CBS’s upfronts 2013-4 – a rundown and clips from the new shows

CBS upfronts 2013-14

And thus we reach the apex of the quality pyramid with CBS, everyone’s favourite purveyor of monotonous procedurals and insulting comedies that people still watch. Last year, we got the halfway decent Elementary, the pretty good but still cancelled Vegas, the pretty bad and so unsurprisingly cancelled Golden Boy and Made in Jersey, and the insulting bad and offensive ‘comedy’ Partners. That means that only one of CBS’s new shows actually made it through to the next round – which also shows you just how many bankers CBS already had on its books.

Nevertheless, with CBS having now cancelled old faithfuls CSI: NY and Rules of Engagement, as well as those new shows, there’s a little more room in the schedules for new arrivals, and so there’s more to look at this year. 

Now, I said that CBS was at the apex of the competency pyramid, but that’s really just in terms of making TV shows that don’t look like they suck. Unfortunately, this line-up proves that in terms of making TV shows with stories that don’t suck, CBS is just as bad as every other broadcast network – with perhaps a couple of exceptions: can you spot them?

Here’s the rundown:

New Comedies

  • We Are Men: Four men and their dating issues. Terrible concept, but good cast, including Tony Shalhoub and Kal Penn. However, CBS show-killer Jerry O’Connell is also in there, so it’ll die quickly.
  • Mom: Another Chuck Lorre comedy, starring Anna Faris as a newly sober single mother. Good cast, again, including Nate Corddry) and French Stewart, but in case you missed it, it’s Chuck Lorre.
  • The Millers: Will Arnett gets divorced, inspiring his dad to get divorced and his mum to move in with him. Two characters have already been recast, so make of that what you will.
  • The Crazy Ones: An advertising comedy featuring Robin Williams… and Sarah Michelle Gellar.

New dramas

  • Hostages: Surgeon Toni Collette’s family is taken hostage by Dylan McDermott so that she’ll kill the President. Let’s see them eke that out for a season.
  • Intelligence: Josh Hollway is a spy with a chip in his brain that connects him to the Internet. No, I didn’t just make that up. It’ll probably do well, though.
  • Reckless: A ‘sultry’ legal drama set in Charleston, S.C., where a gorgeous Yankee litigator and a charming Southern attorney must hide their intense mutual attraction as a police sex scandal threatens to tear the city apart. I didn’t make that up either.
  • Friends With Better Lives: Romcom about six friends at different stages in their lives – married, divorced, newly engaged and single – who are outwardly happy, but secretly questioning if their friends have it better. Does at least feature James Van Der Beek.

After the jump, full summaries, trailers for everything except the mid-season replacements, and a schedule.

New Comedies

We Are Men
WE ARE MEN is a single-camera comedy about four single guys living in a short-term apartment complex who unexpectedly find camaraderie over their many missteps in love. 

Carter (Chris Smith), the youngest and most recent addition to the group, moved in after being ditched at the altar mid-ceremony, and is now eager to re-enter the dating scene and get on with his life with some guidance from his “band of brothers”: Frank Russo (Golden Globe and multiple Emmy Award winner Tony Shalhoub), a successful middle-aged clothing manufacturer and four-time divorcée who still fancies himself a ladies man; Gil Bartis (Kal Penn), a small business owner who was caught having the world’s worst affair; and Stuart Strickland (Jerry O’Connell), a speedo-wearing OB/GYN who’s hiding his assets until his second divorce is settled. Jill (Rebecca Breeds) is Frank’s charming and attractive daughter, who stands as the one positive remnant from his failed relationships. 

Armed with a hot tub, pool-side barbeque and plenty of questionable advice, these losers in the marriage department take Carter under their wing to impart their own brand of wisdom about the opposite sex. 

Emmy Award winner Rob Greenberg, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. Rob Greenberg directed the pilot.

Mom
MOM is a comedy from executive producer Chuck Lorre starring Anna Faris as a newly sober single mom raising two children in a world full of temptations and pitfalls, and multiple Emmy Award winner Allison Janney as her critical, estranged mother. Christy (Faris) is a waitress at a posh Napa Valley establishment who is four months clean and doing her best to be a good mom and overcome a history of questionable choices. 

Her sobriety is tested when Bonnie (Janney), her recovering alcoholic mom, reappears chock-full of passive-aggressive insights into Christy’s many mistakes. Bonnie joins Christy’s already complicated circle of relationships: her handsome, married boss – and lover – Gabriel (Nate Corddry); the restaurant’s hot-tempered chef, Rudy (French Stewart); her pretty, 16-going-on-25-year-old daughter, Violet (Sadie Calvano); her sweet but overly honest son, Roscoe (Blake Garrett Rosenthal); her irresponsible ex-husband and Roscoe’s father, Baxter (Matt Jones); and Violet’s clueless boyfriend, Luke (Spencer Daniels). Christy tries to remain positive as she pursues her new path in life, but she faces an uphill battle, surrounded by a dubious support system – and a copious amount of dysfunction. 

Chuck Lorre and Eddie Gorodetsky (“Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory”) are executive producers for Chuck Lorre Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Pamela Fryman directed the pilot. Gemma Baker co-wrote the pilot with Lorre and Gorodetsky.

The Millers
THE MILLERS stars Will Arnett as Nathan Miller, a recently divorced local roving news reporter looking forward to living the singles’ life until his parents’ marital problems unexpectedly derail his plans.

After Nathan finally breaks the news of his divorce to his parents, Carol (Emmy Award winner Margo Martindale) and Tom (Emmy Award winner Beau Bridges), his father is inspired to follow suit and stuns the family when he leaves his wife of 43 years. Already in shock, Jack is even more aghast when his meddlesome mom decides to move in with him. 

Meanwhile, his absent-minded dad imposes upon Nathan’s sister, Debbie, her husband Adam and their daughter Mykayla (Eve Moon). Nathan’s best friend and news cameraman, Ray (JB Smoove), was excited to be Nathan’s wingman in the dating scene, but Carol manages to even cramp his style. Now, as Nathan and his sister settle in with their truly impossible parents, they both wonder just how long the aggravating adjustment period is going to last. 

Emmy winner Greg Garcia (“Raising Hope” and “My Name is Earl”) is the executive producer of THE MILLERS for CBS Television Studios. Emmy Award winner James Burrows directed the pilot.

The Crazy Ones
Academy Award winner Robin Williams returns to series television in THE CRAZY ONES, a single-camera workplace comedy about a larger-than-life advertising genius whose unorthodox methods and unpredictable behavior would get him fired… if he weren’t the boss. Simon Roberts (Williams) is the head of a powerful agency, with the biggest clients and brands in the world, but even more important to him is that his daughter Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is by his side. 

As his partner, Sydney is Simon’s exact opposite – focused, organized and eager to make a name for herself, but also too busy parenting her father, which she’d resent if he wasn’t so brilliant at what he does. Joining them in the firm are the dashing and talented Zach (James Wolk); art director Andrew (Hamish Linklater), who’s as hard-working as he is neurotic; and the beautiful and deceptively smart assistant Lauren (Amanda Setton). With his team and his daughter behind him, Simon continues to set the advertising world on fire, and it looks like they are definitely buying what these crazy ones are selling. 

Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner David E. Kelley (“Ally McBeal” and “The Practice”), Bill D’Elia, Emmy Award winner Jason Winer (“Modern Family”), Dean Lorey, John Montgomery and Mark Teitelbaum are executive producers for Twentieth Century Fox Television. Jason Winer directed the pilot.

Intelligence

INTELLIGENCE is a dramatic thriller starring Josh Holloway as a high-tech intelligence operative enhanced with a super-computer microchip in his brain. With this implant, Gabriel (Holloway) is the first human ever to be connected directly into the worldwide information grid and have complete access to Internet, WiFi, telephone and satellite data. He can hack into any data center and access key intel in the fight to protect the United States from its enemies. 

Leading the elite government cyber-security agency created to support him is Director Lillian Strand (Marg Helgenberger), a straightforward and efficient boss who oversees the unit’s missions. Strand assigns Riley Neal (Meghan Ory), a Secret Service agent, to protect Gabriel from outside threats, as well as from his appetite for reckless, unpredictable behavior and disregard for protocol. Other skilled members of the Cybercom team include Chris Jameson (Michael Rady) and Gonzalo “Gonzo” Rodriguez (James Martinez), two resourceful federal investigators. The brains behind the design of the chip is Dr. Shenendoah Cassidy (John Billingsley), whose son, Nelson (PJ Byrne), is jealous of Gabriel’s prominent place in his father’s life. As the first supercomputer with a beating heart, Gabriel is the most valuable piece of technology the country has ever created and is the U.S.’s secret weapon. 

Michael Seitzman, René Echevarria, Tripp Vinson, and David Semel (for pilot) are executive producers for ABC Television Studios in association with CBS Television Studios.

Reckless

RECKLESS is a sultry legal drama set in Charleston, S.C., where a gorgeous Yankee litigator and a charming Southern attorney must hide their intense mutual attraction as a police sex scandal threatens to tear the city apart. 

Jamie Sawyer (Anna Wood) is enviously cool, confident and armed with south-side-of-Chicago street-smarts as she takes on the good ol’ boys in the South. Her handsome courtroom rival, Roy Rayder (Cam Gigandet), a divorced father of two, embodies the Old South and is the newly minted City Attorney, thanks to his influential former father-in-law, Dec Fortnum (Gregory Harrison).

When disgraced cop Lee Anne Marcus (Georgina Haig) hires Jamie to represent her in a lawsuit against the police department, Jamie and Roy discover that Lee Anne is at the epicenter of a sinister case with dire implications for the members of the Charleston P.D. Heading that department is Deputy Chief Holland Knox (Michael Gladis), a family man who radiates integrity. 

Working under him are Terry McCandless (Shawn Hatosy), a cocky and corrupt detective, and Preston Cruz (Adam Rodriguez), Jamie’s well-respected boyfriend who might not be all that he appears. Helping Jamie is her confidante and paralegal, Vi (Kim Wayans), an expert at digging up case-winning information. As Jamie and Roy spar in and out of the courtroom, dark secrets simmer behind every door and threaten to tarnish the genteel facade of seductive Charleston. 

Ian Sander, Kim Moses, Dana Stevens, Corey Miller and Catherine Hardwicke are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. Catherine Hardwicke (“Twilight”) directed the pilot.

Friends With Better Lives

FRIENDS WITH BETTER LIVES is a romantic comedy about six friends at different stages in their lives – married, divorced, newly engaged and single – who are outwardly happy, but secretly questioning if their friends have it better. 

Andi (Majandra Delfino) and Bobby (Kevin Connolly) are happily married with two kids but at times long for the days they had less responsibility and more fun; Will (James Van Der Beek) is newly single and preaching the bachelor lifestyle, but still pining for his ex-wife; Jules (Brooklyn Decker) and Lowell (Rick Donald) are high on their passionate new relationship; and Kate (Zoe Lister Jones) has a successful career but may take a swan dive into the L.A. River when she finds out her last remaining single friend, Jules, just got engaged. When it comes to relationships, these six friends are finding it a challenge to look at each other without wondering… who really has the better life? 

Dana Klein and Aaron Kaplan are executive producers for Twentieth Century Fox Television. Emmy Award winner James Burrows directed the pilot.

CBS FALL 2013-2014 SCHEDULE
(New programmes in UPPER CASE; NT=New Time)

MONDAY

8-8:30 PM – How I Met Your Mother

8:30-9 PM – WE ARE MEN

9-9:30 PM – 2 Broke Girls

9:30-10 PM – MOM

10-11 PM – HOSTAGES / INTELLIGENCE (Midseason)

TUESDAY

8-9 PM – NCIS

9-10 PM – NCIS: Los Angeles

10-11 PM – Person Of Interest (NT)

WEDNESDAY

8-9 PM – Survivor

9-10 PM – Criminal Minds

10-11 – CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

THURSDAY

8-8:30 PM – The Big Bang Theory

8:30-9 PM – THE MILLERS

9-9:30 PM – THE CRAZY ONES

9:30-10 PM – Two And A Half Men (NT)

10-11 PM – Elementary

FRIDAY

8-9 PM – Undercover Boss

9-10 PM – Hawaii Five-0 (NT)

10-11 PM – Blue Bloods

SATURDAY

8-8:30 PM – COMEDYTIME SATURDAY

8:30-9 PM – COMEDYTIME SATURDAY

9-10 PM – Crimetime Saturday

10-11 PM – 48 Hours

SUNDAY

7-8 PM – 60 Minutes

8-9 PM – The Amazing Race

9-10 PM – The Good Wife

10-11 PM – The Mentalist