The CBS executive session during the Television Critics Association summer press tour took a contentious turn when the network’s new bosses found themselves defending CBS’s position on diversity since not a single one of its new fall shows features a female lead.
However, CBS’s recently appointed executive vice president of programming Thom Sherman explained that CBS actually did develop a number of pilots built around female leads, but those particular shows didn’t wind up getting ordered.
“The way things turned out, those pilots were not felt to be as good as some of the other series that were picked up,” he said at the session, held Monday. “That’s just the cycle of business and how it happens sometimes.”
After reading a story about the issue, actress Jessica Chastain took to Twitter to offer a stern rebuke, suggesting she’ll be watching other TV options that have done better at creating female-centred series.
However, while the CBS fall lineup features such male-led series as “Young Sheldon”, “S.W.A.T.” (starring Shemar Moore) and “SEAL Team” (starring David Boreanaz), this is not necessarily the case across the board.
For example, CBS drama “Madam Secretary” and sitcom “Mom” both feature female leads (Tea Leoni, and Anna Faris and Allison Janney, respectively), while “NCIS” (easily the network’s most popular show) has just added Nia Long and Maria Bello as series regulars.
In addition, CBS All Access — the network’s streaming service — is producing a second season of the female-led “Good Wife” spinoff “The Good Fight”, while its anxiously awaited “Star Trek: Discovery” also features a woman in the lead role, former “Walking Dead” star Sonequa Martin-Green.