5:40pm PT by THR staff
TCA Recap: CBS Highlights Include Chuck Lorre and Ashton Kutcher on 'Two and a Half Men,' 'NCIS' and Racism on '2 Broke Girls'
CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler had little news to break in her last-minute executive session, explaining to critics that the Television Critics Association stage "makes her a nervous wreck." After reeling off a laundry list of the network's stats, the executive set the tone of the day when she defended the humor on its breakout comedy, 2 Broke Girls. Later, executive producer Michael Patrick King had a confrontational exchange with critics as he attempted to justify the show's characters.
Meanwhile, Chuck Lorre presented two of his three comedies with decidedly different sessions for Mike & Molly (lighthearted) and Two and a Half Men (more serious). Here are Tuesday's highlights from ABC's second day at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour.
Executive Suite: After touting the network's No. 1 standing in total viewers and the coveted adults 18-49 demo, Tassler touched on CBS' "phenomenal year" with rookie hits 2 Broke Girls and Person of Interest. The exec also defended the creative changes on The Talk, touting the new lineup's chemistry. As for the net's unseen NYC 22 (previously The 2-2), she said the cop drama with Leelee Sobieski would debut in the spring with the NCAA March Madness tournament providing a launching pad.
Big Laughs: Cast and creators from Mike & Molly dished on the show's upcoming wedding between on-screen partners Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy while exec producer Chuck Lorre may have received the panel's best laughs when he responded to a critic asking if lost sleep over how easy the show is to run. "Do I lose sleep over how easy this show is to run? What's wrong with you?"
New 'Men': New Two and a Half Men leading man Ashton Kutcher told reporters that he's interested in coming back to the rebooted CBS comedy next season, while beleaguered showrunner Chuck Lorre said he considered cancelling the series in the wake of the Charlie Sheen debacle. "It seemed like such a heartbreaking way to end," he said. Following the panel, Lorre opened up about returning for "Year 2" of Men and responded to Sheen's critical remarks about the show's humor.
Defending 'Girls': Two Broke Girls co-creator Michael Patrick King defended the range of jokes on the freshman breakout comedy starring Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs. During the contentious session, King said the series is an "equal opportunity offender" when it came to taking stabs at race, gender and sexuality. "I think that our show is a big ballsy comedy, but it has a bigger heart than it has balls."
More Mother: With an introduction highlighting the high ratings this season, How I Met Your Mother showrunners Craig Thomas and Carter Bays reaffirmed that they were open to carrying the series past its already picked-up eighth season and stretching the mystery of the titular mother another year. "We have to see if the Mayans were right also," said Jason Segel, chiming in. "It might be Dec. 21 2012, that you'll meet the mother."
'Morning' Time: The new morning talker with Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Erica Hill, appearing via satellite, addressed how it would break out of the morning show clutter -- longer segments, no national weather, cooking or fashion pieces -- and confirmed that Oprah Winfrey would at some point be a guest.
No Habla Español: Rob Schneider previewed his upcoming semi-autobiographical sitcom Rob, revealing the initial concept for the series came from his wife, a TV producer born in Mexico City. "I think it's All In the Mexican Family, and I'm Basil Fawlty."
Celebrating 200: Executive producer Gary Glasberg and the cast celebrated the show's 200th episode (airing Feb. 7) with a session spent sharing the secret to its success in becoming the No. 1 scripted drama on TV. "Part of what keeps it so fresh all the time is because we love our show," Pauley Perrette says. Added star Mark Harmon: "It doesn't feel like 200 episodes and nine years."