone in a certain age group thinks or does things the same way, or shares similar interests, or whatever. But it is what it is, and so long as the old models of monitoring TV habits remain in place, things aren’t likely to change anytime soon on the demo front.

  8. Eric7740 says:

    How about why they cancelled the number one comedy from the last tv season, The Crazy Ones. If they’re going to address FWBL cancellation. I’m just saying…

    • CBS seems to love total viewers over high demos, and since total viewers was down despite being one of the highest-rated new comedies in the demos, plus the budget was probably a bit high, that’s all she wrote. Damn shame.

      Side note, I’m still annoyed about the TV Line ratings article that claimed, “Bad Teacher schools the Crazy Ones, since the latter was on repeat.” The irrational part of my brain keeps wanting to blame that article as the last straw for CBS to axe it (again, irrational).

  9. Derek says:

    How about a true late night music show to follow Colbert? Get a host that is connected to the music scene, like a Dave Holmes or Matt Pinfield. Have one or two musical guests per night, depending on whether its a 30 or 60 minute show. Each performer gets 2 songs, then an interview segment, then another song or two. Everything could be either live (if in LA) or live on tape if on the East Coast. Arrangements could be made for festivals like Coachella, Burning Man, SXSW, Record Store Day, etc ..

    • herman1959 says:

      Great, but it sounds expensive and at that late hour it would be difficult to get enough commercial sponsorship to cover the costs. Commercial/network television is a bear!

  10. RB says:

    Glad to see that Cote de pablo will be back on CBS. However it will not stop my family, friends and I from asking to have her back as Ziva David on NCIS.

    • Maria says:

      Hopefully this is a good sign that eventually she will be brought back as a regular. In the meantime I will enjoy all the roles she takes up.

    • Adam says:

      Well, go ask Cote–she was the one that quit. I truly do not get what the deal is with the “we want her brought back!” The woman QUIT for her own reasons. No more no less. You shouldn’t be asking CBS at all–

      • Kimmie says:

        Thanks Adam! Apparently people do not understand simple English, that being, Cote de Pablo left because she wanted to! She chose to leave! CBS NEVER FIRED HER!! That being said, all the letters and campaigning to CBS to bring Cote back that people waste precious time on is NOT going to work!! Try and understand simple english people – CBS CANNOT AND WILL NOT (NOR CAN ANYBODY, MICHAEL, MARK, ETC) BRING BACK COTE IF SHE, COTE DE PABLO, DOES NOT WANT TO RETURN! That being said, here’s a grand idea, stop fighting a battle, stop campaigning for something that’s impossible. What do you want CBS to do? Hold Cote at gun-point and say, “Ms de Pablo you have to come back to NCIS or else!” CBS tried to keep her, they offered her a contract – it was probably not what Cote wanted – but they DID offer her contract which Cote refused.

  11. Carolyn says:

    It’a nice knowing that even the CEO of CBS is disappointed over the snub of The Good Wife. As to the topic of an end date, it doesn’t matter because I’ll be watching as long as the Kings continue writing, and the actors performing their magic!! One of the very few network shows, I’ll never miss!!

  12. Vi says:

    So tired of everyone always wanting “Ziva” back. Cote left. It’s over, please move on!

    • Bootsnchaps says:

      Maybe she got tired of playing to one of the most annoying characters on TV (Tony) and was ready for a break. I was and stopped watching last season.

  13. Angela says:

    Really hoping things go well with Stephen Colbert’s show. I’d be quite intrigued to see whom he’d have for a house band, should he go that route-it’d be great if he could have a fun band similar to the Roots on Fallon’s show. I’m also hoping that he can have the kinds of interviews he has on “Colbert Report”-some celebrities here and there, but also a lot of authors and professors and scientists and such as well. It’d be great to bring that sort of intellectual aspect back to the talk show format.
    And I’ll be very intrigued to see who they decide to pick to follow Ferguson. The guy made a nice little cult following for himself for the past nine years, so I’ll be curious if they want to keep that or not.

  14. Moment says:

    I can see The Good Wife making the jump to Friday next season, and Elementary taking its 9pm Sunday slot. If CBS are serious about wanting to keep Elementary alive, it’ll be moved for Season 4.

    Something like.

    Sundays

    8pm: The Amazing Race
    9pm: Elementary
    10pm: CSI/CSI Cyber/Other show

    Would be brilliant.

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