You can say that again … and again
CBS revisiting the past for its reboot-heavy new television season
Glance at next season’s schedule for CBS and you could be forgiven for wondering what decade it is.
The network is adding remakes of 1980s series Murphy Brown and Magnum, P.I. to a lineup that already includes blasts-from-thepast Hawaii Five-0 and MacGyver. CBS execs said the Murphy Brown reboot, which again stars Candice Bergen, moves TV anchor Murphy out of prime time. She hosts a morning cable show and faces off against her son on another network. A change Magnum fans should watch for, beside a missing comma in the revamp’s title: The private detective has a goatee instead of the signature moustache of original star Tom Selleck. Jay Hernandez plays the new Thomas Magnum. While ABC and NBC have found comedy reboot success with, respectively, Roseanne and Will & Grace, CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl acknowledged it’s not a slam-dunk. That’s why Murphy Brown is getting a supportive Thursday berth, airing after established comedy hits including The Big Bang Theory and Mom.
MOVING TOWARD DIVERSITY
New Magnum star Hernandez, who is of Latino descent, is among the actors of colour joining the CBS lineup, long criticized for a lack of inclusion.
A number of freshman shows feature African-Americans leads, including God Friended Me, a comedy-drama with Brandon Micheal Hall as an atheist who does God’s work after they become Facebook friends. In the sitcom The Neighborhood, Cedric the Entertainer stars as an opinionated man who has to adjust to new white neigh- bours, and Damon Wayans Jr. and Amber Stevens West play young marrieds in another comedy, Happy Together. Midseason will bring the comedy Fam, starring Tone Bell, and The Red Line from producers Ava DuVernay (Selma, Queen Sugar) and Greg Berlanti, about the mistaken shooting of an African-American doctor by a white police officer. Along with Noah Wyle, the series stars include Howard Charles and Emayatzy Corinealdi.
The Big Bang Theory enters its 12th year this fall, and is still a draw: This season’s finale, in which the Amy and Sheldon characters wed, was the most-watched show in the U.S. last week. Kahl and programming chief Thom Sherman said they see no end in sight, as long as the producers feel they still have stories to tell. It’s in “peak form” and CBS hopes to get a few more years out of it, the executives said.
LOX WITHOUT LES
In 1996 when he ran CBS’s entertainment division, Leslie Moonves started an annual breakfast meeting with reporters on the day CBS presented its fall schedule to advertisers. He continued coming to the session, informally known as “lox with Les,” even when he became corporate boss and underlings presented the schedule. He loved to shmooz.
But with Moonves in the midst of a corporate battle over control over CBS Corp., even he was convinced that showing up to a roomful of reporters wasn’t a particularly good idea.
“When the number of questions he couldn’t answer outnumbered the number of questions he could, he felt it was better to sit this one out,” said Kahl.
Latino actor Jay Hernandez will star in the new version of Magnum P.I. He is among the actors of colour joining CBS, a network that has long been criticized for its lack of diversity.