O’Brien re-ups with TBS; CBS pairs ‘Big Bang’ & spin-off
By FRAZIER MOORE
AP Television Writer
NEW YORK — “Young Sheldon” and his grown-up version on “The Big Bang Theory” will be paired on CBS’ Thursday night schedule this fall.
The “Big Bang” spinoff, centered on star Jim Parsons’ character as a precocious 9-year-old Texas high school student, is one of eight new series coming to CBS in the 2017-18 season.
“It’s not ‘Muppet Babies,'” said CBS programming executive Kelly Kahl, but a gentle comedy in the mold of “Wonder Years” and “Doogie Howser, M.D.”
Parsons and the rest of the “Big Bang Theory” cast are signed through the next two seasons, a recently wrapped negotiation that included CBS Corp. chief executive Leslie Moonves meeting with the actors of TV’s No. 1 comedy.
“I hope it goes beyond that,” Moonves told reporters Wednesday, but, he added, “I can’t make any promises.”
Other freshman CBS shows set for a fall debut include sitcoms “9JKL,” described as having an “Everybody Loves Raymond” vibe with the story of an actor (Mark Feuerstein) living near his parents and brother, and “Me, Myself & I,” which looks at a man at different stages of his life and stars Bobby Moynihan and John Larroquette.
CBS’ new fall dramas are “Seal Team,” with David Boreanaz (“Bones”) as a member of an elite Navy SEAL team; “Wisdom of the Crowd,” with Jeremy Piven as a tech guru who creates a crowdsourcing app to solve crimes after his daughter is killed, and “S.W.A.T.,” inspired by the TV series and movie and starring Shemar Moore.
The midseason slate includes “Instinct,” with Alan Cumming as a former CIA operative who’s pulled back into his old line of work, and the comedy “By the Book,” about a man (Jay R. Ferguson) who challenges himself to live strictly in accordance with the Bible. It’s based on A.J. Jacobs’ best-selling book “The Year of Living Biblically.”
Returning shows that will be held for later in the season include “Amazing Race,” ”Code Black,” ”Man with a Plan” and “Undercover Boss.”
But CBS viewers have seen the last of canceled series “Two Broke Girls” and “The Odd Couple.”
Moonves offered his thoughts on competitors’ plans unveiled earlier in the week to advertisers. He called ABC’s plan to revive “Roseanne” for an eight-episode run a “stunt,” then added diplomatically, “it’s a good stunt. People will tune in for it.”
Asked about ABC’s decision to reboot “American Idol” next year after Fox dropped it in 2016, Moonves said CBS was offered the same chance but decided the show was so costly it would need an improbably big audience to break even.
In other TV news announced Wednesday, Turner said TBS has closed a new deal with Conan O’Brien that extends through 2022.
TBS and sister Turner network TNT plan to launch a total of six new series from stars such as Snoop Dogg, Daniel Radcliffe and Michael Moore. CNN has four new series in the works.
And TNT is working with filmmaker Ridley Scott to develop a night of original science-fiction programming.
Talk-show veteran O’Brien’s new four-year pact with TBS keeps him at the network where “Conan” debuted in November 2010 after his abrupt exit from “The Tonight Show” when NBC reinstated Jay Leno as host.
But the format and distribution strategy for O’Brien’s talents will evolve from his current Monday-through-Thursday hour. He will “expand the boundaries from a talk show to a range of personality-based, cross-platform experiences,” according to TBS and TNT President Kevin Reilly.
“In the past few years I’ve stumbled across many new and exciting ways of connecting with my audience,” O’Brien said, “and I’m eager to evolve my show into something leaner, more agile and more unpredictable.”
Plans call for extending his Team Coco brand into digital content, podcasting, gaming, pay TV and live events.
With Ridley Scott (“The Martian,” ”Alien: Covenant”), TNT will develop an evening-long programming block of original science fiction in many forms, serving as a showcase for hour-long series, short form and other formats.
Meanwhile, TNT has announced “Who Run the World?” — a documentary series executive-produced by Sarah Jessica Parker and Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me”). Slated to premiere later this year, it will focus on the issues that women face in today’s world.
And in late fall, TNT will debut “Michael Moore Live from the Apocalypse,” a nonfiction series from the Oscar-winning filmmaker that promises to blow the whistle on everything from Washington politics to Wall Street shenanigans. Moore will star in the series as well as direct and produce.
TBS has given the green light to these four new series:
• “Miracle Workers,” a heaven-set workplace comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe and Owen Wilson and executive-produced by Lorne Michaels (“Saturday Night Live”).
• “Close Enough,” an animated series from “Regular Show” creator J.G. Quintel.
• An update of the durable game show “The Joker’s Wild” hosted by Snoop Dogg.
• An untitled series from the comedy trio The Dress Up Gang, whose viral videos include the “My Roommate, My Friend” series.
In addition, TBS is developing a fully interactive late-night programming block with the multiplatform studio Super Deluxe. TBS plans to launch the weekly 90-minute comedy block this fall.
TBS’ previously announced comedy series that will star Tracy Morgan now has a title — The Last O.G.” — and supporting players: Cedric the Entertainer and Taylor Mosby (“Criminal Minds”).
CBS said it will pair “The Big Bang Theory” with its spin-off sibling, “Young Sheldon.”
The new comedy is centered on star Jim Parsons’ character as a precocious youngster. “Young Sheldon” will follow “The Big Bang Theory” on Thursdays after debuting Monday, Sept. 25.
CBS Corp. chief executive Leslie Moonves said he hopes “Big Bang Theory” continues beyond the two-year deal that was just concluded.
In the just-ended season cliff-hanger, Sheldon is seen proposing to longtime girlfriend Amy, played by Mayim Bialik.
CNN’s new series set for 2018 include:
• “Detroit 1963: Once in a Great City,” a four-part series about the city of Detroit at its high point.
• “American Heiress: The Patty Hearst Story,” a six-part series that will follow the transformation of Patricia Hearst from heiress to terrorist after her kidnapping.
• “1968: The Year That Changed America,” a four-part series that looks back at a year marked by seismic shifts in American politics, social movements and national leadership.
• “Kennedys: An American Dynasty,” a six-part series that explores how personal relationships within the Kennedy dynasty helped shaped national and global events.
• “Pope,” a six-part series that goes inside the Vatican to reveal the true power held by popes throughout the ages.
On tap for HLN is “Unmasking A Killer,” a five-part series that goes inside the investigation, case files and mind of The Golden State Killer, a man believed to be the most prolific uncaught rapist and serial killer in the nation.