CBS says no fear of TV shows getting drowned out by monkeys

LOS ANGELES, July 29 Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:54pm EDT

LOS ANGELES, July 29 (Reuters) - CBS won't be monkeying around with its traditional fall TV show roll out, despite rival networks moving up the premieres of many of their new comedies and dramas to late August or early September.

CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler told television reporters on Sunday that the No. 1 U.S. network had no concerns about its new shows being drowned out by rivals like NBC's "Animal Practice," which features a cute monkey and will debut in August.

"I got a monkey, too!", Tassler said, opening CBS's preview for TV journalists by appearing with a cuddly soft toy monkey. "I couldn't resist," she added.

CBS, a unit of CBS Corp, has been the most-watched U.S. network for nine years thanks to hits like comedy "The Big Bang Theory" and crime franchises "NCIS" and "CSI."

It is introducing just four new TV shows this fall, including a modern version of Sherlock Holmes called "Elementary" and a 1960s-era drama starring movie actor Dennis Quaid called "Vegas."

CBS will roll out its new ventures in the last week of September, the only one of the four leading U.S. TV networks to stick with the industry's traditional premiere week.

"We like premiere week, we like the excitement and the energy ... we do a great job promoting our shows all summer. It works and our audience expects it," Tassler said.

"The quality of the shows speak for themselves," she added. "It's a very cluttered, noisy universe. But we are coming out with shows like 'Elementary' with Sherlock Holmes and 'Vegas' with Dennis Quaid coming to series TV ... all of this gets a lot of attention so it serves us well," she added.

Tassler noted that CBS had scored "a trifecta" of successes, including ending the 2011-12 TV season as the most-watched network in terms of overall viewers, scoring the most nominations for the upcoming Emmy Awards, and coming out on top in terms of revenue for advance advertising sales for the upcoming season.

She also said that 80 percent of CBS's returning shows had been sold into syndication, boosting revenue for the network and its TV producing arm.

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