CBS chief Nina Tassler defends pilot season, but it’s ‘not perfect’

By Daniel S Levine,

The pilot season might be dead over at Fox, but not at America’s most-watched network. CBS Entertainment chief Nina Tassler said that pilot season works for her network, although she did admit that it’s not a perfect process.

Tassler was speaking at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena on Wednesday during CBS’ panel. On Monday, her counterpart at Fox, Kevin Reilly, said that his network was doing away with its pilot season and he’ll run the network more like a cable channel. That way, shows get full seasons earlier and creative teams won’t feel rushed while making a pilot.

But Tassler defended the system. “Pilot season isn’t perfect, and it certainly is a very difficult time,” she told reporters, The Hollywood Reporter notes. “But pilot season does work for us.”

She also responded to writer Damon Lindelof, who also recently slammed the pilot season format. "I want to hear Damon Lindelof complain about broadcast when he goes to the bank to cash his Lost checks,” Tassler said. “The bottom line is... yes, it's harder, yes, it's challenging, but when you have a great writer and great storytelling and they have to make decisions in a pressurized situation, they're going to make the right and best decisions, period.”

According to Deadline, Tassler pointed to a recent study that suggested that a strict deadline makes people more creatively productive. Her examples of successful shows that have gone through the typical pilot season process were CSI and The Big Bang Theory.

Tassler also said that CBS will create a live programming unit, notes The AP. There will also be a focus on more limited series, as Under The Dome was a success and is even coming back for a second season. Extant with Halle Berry also premieres this summer.

image: CBS

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