CBS Entertainment president Nina Tessler said at the network's upfront presentation to advertisers Wednesday that "Two Broke Girls," which will lead into the revamped "Two and a Half Men" this fall, was the best-testing show ever for the network.
The show stars Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs as waitresses, one of whom — Behrs' character, is the daughter of a Bernie Madoff-like former billionaire. Footage shown to advertisers suggested a mix of sharp, occasionally sexual jokes alongside begrudgingly heartfelt moments, sort of along the lines of "How I Met Your Mother."
Tassler also the new "Person of Interest" was the best-testing drama ever for the network. The thriller stars Jim Cava as a former CIA and Michael Emerson as a billionaire, who work together to prevent bad stuff from happening.
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The presentation also featured the first appearance of Ashton Kutcher with his "Two and a Half Men" co-stars.
The upfront, which took place at Carnegie Hall, kicked off with Regis Philbin guesting in a funny "Blue Bloods" intro as a hood who had stolen CBS's 2011-12 schedule.
"I don't want to retire," said Reege, as Donnie Wahlberg roughed him up. "Joy will drive me nuts."
After the clip, CBS president and CEO Les Moonves said he'd keep his speech short — really short. "I'll be up here for a very short time — tops, two and a half minutes," he said, and kept his promise.
The meat of his quick stint on the stage? "There's no question that biz is back," said Moonves. "Advertising is back. What a feeling."
"At CBS, we don't rebuild, we reload," he continued, referring to the consistency of the most-watch network. He recalled that a string of hits — including, he said, "yes, 'Two and a Half Men'" — were first introduced onstage at Carnegie Hall, the site of Wednesday's presentation.
CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler noted that CBS leads in total viewers, even though Fox leads in the 18-49 demo.
"If it weren't for that cute little talent show on another network," she quipped, referring to Fox's "American Idol" pointedly, "we'd be the top network in the 18 to 49 demo also."
Scott Pelley, who replaces Katie Couric June 6, took the stage to promise that he'd deliver "the very best evening news broadcast anywhere in America."
Tassler boasted that the network has little room for new shows in its successful schedule. "It's a high class problem," she said.