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LOS ANGELES (CAP) - CBS today continued its sweeping changes for the upcoming 2010-11 season, expanding their list of canceled shows from the original seven to now include the network's entire lineup - except Charlie Sheen. This comes on the heels of the Two And A Half Men star's new two-year deal for $1.8 million per episode.
"We were going to offer him $2 mil per episode if it weren't for the whole domestic violence thing," said one CBS executive, referring to Sheen's charge for allegedly assaulting his wife back in December. "The great thing is that we've turned the whole situation into a future episode, and let me just say: it is hi-lar-i-ous."
CBS brass announced the scheduling decision during a conference call with media outlets to present their fall lineup. While other networks like ABC and Fox detailed a mix of cancellations along with new shows they hope will bring some measure of success for the next TV season, CBS said relying on a slate of untested shows was simply too risky.
"2010 is an incredibly exciting time to be working in television," said CBS Chairman Les Moonves. "But so was 1981. And now we have the benefit of already knowing what works and what doesn't. The Incredible Hulk, yes - Mr Merlin, no."
Moonves acknowledged that Bill Bixby's death back in 1993 does add a wrinkle to his ability to reprise the role of Dr. David Bruce Banner in The Hulk, but thanks to technology today, "we should be able to pull it off." Other shows being penciled in for the fall include Private Benjamin, Simon And Simon, and Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters.
"When William Shatner approached us about doing a new show based on that Twitter feed, Shit My Dad Says, we said - why?" CBS executive vice president Mike Aresco said. "Why not just do TJ Hooker again? People loved that friggin' show.
"Shat's still got that TJ Hooker appeal, Adrian ZMed still needs a steady gig, and Heather Locklear is still hot," Aresco noted about the show that originally aired on ABC. "It's win-win-win."
For their part, executives from the other major networks were nonplussed at the CBS announcement, although one unidentified participant on the conference call did try to muffle his phone and whispered to someone in the background to "go see what Scott Baio's up to."
Reaction among the various cast and crew members of CBS' current slate of shows has been mixed, with CSI creator Anthony Zuiker one of the most outspoken. He told CAP News this decision "puts a serious crimp" in his plan to launch three new additions to his juggernaut franchise; as such, he will now shop CSI: Poughkeepsie, CSI: Arizona and CSI: Lindsay Lohan to cable outlets for a home.
CBS officials said if their programming changes pan out like they expect and they do clean up in the ratings, they'll look to expand to 1982 next year. If all goes according to plan, the network won't need to come up with any new shows for the next 20 years.
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