CBS TV lineup: more female roles, more laughs

Wed May 14, 2008 7:22pm EDT
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By Paul Thomasch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - CBS unveiled three new dramas and two comedies for its fall prime-time lineup on Wednesday, with executives promising more laughs and female faces from a network known for its popular crime dramas.

In rolling out five new shows for the fall, CBS, which often trumpets the stability of its lineup, introduced far more changes than Walt Disney Co's ABC after a development season abbreviated by the 14-week screenwriters' strike.

News Corp's Fox will take the wraps off its 2008-09 schedule on Thursday. General Electric Co's NBC did so last month, in a departure from the traditional announcement during the so-called "upfront week" in May.

Next, over the coming weeks, the broadcast networks will get down to signing around $9 billion worth of commercial deals with advertisers for the new season.

At CBS, executives have picked up three new dramas titled "The Mentalist," "Eleventh Hour" and "The Ex List," as well as a pair of sitcoms -- "Worst Week" and "Project Gary" -- that give the network a comedy bloc for two nights a week.

Three of those shows -- "Ex List," "Eleventh Hour" and "Worst Week" -- are based on the formats of overseas programs in what has emerged as another post-strike programming trend.

"When the strike was done, the day after, we hit the ground running," Chief Executive Les Moonves said at a news conference. "The compressed development schedule forced people to concentrate more and work harder."

ROLES FOR WOMEN   Continued...

<p>File photo shows Julia Louis-Dreyfus walking the red carpet at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson</p>