05/16/2012 at 08:00 PM EDT
The upfront event for top-rated CBS typically has the smoothness and confidence of a long-running Broadway musical that makes other productions in the area look like dinner theater.
Wednesday afternoon's event, which included an entertaining rap-opera number by NCIS L.A.
star LL Cool J and lyric soprano Danielle de Niese, was no different. CEO Les Moonves, bragging about the network's position of strength, summed up his pitch to advertisers in four syllables.
"Blah," he began, concluding, "blah, blah, blah."
The biggest news was the announcement that Two and a Half Men
, having re-secured the services of wily man-child Ashton Kutcher
, was being moved to Thursdays and teamed with The Big Bang Theory
The theory is that this will defeat other networks by creating an impenetrable force field of howling sitcom laughter.
The network plans to add four shows for fall, one sitcom (Partners
, starring Michael Urie and David Krumholtz, and three dramas. Of this quartet, the best two – judged by a careful analysis of clips shown at Manhattan's Carnegie Hall – will probably be:
: Jonny Lee Miller plays a modern Sherlock Holmes operating out of New York City, with Lucy Liu as his Watson. Miller's performance looks like a clever blend of deadpan British charm and believable flickers of psychosis – this Holmes is just out of rehab. (Watch a preview above.)
: An old-fashioned, cowboy-hatted lawman (Dennis Quaid) stands up to a shiny-domed mobster (Michael Chiklis) who's infiltrating the town as it enters the big-casino era of the 1960s. One would guess that the moral dilemma of corruption is given more attention than all those retro doodads that grounded ABC's Pan Am