Every year, May brings flowers and a slew of television news in the form of fall lineups. After the big networks announced their upcoming schedules, critics noticed something awry about the upcoming shows on CBS: They're all led by men. As Entertainment Weekly points out, there are five new series led by white men, and one with a Black man at the helm (Shemar Moore of Criminal Minds). When asked about this seemingly regressive lineup at a press breakfast, CBS Chief Les Moonves replied that he thinks CBS is "doing a very good job," EW reports.
"Well, number one, more women watch CBS, percentage-wise, than any other network, so our shows have a lot of female appeal," he said in defense. He also argued that CBS orders plenty of women-led pilots — they just don't happen to be the pilots that succeed. "We do a number of pilots, a lot of them have women in starring roles. There are a lot of women on the schedule. The best pilots win at the end of the day. And we think our track record is okay."
The six new series of the season are Wisdom of the Crowd, a crime drama, Young Sheldon, a spin-off of The Big Bang Theory, 9JKL, Me, Myself & I, Seal Team, and S.W.A.T. The respective stars are as follows: Jeremy Piven, Mark Feuerstein, Bobby Moynihan, David Boreanaz, Shemar Moore and Iain Armitage, who will play a young Sheldon Cooper. (Armitage was last seen as Ziggy on Big Little Lies.)
This isn't to say that CBS doesn't have any women-led shows on its schedule. The shows Madame Secretary starring Téa Leoni, Mom starring Anna Faris and Allison Janney, and Scorpion, led by Katharine McPhee, will all return in the fall. And if you're among the elusive members of the network's paid streaming service, CBS All Access, there's also The Good Fight, led by Christine Baranski. The network may have five new conspicuously men-forward shows, but the holistic view is a bit more diverse.
"When I look at the totality of what CBS is, I look at news, I look at daytime, I look at sports, I look at Showtime, I look at The CW," Moonves continued. "And when you look at the totality of that, I think we’re fine in terms of the amount of women who are behind the camera and in front of the camera."
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