CBS looks ahead to summer programs

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PASADENA, Calif. -- It may only be January, but CBS is already planning for summer.

The network announced four summer shows: a bake-off competition (8 p.m. May 29), the new Stephen King scripted drama "Under the Dome" (10 p.m. June 24), an earlier start for "Big Brother" (9 p.m. June 26) and the second season of 2011-12 crime drama "Unforgettable" (9 p.m. July 28).

"Under the Dome," a 13-episode serialized drama, is based on Mr. King's novel about a small town sealed off from the rest of the world by a transparent dome.

CBS is also looking ahead to fall. A ninth season of "How I Met Your Mother" is expected to be a done deal within a few days, and CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler said she'd like to have another season of "Two and a Half Men," although none of the cast is signed to return.

As for "Half Man" Angus T. Jones, who blasted the show as "filth" in a video that went viral last fall, Ms. Tassler said he has apologized, she has moved on and hopes he'll be back for another season, and she thinks he'd like to return.

But first, there are the midseason shows, including the police drama "Golden Boy" (10 p.m. Feb. 26).

"Golden Boy" stars Theo James (aka Mr. Pamuk from season one of "Downton Abbey") as a New York city police office who has a meteoric rise to police commissioner. The pilot is framed by scenes in the future and then goes back to explore the beginning of the officer's rise through the ranks.

Executive producer Nick Wootton, who wrote for "NYPD Blue" on and off for 11 seasons, said he was inspired by "The Social Network."

"I thought that feels to me like the modern, young male," he said. "There is this drive and ambition and this sort of thoughtlessness and forward-thinking and I-don't-care-who-gets-burned ambition, and I thought, what if that sort of mentality is in a cop. This is a modern-day character who has this ferocious ambition and he wants more than is on his plate."

Fellow executive producer Greg Berlanti ("Everwood") suggested the flash forward to the future element, a device he previously used on Mr. Berlanti's "Jack & Bobby."

"It adds an epic sort of level to the storytelling," he said.

Mr. Wootton was on board with adding that layer to "Golden Boy."

"I love a story where you know the end," Mr. Wootton said, "because it instantly makes it about the character."

Showtime shakes up 2013

Showtime is moving "Dexter" from its recent fall slot to summer, launching a new season on June 30 to support the premiere of new drama "Ray Donovan."

The premium cable drama also will use "Homeland" in the fall, starting Sept. 29, as a lead-in to new drama series "Masters of Sex."

"Nurse Jackie" and "The Borgias" return for a new season on April 14, and the final season of "The Big C," which will air as four one-hour episodes, debuts April 29. "Web Therapy" will be back in summer.

Alas, "Episodes" won't return until early 2014 with production roughly split between London and Los Angeles. Showtime Entertainment president David Nevins attributed the length of time between seasons -- more than a year -- to the deal he made with the show's writing team, David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, who write the whole thing themselves. "Episodes" gets produced on a time table that works for them.

On the specials front, Showtime will debut the R.J. Cutler ("The September Issue") documentary "The World According to Dick Cheney" on March 15, made with Mr. Cheney's full support.

Showtime also ordered a new drama series, "Penny Dreadful," which Showtime describes as "a psychosexual horror series" set in Victorian London and featuring Dr. Frankenstein and his creature, Dorian Gray, characters from "Dracula," and maybe Jack the Ripper. "Penny Dreadful" is written by John Logan ("Hugo," "Gladiator") and executive produced by Sam Mendes ("American Beauty"), who most recently collaborated on the most recent James Bond film, "Skyfall."

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A portion of this column originally appeared online in the Tuned In Journal blog. Post-Gazette TV writer Rob Owen is attending the Television Critics Association winter press tour. Follow RobOwenTV at Twitter or Facebook. You can reach him at 412-263-2582 or rowen@post-gazette.com.


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