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TV Bulletin Board (Fri., March 14) -- slew of CBS renewals leaves only handful of shows on chopping block


Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar of The Crazy Ones. CBS photo

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CBS doesn’t mess around. The No. 1 network in total viewers banks on stability, not rampant change. So it’s renewed 18 prime-time series for next season, bringing the grand total to 20 after previous announcements on Survivor and The Big Bang Theory (which has a three-year deal that will take it all the way through the 2016-17 TV season).

In situations like this, it’s easier to spotlight the ongoing series that haven’t yet made the cut. And that basically boils down to The Mentalist (winding down its 6th season) and two first-year shows -- The Crazy Ones (starring Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Intelligence (with Josh Holloway of Lost fame). They’re still “on the bubble,” but in reality all but dead.

How I Met Your Mother also won’t be back, but CBS announced a while back that this is its last season, with the finale set for Monday, March 31st. And it’s a foregone conclusion that two shows no longer breathing CBS’ air space have also breathed their last. Namely Hostages and We Are Men.

The returnees include CBS’ most critically acclaimed drama, The Good Wife. Its ratings continue to be problematic but CBS still likes the show’s patina.

Two series that seemingly entered this season with very iffy futures -- Hawaii Five-O and Two and a Half Men -- also will be returning. Hawaii Five-, shifted from Monday to Friday nights, has proven to be surprisingly resilient in a slot between Undercover Boss and Blue Bloods.

One remaining new series, the comedy Friends With Better Lives, will be launched on March 31st after the How I Met Your Mother finale. Reckless, a freshman drama series announced as a midseason replacement last spring, has been pushed back to a June 29th premiere.

After all the dust clears, CBS will have a maximum of six casualties from the ongoing 2013-14 TV season, which ends in May. And that’s only if Friends With Better Lives doesn’t make it.

Says CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler in a statement: “The best way to launch new shows in the fall and throughout the season is to surround them with a strong and stable lineup of successful series.”

CBS has executed that game plan time and again while its rivals try to stop their merry-go-rounds. ABC in particular has been a revolving door of failure this season. The network has ample series still on the bubble. And its officially dead or intensive care list includes Lucky 7, Back in the Game, Betrayal, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Super Fun Night, Trophy Wife, Killer Women, The Neighbors, The Assets, Mind Games, The Taste and Mixology. That’s a lot of carnage.


***FX’s acclaimed Louie, starring Louis C.K., will launch its fourth season on Monday, May 5th with back-to-back episodes. FX says two new episodes will air each Monday through June 16th. Louie has been on a 19th month hiatus after Louie C.K. asked for more time to retool and re-charge.

***Another critically praised series, BBC America’s Orphan Black, will return on Saturday, April 19th with Season 2.

***Showtime has picked up the drama series pilot Billions, brainchild of Too Big to Fail author Andrew Ross Sorkin. Showtime says it deals with the “collision and, at times, collusion between an aggressive U.S. attorney in New York and some of the richest hedge fund billionaires in the country.” No cast has been announced yet.

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