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In terms of women, CBS will be the Mary Tyler less network next fall

by on June 29th 2010 at 12:11 am

Shatner strikes again/CBS photo

The network of comedy legends Lucille Ball, Mary Tyler Moore and Carol Burnett will be notably lower on estrogen this fall.

That's what happens when you cancel four series fronted by female stars and replace them with a quartet of male-centric new shows plus a sitcom with both sexes in its title.

Here's what happened when CBS announced its new schedule last month.

The network parted ways with Ghost Whisperer (starring Jennifer Love Hewitt); Cold Case (in which Kathryn Morris played principal sleuth Lilly Rush); The New Adventures of Old Christine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the lead) and Accidentally On Purpose (Jenna Elfman at the top of the marquee).

Meanwhile, CBS added series topped by William Shatner ($#! My Dad Says); Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg (Blue Bloods); Jim Belulshi and Jerry O'Connell (The Defenders) and Alex O'Loughlin (a new version of Hawaii Five-O).

Its fifth new fall series, Mike & Molly, stars relative newcomers Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy as a working class couple who fall in love at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.

That leaves CBS with just two remaining series built on the strength of their lead female characters. Medium, starring Patricia Arquette, was imported from NBC last season. And The Good Wife will return for a second season with Julianna Margulies in the starring role.

CBS' other prime-time series have women characters in their ensembles. But they're not sold to viewers on that basis. And the network's lone announced midseason series, a Criminal Minds spinoff, will be headed by Forest Whitaker and include just one woman among its principal four FBI operatives.

Oddly enough, CBS' entertainment president is Nina Tassler, which doesn't seem to figure in the favor of her gender at the moment. On the other hand, the network with by far the most female-dominant series is ABC, whose chief programmer is Stephen McPherson.

ABC has two returning comedies, Cougar Town and The Middle, which respectively star Courteney Cox and Patricia Heaton. Its returning dramas include Grey's Anatomy (starring Ellen Pompeo); the spinoff Private Practice (Kate Walsh); Desperate Housewives (Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria, etc.) and Brothers & Sisters (Sally Field, Calista Flockhart).

There's also a new ABC drama series, Body of Proof, with Dana Delany in the lead as a crime-solving medical examiner and Jeri Ryan as her top aide. And V, scheduled to return in midseason, is paced by Elizabeth Mitchell and Morena Baccarin. Supernanny will be returning at a later date, too.

NBC will have two new fall series -- Chase and Love Bites -- with women as the principal leads. So will the CW, with Nikita and Hellcats.

Fox, traditionally a more male-dominated outlet, is the only Big 5 broadcaster without a single series built principally around a dominant female star or stars. But Glee, Bones and Fringe certainly give their women characters plenty to do.

CBS stands alone, though, as the network with the most drastically altered persona. Going into the new season, it's the network of Two and a Half Men -- and then some.

One Response to “In terms of women, CBS will be the Mary Tyler less network next fall”

  1. I've about had it with CBS anyway. I only watch Medium and The Good Wife regularly anymore. The rest have gotten old and stale. it appears that the programmers have as well.