Stars align for CBS fall schedule
Jenna Elfman, LL Cool J, Julianna Margulies in series"Moonlight" fans' prayers have been answered: The show's star Alex O'Loughlin is back on CBS with the new medical drama "Three Rivers."
The network went mostly for star vehicles in its first new series picks for next season with "Rivers"; the "NCIS" spinoff, toplined by LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell; legal drama "The Good Wife," starring Julianna Margulies; and the Jenna Elfman-starring comedy "Accidentally on Purpose."
CBS also handed a series order to the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced ensemble medical drama "Miami Trauma," which has tapped Steve Maeda as exec producer/showrunner.
The network also has picked up unscripted series "Undercover Boss," a hidden-camera show based on a British format in which an executive goes undercover at his or her company.
As a precursor to the scripted series orders, the network during the weekend gave most of the projects a greenlight to start making offers to writers and directors.
CBS also is allowing two other drama hopefuls, "House Rules" and "U.S. Attorney," to begin making staffing offers.
The "NCIS" spinoff, "Rivers," "Wife" and "Accidentally" all are produced by CBS' sister studio CBS TV Studios, while "Trauma" comes from Warner Bros. TV.
The four CBS Studios-produced shows also had been early standouts at the network, while "Trauma" picked up steam in the final couple of weeks when the project also tapped UTA-repped Maeda, recently an exec producer on "Lie to Me," to come aboard.
There had been speculation that CBS might launch only one medical drama, but the network ultimately opted to go with "Rivers" and "Trauma." (If "U.S. Attorney's" writer offers also are followed by a firm series pickup, it and "Wife" would give the network two legal dramas as well.)
The "Trauma" pickup makes for another strong pilot season for Bruckheimer. Both of his pilots, including ABC's "The Forgotten," were ordered to series.
At CBS, where he is the predominant drama series producer, Bruckheimer got more good news Sunday night when the network closed a deal to bring back his veteran crime drama "Cold Case."
Meanwhile, his other bubble drama, "Without a Trace," appears to be dead, as does his freshman procedural "Eleventh Hour."
Also looking unlikely to return is CBS' military drama "The Unit." (CBS might reserve final call on some series on the fence until it's clear whether "Medium" will return to NBC; it could move to the Eye, whose sister studio produces the series.)
The multicamera "Accidentally," from writer Claudia Lonow, is about a movie critic (Elfman) who gets pregnant after a fling with a younger man and the unconventional family that comes from the mistake. Jon Foster, Ashley Jensen and Grant Show co-star on the show, which could be a good companion for "The New Adventures of Old Christine," whose renewal is still pending.
It also means that Jensen, who left "Ugly Betty" at the end of this season, will be back in primetime next season.
The "NCIS" spinoff, introduced in two episodes of the veteran crime drama this spring, hails from "NCIS" exec producer/showrunner Shane Brennan, who will run both series.
Written by Robert King and Michelle King and directed by Charles McDougall, "Wife" stars Margulies as a politician's wife who joins a law firm as an associate.
Penned by Carol Barbee, "Rivers" is a medical show about organ transplants seen through three points of view: the doctors, the donors and the recipients.