Upfronts: Day Three – CBS

While Lina Alles, MindShare's managing partner/director of broadcast, is in New York at the upfronts, she's tapping out an on-the-scene blog for MiC readers.

The CBS presentation of its fall schedule was held yesterday at Carnegie Hall, and it was the shortest and tightest of all at 75 minutes. The significance? The nets have evidently listened to us and are no longer boring us with two-to-three-hour presentations!

Like ABC and NBC before them, CBS also addressed the importance of the digital arena. However, the net took a different approach by showing the digital world in action, introducing head of sales Joanne Ross as an ‘advatar’ living in a virtual world, which was pretty funny.

CBS was also the only network to introduce the head of its Interactive division to speak about ‘bringing interactivity to CBS content’ and the creation of original content. Basically, the sales pitch is that CBS is ‘one stop for all buying needs for any size screen.’

In terms of programming, CBS promises a ‘commitment to be daring, be different, be engaging and be unique.’ The net hopes to deliver on this goal with six new shows: four dramas, one comedy, and one non-scripted.

What did I like? Cane, which is a hot, sexy drama starring Jimmy Smits. It’s The Godfather meets The Sopranos. Everyone seemed to respond very well to the clip. Can’t wait to watch the full episode! On the other hand, Swingtown, set in 1976 about a neighbourhood of swingers, is awful. Or maybe I just can’t get beyond the ’70′s hair and clothes. It’s what I would call an ‘adult drama’ and will need to air post 10 pm!!!

The party was held at Tavern on the Green. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain so we couldn’t take advantage of the great outdoor seating area, which meant everyone was jammed inside the restaurant. The CBS stars did the obligatory picture taking and, because they’re obviously so happy to actually have jobs, they looked like they were having a great time. Let’s see what happens if they’re lucky enough to return with a hit series!

Stay tuned for a recap of Fox’s fall line-up tomorrow, when Mediacom’s Sylvia Criger will be taking over blogging duties.

More on CBS’s 2007-08 Line-up from the MiC Team

CBS is leveraging its number-one network status by pairing each of its six new shows with a compatible proven hit, giving the debuting series a good lead-in edge.

Another new entry that’s impressed is Viva Laughlin, a musical drama set in a tacky gambling town outside Las Vegas, featuring recurring appearances from exec-producer/actor Hugh Jackman. It’s an American adaptation of the UK’s popular Viva Blackpool, that will air Sunday at 8 pm. And like Cop Rock before it, the characters frequently break into song while the hero battles a powerful casino boss as he tries to make a go of his own gambling palace.

A lot of attention has been devoted thus far to Moonlight, likely due to its premise, which is reminiscent of Buffy’s Angel, and Canada’s Forever Knight. Described by CBS as ‘a feel-good love story about a vampire who falls in love with a mortal woman’, the immortal in question solves mysteries using his special powers after which, of course, he’s no longer comfortable as a monster. It’s skedded for Friday at 9 pm and should mesh appropriately with its otherworldly lead-in, Ghost Whisperer, which will return to its 8 pm slot on Friday.

And then there’s the new drama about suburban Chicago wife-swappers in the ’70s, Swingtown, which CBS characterizes as ‘edgy.’ The mid-season series is from director Alan Poul (Six Feet Under) with scripts by Mike Kelley (The O.C.).

CBS’ new sitcom The Big Bang Theory features two egghead mathematicians trying to make nice with a waitress. The new series will take over The Old Adventures of New Christine‘s slot at 8:30 pm Monday until mid-season, and should benefit from being sandwiched between returning laffers How I Met Your Mother and Two and Half Men.

The net’s new reality series, Kid Nation, will air at 8 pm Wednesday. Sounds like an updated Lord of the Flies, as 40 kids aged 8-to-15 are left to their own juvenile devices in a New Mexico town, tasked with forging their own governing structure sans adult supervision. (Now that’s what MiC calls edgy!)

CBS’ new game show Power of 10 will bow mid-season with host Drew Carey challenging contestants to guess the behaviors, opinions and lifestyle choices of the American public.

In addition to Christine, Mother and Men, Rules of Engagement will also return, as will The Amazing Race, the CSI franchise, NCIS, The Unit, Numb3rs, Without a Trace, Shark and Survivor.

Jericho, Close to Home and The Class were cancelled.