First impressions: CBS does what CBS does

Threerivers_alexoloughlin_katherinemoennig_290 CBS executives talked a lot Wednesday about how stable their schedule is and how nearly all the network's new shows will have established hits around them. And with good reason -- the network is very good at designing a schedule that gives its shows a good chance to succeed.

The crop of newbies on the network next season doesn't take any big swings, with a spinoff of one of its most popular shows ("NCIS: Los Angeles"), two shows with well-known stars ("Accidentally on Purpose" with Jenna Elfman and "The Good Wife" with Julianna Margulies) and one featuring a lead actor with an adoring fan base ("Three Rivers" with Alex O'Loughlin).

It's not especially sexy, but it will probably be effective. Here's a rundown of the four fall shows and two midseason series CBS previewed Wednesday.


"Accidentally on Purpose" (watch a clip)

Elfman is a very watchable actress, and she seems to have decent chemistry with Jon Foster as the younger guy with whom a one-night stand results in a pregnancy. His slacker buddies, though, look more like than ill-conceived attempts to draw a younger audience than actual characters. I also kind of wonder what might happen after the baby arrives.

"The Good Wife" (watch a clip)

It's got a really intriguing premise: The wife (Margulies) of a scandal-ridden politician (Chris Noth) restarts her long-dormant professional life after he's sent to prison. Margulies can convey a lot of emotion with just a look, and it serves her well here. But based on the trailer we saw, the show might be served better if those emotions were a little more raw. Still curious to see the full pilot.

"NCIS: Los Angeles" (watch a clip)

Fans of the original "NCIS" already have an idea what to expect from this show thanks to the two-part spinoff setup that aired a few weeks ago. Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J are your two leads, and they had a pretty fair amount of buddy-cop chemistry in the setup. If they can keep it up, that will go a long way toward making the new show a success.

"Three Rivers" (watch a clip)

O'Loughlin fans are excited to have their guy back on TV, but the show CBS has placed him in looks almost painfully earnest. Perhaps the full pilot will play better -- and exhibit a sense of humor -- but the trailer was designed to make sure you knew how dedicated, caring and generally awesome the doctors at a transplant center in Pittsburgh are. It might as well have put halos around their heads. 


(CBS also has two other midseason shows, a medical drama called "Miami Trauma" and the reality show "Arranged Marriage," but didn't show any footage to the audience Wednesday.)

"The Bridge"

This Canadian import stars "Battlestar Galactica's" Aaron Douglas as a beat cop who becomes head of the union for his fellow officers and takes on all the burdens that entails. Douglas shows a ton of charisma in the role, and it's a slightly different take on the typical cop show that could make it worth checking out.

"Undercover Boss"

CEOs and other top-level executives come out of the corner office and work with rank-and-file employees of their companies in this reality show. It's a good concept for the times -- the bosses' eyes are invariably opened to the issues facing their workers -- and will undoubtedly end up being pretty good PR for the companies that take part.