“Is thatAshton Kutcher?
” asked a colleague at the CBS party last night.
As it turns out, no, the tall drink standing in a white suit 50 feet away from us was someone else. But this was more than a case of my compatriot’s middle-aged eyesight. CBS throws great parties at TV critics’ tour. Producers galore were on hand:J.J. Abrams
of the CBS fall show“Person of Interest,”
the good-looking 9/11 conspiracy thriller being produced for CBS-owned pay channelShowtime
. I had a pleasant talk withMike Naidus
of“The Late Late Show,”
about the week of shows they shot in Paris with hostCraig Ferguson
(the episodes started airing this week, but after my bedtime;here’s more
). Ferguson’s foreign foray adds yet another favorable comparison to the late, greatJack Paar.
But nobody from“Two and a Half Men”
was there.You can read my story yesterday
on how top CBS execNina Tassler
danced around their absence. So you can’t blame us for projecting our hopes on every Ashton lookalike in the crowd.
In other news, the newsmanScott Pelley
flew in from New York to promote the“CBS Evening News.”
One of the specters hanging over the CBS News organization is the aftermath of budget cutting, bureau closing and correspondent slashing, so I thought we’d get right into it: Now that a new (less expensive) anchor is in place, and CBS is promoting the “world class reporting of60 Minutes
” as a defining principle for the Pelley “Evening News,” can we expect to see a commensurate beefing up in resources around the anchor?
In a word, no.
“We’ve got the people that we need,” Pelley said in reply to my question. “A shortage of resources, frankly, is just not something I worry about every morning.”
His new boss, recently installed CBS News chiefDavid Rhodes,
doubled down on thrift.
“I think that’s a misnomer,” Rhodes said. “You hear some people tell stories of sort of the wild, bad old days of network news ... We traveled around. There was somebody holding the door for me. I’m not convinced that the journalism was any better for that there was that kind of spending.”
Of the five new CBS series, the most impressive pilot (to me) was for “Person of Interest.” It’s about a shadowy billionaire (Michael “Linus” Emerson
) who hires a capable con man (Jim “the Christ” Caviezel
) to go after even bigger criminals to help keep Gotham safe. (Gotham’s already safe, but let’s suspend disbelief, shall we?) By the way, with the addition of Kutcher’s Richie Rich character on “Men” that makes two billionaire characters on CBS shows this fall. Now “Undercover Boss” just needs to deliver and we have a trend!
Despite the fact that “POI” beamed in its panel by satellite from the East Coast, where the show is shooting, and despite the fact that the show’s producer talked too much and the network asked journalists to identify themselves by name and outlet (a long-established no-no at TCA), I came away even more eager to see episodes two, three and later of “POI.”
Today, as I write this, CBS-owned Showtime and CW are presenting their shows, highlighted by an appearance fromSir Paul McCartney.
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