Jeff Korbelik: CBS renews 18 shows from its lineup

March 26, 2017 GMT

CBS announced this week its renewed 18 of its series, including its ratings monster, “The Big Bang Theory,” for two more seasons.

“Big Bang,” which concludes its 10th season this year, was in a bit of a limbo with actors Melissa Rauch (Bernadette) and Mayim Bialik (Amy) holding out for new contracts. Both joined in season three, but were paid considerably less -- reportedly $200,000 per episode -- compared to regulars Jim Parsons (Sheldon), Kaley Cuoco (Penny), Johnny Galecki (Leonard), Simon Helberg (Howard) and Kunal Nayyar (Raj), who were making $1 million per episode.

The five volunteered to cut their salary by $100,000 each to free up money for Rauch and Bialik, who would see their pay increase to $400,00-plus per episode. At press time, Rauch and Bialik hadn’t signed new deals yet, but were expected to in wake of the show’s renewal.

As for CBS’ other series, what wasn’t renewed (yet) is proving to be more newsworthy than what was renewed.

Longtime shows “Criminal Minds,” “Elementary,” “2 Broke Girls” and “Undercover Boss” weren’t on the list. Nor was “Code Black,” “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders,” “The Odd Couple” or the new Joel McHale comedy, “The Great Indoors.”

But we’re still two months away from when CBS officially will announce its season. Last year, the “Criminal Minds” renewal came in at the last minute.

New shows getting renewed are “Bull,” “Kevin Can Wait,” “MacGyver,” “Man With a Plan” and, surprisingly “Superior Donuts.” Veteran shows returning will be “48 Hours,” “60 Minutes,” “Blue Bloods,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “Life in Pieces,” “Madam Secretary,” “Mom,” “NCIS,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “NCIS: New Orleans,” “Scorpion,” and “Survivor.”

For sure cancellations include Katherine Heigl’s “Doubt” (it lasted two episodes) and these other newbies: “Genius,” “Ransom,” “Hunted” and “Training Day,” which lost its star Bill Paxton, who died Feb. 25 at age 61.

Across the remote

Two new comedies air this week. They are:

* “Imaginary Mary,” 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, ABC. The network offers a sneak peek of the Jenna Elfman comedy this week before it begins airing regularly at 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, beginning April 4.

Sadly, this is more dreck for Elfman, who’s list of one-season-or-less sitcoms include “1600 Penn” (NBC), “Accidentally on Purpose” (CBS)” and “Growing Up Fisher” (NBC). The “Dharma & Greg” star deserves better material.

Here, she plays a single independent career woman who falls for a divorced father (Stephen Schneider) with three kids in the comedy co-created by Adam Goldberg (“The Goldbergs”). Feeling overwhelmed by the relationship, Elfman’s character brings back her imaginary friend, Mary, from her childhood to help her deal. Mary, voiced by Rachel Dratch, is not funny, just annoying, extremely so. Grade: D+

* “Nobodies,” 9 p.m. Wednesday, TV Land. The clever comedy, executive produced by Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone, scored a season two pickup two months before this week’s premiere. That’s how high TV Land is on it. And for good reason.

The series stars comics Hugh Davidson, Larry Dorf and Rachel Ramras playing themselves as former members The Groundlings, a Los Angeles improv company whose alumni also includes McCarthy, Falcone, Maya Rudolph, Jim Rash and Nat Faxon. Davidson, Dorf and Ramras, however, haven’t achieved the success of the others and are trying almost anything to do so with hilarious consequences.

The scene of Dorf pitching actor Jason Bateman, whom he calls Justin, a movie while playing a pickup basketball game is laugh out loud funny. Grade: B+