NEW YORK CITY--CBS spoke about its fall schedule with reporters this morning, and it once again attempted to debunk the myth that it only attracts old people. As CBS CEO Les Moonves would later say at the network's presentation to advertisers, "Who says we're not sexy?"
Whispering to ghosts, communicating with the dead--the only thing missing from CBS' new fall Friday lineup is a mentalist. That would have completed the Eye network's sixth-sense trifecta on Friday nights, but alas, Numb3rs is staying put at 10 p.m. Fridays and The Mentalist (starring Simon Baker as a "mentalist" who's not a real mind-reader anyway) will be moving to Thursday nights from Tuesdays.
It was a significant (even unpredictable) move, since The Mentalist was the highest-rated new series on network TV this past season. Usually, such shows remain in place, in order to build a lead-in audience for a new show in the following time period. This time, CBS felt it would simply strengthen its Thursday slate.
"We're going to take a show that was the number-one new show this year, pair it with the number-one drama on TV [CSI at 9] and really try to make a super block," CBS programming exec Kelly Kahl told reporters at CBS headquarters.
CBS, like ABC, sees all kinds of opportunities for dramas at 10 because of Jay Leno's new nightly 10 o'clock show on NBC. That leaves only Private Practice on ABC to face The Mentalist on Thursdays next fall.
CBS's head of programming, Nina Tassler, explained why CBS picked up Medium from NBC. "It's got a similar sensibility to Ghost Whisperer, but it's got a crime-solving element," she said. "So if Ghost Whisperer and Numb3rs had an off-spring, it would be Medium!"
Real or imagined, CBS has long had a reputation for drawing the oldest viewers in the network television business. As usual, CBS execs announced their intention to "get younger." And how will they do that? With a new spinoff of NCIS called NCIS: Los Angeles, starring Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J.
"I think, LL Cool J you can't deny has a younger appeal," CBS's Nina Tassler she said of the rapper turned actor, 41, who first came to prominence way back in 1985 with his first hip-hop hit, "I Can't Live Without My Radio."
Later in the day, LL actually took the stage at Carnegie Hall during CBS' presentation to advertisers, and performed a knockout rendition of "Mama Said Knock You Out." The song is 19-years old (it was released in 1990), but at 41, LL's still got it going on.
Tassler's also excited about Alex O'Loughlin, as are many other women, she said of the former star of the vampire series Moonlight on CBS. O'Loughlin is starring in a new Sunday hospital drama for CBS, Three Rivers, about a transplant facility in Pittsburgh. "Alex has a huge broad appeal," Tassler said. "We know from the demos back then, the viewers who responded when he was on our network last time, that's a very robust, youthful, female audience."