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THE TV COLUMN

CBS jumps the gun with 18 renewals announced

By Michael Storey

This article was published March 20, 2014 at 2:47 a.m.

cbs-renewed-the-big-bang-theory-for-three-more-seasons-tvs-top-sitcom-stars-from-left-simon-helberg-johnny-galecki-jim-parsons-and-kunal-nayyar

CBS renewed The Big Bang Theory for three more seasons. TV’s top sitcom stars (from left) Simon Helberg, Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons and Kunal Nayyar.

Happy first day of spring!

Spring is nature’s time of rebirth, rejuvenation and renewal. It’s no different in the world of TV.

Most networks’ renewal lists won’t be announced until May, when the new fall lineups are unveiled. But as has become its custom, last week CBS rewarded 18 of its programs with early notices they’ll be around at least one more season.

No sitting by the phone; no sweating out a pink slip - such series can now relax and enjoy the spring and summer.

In the case of the hugely popular Big Bang Theory, the green light came for three (!) more seasons. That’ll ensure our favorite gaggle of geeks will be around at least through the 2016-2017 season.

Maybe by then Sheldon will take his relationship with Amy Farrah Fowler to the next level. If not, I fully expect Amy to explode.

“Comedy is a big part of our schedule, and The Big Bang Theory is the biggest comedy force on television,” Nina Tassler, chairman of CBS Entertainment, is quoted in the Los Angeles Times.

I can’t argue with that. Week after week the ensemble delivers witty dialogue with brilliant comedic timing. The cast chemistry is extraordinary, and the characters are comfortably well-defined, yet always surprising.

Now in its seventh season, The Big Bang Theory averages an impressive 19.8 million viewers each week.

What other series earned CBS’ seal of approval?

Making the early call-back list are: NCIS (TV’s No. 1 drama), The Good Wife (the best drama on network TV), NCIS: Los Angeles, CSI, Person of Interest, Hawaii Five-O, Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds and Elementary.

Other returning comedies are The Millers, Mom, 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly.

“Unscripted” returning shows are Survivor, The Amazing Race and Undercover Boss.

Unfortunately, Two and a Half Men, a comedy that ceased being funny years ago, also will be back.

Conspicuous by their absence are Robin Williams’ Crazy Ones (the ratings are falling), the cyber-thriller Intelligence, The Mentalist and Hostages (which is all but officially canceled anyway).

The jury is still out for those shows in limbo while CBS sifts through the pilots to see if there is something more promising.

TV Guide keeps a handy list of shows that get early renewals, those already kicked to the curb and those in limbo.

Here’s where we stand with the other network series a full two months before the fall lineups are officially announced.

ALREADY RENEWED

Series returning for the 2014-2015 season: American Dad (Fox show is moving to TBS); Arrow (CW); The Blacklist (NBC); Bob’s Burgers (Fox); Bones (Fox); Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox); Family Guy (Fox); The Following (Fox); Glee (Fox); Masterchef Junior (Fox); The Mindy Project (Fox); New Girl (Fox); The Originals (CW); Reign (CW); The Simpsons (Fox); Sleepy Hollow (Fox); So You Think You Can Dance (Fox); Supernatural (CW); and The Vampire Diaries (CW).

ALREADY AXED

These series have already been canned or are ending: The Assets (ABC); Back in the Game (ABC); How I Met Your Mother (CBS); Ironside (NBC); Killer Women (ABC); Lucky 7 (ABC); The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC); Nikita (CW); Raising Hope (Fox); Sean Saves the World (NBC); We Are Men (CBS); Welcome to the Family (NBC); and The X Factor (Fox).

THE REST

It’s too late for those on the axed list, but if you do not see your favorite show on the renewed list, don’t fret. It’s still way too early to panic.

Some shows not yet on the official returning list, such as ABC’s Modern Family and Scandal are sure bets. Others are obviously in trouble and waiting for the spring pilot season to be over and hoping nothing bright and shiny catches the network’s eye.

Among those on the TV Guide “Looking Not So Good” list are three of the never-miss favorites at our house: Nashville (ABC), Almost Human (Fox), and Revolution (NBC).

And it’s too soon to tell what the reaction will be for midseason offerings such as Resurrection (ABC), About a Boy (NBC) and more than a dozen others.

Here’s hoping your favorite makes it through.

Da Vinci returns. Season 2 of the historical fantasy Da Vinci’s Demons begins at 8 p.m. Saturday on Starz. Creator David S. Goyer promised it will be darker and more physical. That’s bigger and better if you don’t mind your history being, um, creative.

This season, Florence is in chaos and Leonardo Da Vinci (Tom Riley) must use all his abilities to defend his city against Rome.

Da Vinci will also continue his quest for the Book of Leaves - a journey that will take him to the New World.

Parents: Starz is a premium channel. You know what that means - lots of sex and violence unsuitable for the kiddies.

HBO special. John Leguizamo’s Ghetto Klown debuts at 8 p.m. Saturday on HBO. It’s Leguizamo’s semi-autobiographical one-man Broadway show. Taped in November, the special was directed by Fisher Stevens.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email: mstorey@arkansasonline.com

Weekend, Pages 34 on 03/20/2014

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