Upfronts 2012: Helena Shelton picks a CBS hit

The PHD EVP details the network's four new shows from the New York City presentation, and chooses the one she thinks will be a winner.

Helena Shelton is EVP, trading and accountability at PHD, and is attending the upfronts in New York City this week. Catch her blog posts all week on MiC as she dishes details on next season’s new shows.

Before we get into details of the CBS launch, I thought everyone would enjoy a quick comparison of Toronto and New York City TV performance based on November 2012 Top 20 TV ratings against adults 25 to 54 with a minimum of three airings. We have more differences than just our size, apparently the Yanks enjoy humor more than us. Ratings from Canada are from BBM Canada, US numbers are from Nielsen.


I owe many thanks to Rita Fabian, executive VP advertising sales at CTV who got my CBS ticket. We met up at Carnegie Hall at 3:30 and ended up at the front of the line with my folks, and OMG, you could feel the hype! Seating was first-come and we scored great seats near the stage.

CBS was loud, the presentations energetic and the news good. The show began with the stars of 2 Broke Girls in a skit that landed them running up the stage. That moved into LL Cool J and a mezzo soprano singing about CBS rating success.

That quickly moved into a one-minute video on CBS success in ratings, success in social and more general success news. An update on news, talk and sports as well as clips from their current stable of highly rated programs and we quickly moved to the point, the new 2012 schedule. With 19 returning shows, CBS only had four new shows to present.

Elementary is a drama based on the story of Sherlock Holmes and Watson but set in the New York of today. Basically this is a crime drama. The show stars Jonny Lee Miller and Watson is a female character played by Lucy Liu. The clip got great applause, I found the story line very complicated. Based on the clips it looked like Sherlock was in rehab and Watson is a failed surgeon.

Made in Jersey, another drama, stars Janet Montgomery as a Jersey-born attorney who goes to work in a prestigious Manhattan law firm. The clips flipped from her doing serious law work to scenes with her family that were very “Jersey” like.  In the end, Kim Dougherty summed this one up succinctly “it’s not serious enough.”

Partners was their only comedy following the lives of two best man friends, one who is gay and one who is not. The premise is how their relationship will survive when one gets engaged. This one got shout-outs and applause.

The last new show we saw was my favorite of the four, Vegas. A drama set in ‘60s starring Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis. This is supposed to be based on a true story about the clash between the law (Dennis) and mobsters (Michael) as the city of Las Vegas is formed. It was well acted and written with lots of action. Vegas got my attention.

That was it, no mid-season shows, over in just an hour and the place was emptying out for the after party! I went looking for my pal Rita, who was nowhere in sight. I’m sure she was calling her programmers in LA about Vegas, or she would want to hang with me at the after party right?