Tassler Defends CBS’ Evolving Models, Diversity Record

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CBS Enrtainment chairman Nina Tassler said that her network is adapting to the evolving media landscape and defended CBS’ record on diversity Thursday at the TCA summer press tour.

“If we’re only going to talk about 18-49, I may as well get up off my chair and change my television manually,” Tassler said during her executive session. Noting that the industry is in “a transitional phase,” Tassler returned repeatedly to the idea of the looking at more that ratings when creating series and deciding their futures.

“When we are building shows and we are looking at the infrastructure, the creative infrastructure of the show, we’re having conversations about the longevity,” she said. “Does this show have the creative bones to go into the 15 years that CSI can go? Can something expand to the global dominance of an NCIS. That is the Holy Grail. For us, it’s being able to have shows of that stature.”

With Fox having Monday tapped studio chiefs Dana Walden and Gary Newman to lead Fox Broadcasting while allowing them to maintain control of 20th Century Fox Television, the relationship between broadcasters and their sister studios has been in the spotlight. Tassler brushed off a question about whether CBS ownership is a deciding factor in choosing which shows to cancel or renew.

“We will never ever discriminate solely on ownership,” she said. “We will buy from and always have from all studios.”

Tassler also defended CBS’ onscreen diversity record. Two days after ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee touted the breadth of diversity across his new fall shows at the press tour, Tassler fielded several questions about her network’s lack thereof.

Asked about the lack of diversity in the new falls comedies, Tassler said, “We don’t just look at one genre. We have to look at the entire network. We have to look at every single day part. We have to look at every single genre.” She added, “I think from sun up to sun down across the entire schedule there is diversity.”

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