CBS Adds 6 New Shows, Makes Deal with Charlie Sheen
NEW YORK - CBS is adding four new dramas and two comedies next season after network officials breathed a sigh of relief over an 11th-hour deal with Charlie Sheen that will ensure top-rated Two and a Half Men stays on its schedule for the next two seasons.
The network is again sticking with tried-and-true procedurals, including a Criminal Minds spinoff starring Forest Whitaker and a new Hawaii Five-0 starring Alex O'Loughlin as Steve McGarrett.
Familiar faces William Shatner and Tom Selleck are getting their own series. And CBS will add Mike and Molly, a third sitcom from producer Chuck Lorre (Men and The Big Bang Theory) about an "overeating" Chicago couple: He's a cop; she's a teacher.
Sheen, whose contract expires this month, signed a pact late Monday with producer Warner Bros. that will pay him $1.8 million an episode including his share of syndication fees, making him by far the top-paid TV star.
The big scheduling questions: Will CBS move one or more shows in its flagging CSI franchise? It's likely. And will Two and a Half Men (or Big Bang) be shuffled to Wednesday to launch a new male-centered comedy block with Shatner's tentatively titled My Dad Says, based on a popular Twitter feed about an outspoken pop?
The network is clearing its schedule to make room, which suggests most of the newcomers will premiere this fall. Among the on-the-fence series, Cold Case, Miami Medical, The New Adventures of Old Christine and Accidentally on Purpose are goners, as are Ghost Whisperer and Gary Unmarried. Rules of Engagement and Medium are due back. (ABC has expressed interest in picking up Christine or Ghost.) Numb3rs also has been axed, as expected.
Other new CBS series are Defenders, a slightly comedic drama starring Jim Belushi (According to Jim) and Jerry O'Connell as "charismatic and fiery" Las Vegas lawyers; and Blue Bloods, a drama starring Selleck about a multigenerational clan of cops.
CBS is averaging a first-place 11.8 million viewers, up slightly, and ranks second among young adults, where its tally is unchanged from last season.