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Les Moonves Previews CBS’ 2017-18 Season: ‘Probably 4 New Shows’ From 17 Pilots

Chairman and CEO believes he’ll return ”at least five, maybe six“ freshmen from this year

Leslie Moonves teased CBS’ 2017-18 television season Tuesday morning, when he estimated there will be “probably four new shows” picked up from the network’s 17 pilots.

Two of those will probably be comedies, the chairman and CEO explained, leaving two slots for dramas. The total pool from which he can pull is a bit down this year from his normal number, Moonves admitted of that sub-20 total.

Final decisions will be made on the eve of broadcast’s upfronts season this May.

So what else will fill out the fall schedule? Well, CBS is a network of stability, so expect most of the franchises to stick around another year.

Of the freshmen he has on the air currently, Moonves added, “We think we can return at least five, maybe six,” series.

During his time on stage at Tuesday’s Deutsche Bank 2017 Media & Telecom Conference, the CBS boss also gave a light update on “The Big Bang Theory” cast members’ contract negotiations.

“We are very close to getting a two-year extension,” he said of that deal. “We’re virtually on the 2-yard line, so I expect you will hear news of that fairly shortly.”

When negotiations with the cast cross the goal line, the top comedy on television is expected to put up 48 more episodes over two years.

Moonves also said that the “Big Bang Theory” prequel “Little Sheldon” prequel will probably follow the original series on the primetime schedule, which provides a huge a natural lead-in for the newbie. Perhaps that will help make CBS the most-watched broadcast network for 15 of 16 years straight.