The joke about CBS is that it might as well stand for Crimes Being Solved. Every night of the week on the network, bad guys are brought to justice by cops, crime labs, psychics, fake psychics and profilers. Occasionally even the “Ghost Whisperer” helps turn the wheels of justice.
Then again, it’s hard to argue with success. CBS is enjoying another solid season in the ratings, and the past few times the network tried going way off-brand with dramas, well, we got “The Ex List,” “Viva Laughlin” and “Swingtown” (though the latter, we maintain, was underrated).
So on the drama front this year, you can expect to see more of the same. As for comedies, CBS has become the home for well-crafted multi-camera sitcoms, and it’s going almost exclusively with that format in its development this year.
Here’s a look at some of the projects that have caught our eye.
At this early stage, the “Five-O” remake feels like as good a bet as any show in development to make the fall schedule. It stars CBS fixture Alex O’Loughlin as Detective Steve McGarrett and also features Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park and Jean Smart (who’s a guest star) as the governor of Hawaii). That cast plus a hot writing team (Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci of “Fringe” and “Star Trek,” plus “CSI: NY’s” Peter Lenkov) should equal a pickup.
“Criminal Minds” spinoff
Speaking of safe bets: CBS is following the “NCIS” spinoff playbook here, with the new team — headed by Oscar winner Forest Whitaker — being introduced in an episode of “Criminal Minds” in April. If it makes the schedule, though, it might be a little less likely to be paired with its parent since CBS is good at 10 o’clock with “CSI: NY.”
The description of this show — a group of CIA agents work around government bureaucracy to get things done — doesn’t thrill. The cast, however, is pretty darn intriguing: Freddy Rodriguez, “Without a Trace” alum Eric Close, Carmen Ejogo (“Kidnapped”), Tim Blake Nelson and Stephen Rea? That’s worth a look.
This drama veers the farthest away from the typical CBS fare, and its order is only for a 20-minute presentation at this point. But we like the premise — following the adult lives of quintuplets (named Quinn) whose childhoods were documented on TV — and the cast, which includes Amber Tamblyn, Anna Chlumsky and “Smallville” vet Sam Witwer.
“Livin’ on a Prayer”
Think of it as “How I Met Your Mother 2: Slightly More Grown-Up.” “HIMYM” creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and writers Kourtney Kang and Joe Kelly (and director Pam Fryman) are teaming for a comedy about a couple thinking about making the leap in their relationship. The likable Kyle Bornheimer is the male lead.
“Chuck” co-creator Josh Schwartz and writer-producer Matt Miller created this show about a couple that gets married before they really know one another and the complications that causes for both them and their families. Recent “Chuck” guest star Kristin Kreuk and Jack Carpenter (“I Love You Beth Cooper”) are playing the newlyweds.
“S*** My Dad Says”
“The first-ever network sitcom based on a Twitter account” sounds like a recipe for disaster, no matter how funny the actual Twitter account is (and it is highly amusing). Having William Shatner as the dad in question, though (and “Cougar Town’s” Ryan Devlin as his son) makes us at least curious to see how it turns out.
Photo credits: WireImage (Forest Whitaker), NBC (Kristin Kreuk), CBS (Alex O’Loughlin)