CBS Chief Enlists Stuffed Monkey to Ding Rivals

Nina Tassler says CBS wants to earn No. 1 rating spot in 18-49

CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler enlisted a stuffed monkey to take a few jabs at her networks' rivals at a Television Critics Association panel Sunday.

Getty ImagesShe walked onstage with the monkey — wearing a "How I Met Your Mother" tie — as a dig at NBC's "Animal Practice." NBC's show brought the monkey onstage at a TCA panel earlier this week.

Tassler (with another animal friend, left) noted it had been an oddity-filled TCA: It has included appearances by the monkey and Sarah Palin. Fox chief Kevin Reilly, meanwhile, announced Mariah Carey as the new "American Idol" judge by calling her on his cell phone.

Reilly also said CBS, the first-place network in total viewers, might overtake Fox as the most-watched network in the 18-49 demo this season.

"Thanks, Kevin, but I think we'll try to earn it before we claim it," she said.

She also said a lawsuit accusing ABC's "Glass House" of ripping off CBS's "Big Brother" is still going forward.

"We're extremely protective of our brands and the creative infrastructure of the show's themselves," she said.

Tassler said CBS is in talks with "How I Met Your Mother" creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays about continuing the show beyond its upcoming, eighth season.

She also said CBS's development season is in full swing, with casting well underway for the comedy "Ex-Men."

She also addressed the disappointing Thursday debut of the reality show "3," which had CBS's lowest rating ever for a new series premiere. It received a 0.8/2 and 2.4 million total viewers.

Though she didn't say CBS was pulling the plug, she did refer to the series in the past tense.

"It was a show we tried, we were excited about, [that] didn't quite get traction," she said.

Tassler also noted that CBS had the most nominations of any broadcast network this season. It had 60 to HBO's 81.