NEW YORK - CBS - first not only in total viewership but also, for the first time since the early 1990s, among the 18-to-49-year-olds that advertisers pay to reach - can afford to cancel shows other networks might consider hits.
Which may be why ABC's Jimmy Kimmel earlier this week referred to CBS as "smug motherf---ers" before a gathering of potential advertisers.
Yesterday, though, it was CBS' turn, and at a press breakfast before the network's annual Carnegie Hall presentation, CEO Leslie Moonves, who lives for this kind of thing, claimed to be "very flattered" by Kimmel's description. "I guess that means we're winning. Which we are."
Winning doesn't come without some losing, though, and this season's casualties include "CSI: NY," "Vegas" and "Golden Boy," as well as the long-departed "Made in Jersey" and "Partners." (Only "Elementary" survives from last fall's crop of new shows.)
"Mike & Molly" also loses its place on the Monday schedule for fall but received a full 22-episode order and is expected to return at midseason, according to CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler.
Filling in those blanks: four new comedies - including one starring Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar - and two dramas that will share a time slot, with the first, the highly serialized "Hostages," running for 15 episodes, followed in February by "Intelligence," as CBS joined the rest of the major networks in pledging fewer reruns next season.
"Hostages," based on an idea originally developed for Israeli TV that didn't get made, stars Toni Collette ("United States of Tara") as a surgeon whose family is taken hostage by a rogue FBI agent (Dylan McDermott, "American Horror Story") just as she's preparing to operate on the president of the Unites States.
"Intelligence" stars Josh Holloway ("Lost") as a federal agent with a microchip in his head that gives him access to the Internet - a more fashion-friendly version of Google Glass? - with a boss played by Marg Helgenberger ("CSI").
The new comedies are: "We Are Men," starring Kal Penn ("House"), Tony Shalhoub ("Monk"), Jerry O'Connell ("Carpoolers") and Chris Smith as newly single guys living in a short-term apartment complex; "Mom," starring Anna Faris as a "newly sober single mom" and Allison Janney ("The West Wing") as her "critical, estranged mother"; "The Millers," starring Will Arnett ("Arrested Development") as a newly divorced man whose parents (Margo Martindale and Beau Bridges) decide to separate after 43 years; and "The Crazy Ones," in which Williams - whom Tassler called "a defining comic voice of our time" - and Gellar (the defining vampire slayer of our time) play father and daughter partners in an ad agency.
On the move: "Hawaii Five-0," which shifts to 9 p.m. Fridays; "Person of Interest," to 10 p.m. Tuesdays; and "Two and a Half Men," to 9:30 p.m. Thursdays.