There’s no network cockier than CBS during upfront week, and with good reason. Sure, they had to cancel last season’s newbies “Vegas,” “Golden Boy” “Made in Jersey” and “Partners,” but their schedule is so stable — and dominant in the ratings — that they never have many holes to fill.
They’ve only ordered three dramas for the 2013-14 season and just one is on the fall schedule. That’s limited series “Hostages” which will air 15 episodes uninterrupted and then turn over its Monday night timeslot to another new drama — “Intelligence” — in the winter.
Here’s a rundown of the two new dramas CBS presented to advertisers
at its 2013 upfront on May 15 at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
“Hostages” (Mondays at 10 p.m. ET)
It’s an interesting play: a heavily serialized thriller set for a limited cable-style run of 15 episodes that still looks and feels like a CBS procedural. Put another way, “Hostages” feels closer in spirit to an extended arc from “NCIS” or “Person of Interest” than something cut from the same sharp cloth as “The Good Wife.” Or maybe it just finds the middle ground. Starring Toni Collette, Dylan McDermott and Tate Donovan, “Hostages” at least shows CBS’ willingness to play with their form … to a point.
The pilot cut-down shown to advertisers ran longer than the behind-the-scenes video above and gave a more concrete overview of the plot with more details about Donovan’s character and the kidnappers. It also featured a brief look at future episodes, including what seemed to be a shocking twist (that drew gasps from the audience), but could have just as easily been a dream sequence.
“Intelligence” (Mondays at 10 p.m. ET, starting in Feb. 2014)
“Intelligence,” meanwhile, is straight out of the CBS playbook. A sarcastic, hunky leading man (Josh Holloway) bantering with a bright-eyed young woman (Meghan Ory) and backed by a network veteran (Marg Helgenberger). Action, mystery and crime-solving elements collide to give the network’s regular viewers exactly what they expect. Which, let’s face it, is part of what gives CBS the right to be so cocky. There was also a little more of the show on display during the upfront than there is in the behind-the-scenes promo above, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find the whole thing instantly forgettable.
CBS ordered one more drama — “sultry” Southern legal law show “Reckless” starring Cam Gigandet from “Twilight” — but it’s an unscheduled backup for midseason and no footage was shown at the upfront or made available online.