CBS’ New President Glenn Geller: Why the ‘CSI’ Franchise and ‘Supergirl’ Got Dropped

Melissa Benoist in Supergirl.
Melissa Benoist in Supergirl. Darren Michaels//CBS via Getty Images

Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but not powerful enough to prevail on Madison Avenue? After CBS announced late last week that it is canceling the final remaining CSI series (CSI: Cyber) and relegating Supergirl to the CW, the network is doing its best to explain the moves.

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During CBS’ upfronts conference call with reporters on Wednesday, May 18, president Glenn Geller — who landed the gig in September 2015 — said the final nail is not necessarily in the coffin for the storied CSI franchise, despite its last remaining show, CSI: Cyber — which starred Patricia Arquette and Ted Danson — getting the boot after two seasons. CSI has had a place on the network’s roster since the flagship series launched in September 2000. (CSI: Miami wrapped up in 2012 after 10 seasons, CSI: New York aired nine seasons before bowing out in 2013, and the original CSI ended its 15-season run in September 2015.)

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“I’m incredibly proud of all four shows that came out of the CSI franchise,” the exec said. “Clearly, it was huge hit for us, and a global hit — all four series.”

He said about the varying factors that went into dropping the ax, “These aren’t decisions where, ‘Yes, this show goes — this show doesn’t.'” And in floating a life raft of hope to the series’ legions of fans, he added, “[CSI] may come back in another incarnation, and that’s where it stands today.”

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As for Supergirl, which was highly anticipated last summer but is shifting to the CW for season 2, Geller admitted that it ultimately just didn’t attract quite enough viewers.

Patricia Arquette in CSI: Cyber
Patricia Arquette in ‘CSI: Cyber.’ Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images

“The ratings did start a little higher [at the beginning of the season], and they came down a bit, but I think it found the right home,” he said of the action series that stars Melissa Benoist.

The CBS boss also had to field questions from reporters about why the network’s slate appears to lean heavily on shows focusing on white males. Among the additions to its fall schedule are Kevin Can Wait, starring Kevin James, Bull, starring Michael Weatherly, The Great Indoors, with Joel McHale, Man With a Plan, starring Matt LeBlanc, and MacGyver, featuring X-Men’s Lucas Till.

“We are the network that has Madam Secretary, 2 Broke Girls and Mom,” Geller replied. “We have lots of female leads — we have a great balance.” He also praised the network for its midseason legal drama Doubt, which includes Katherine Heigl and Laverne Cox among its cast.

Tell Us: Does CBS’ reasoning for its schedule decisions make sense?

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