One of the biggest problems TV networks can have is to try to achieve success by imitating success. "The copycats never seem to be able to replace the original in a lot of genres," Brad Adgate, senior VP and director of research for Horizon Media, summed up the situation in an interview last year. "Originality does win out."
To its credit, CBS is taking advantage of its solid ratings position to try experimenting, according to Michael Schneider and Josef Adalian of Variety:
Already in the development pipeline: a 1970s period drama from Mike Kelley ("Jericho") about wife swapping and the sexual revolution; a project about the women's movement from Bruce Eric Kaplan ("Six Feet Under"); and a laffer from "Borat" scribe Ant Hines, among others.
With auds still scarfing down the net's procedural-loaded primetime diet in droves, entertainment prexy Nina Tassler said it can now afford to chase projects that wouldn't usually be deemed Eye-friendly.
"We are going to throw out the rule book," said Tassler, who admitted that she's faced an "uphill battle" convincing agents and studios to bring their edgier fare to CBS.
The efforts may fail from show to show, but that doesn't mean they aren't worth pursuing. There isn't much to be gained, financially much less creatively, from ripping off someone else's achievement.