CBS has big plans for comedy in the 2013-2014 TV season. The network is launching four new comedies this fall, which is the most CBS has done in a long time. They’re also expanding Thursday to two hours of sitcoms and trying out two single-camera comedies (meaning no laugh tracks), something CBS hasn’t done in five years.

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They’ve also got a lot of star power, in front of and behind the camera. On Mondays there’s We Are Men with Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub (Monk) and Mom from CBS uber-creator Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Mike and Molly) starring Emmy winner Allison Janney (The West Wing).

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On Thursdays CBS is adding The Millers by Greg Garcia (Raising Hope, My Name Is Earl) starring Emmy nominee Will Arnett (Arrested Development, 30 Rock) and Emmy winners Margo Martindale (Justified) and Beau Bridges. Then there’s the big new comedy The Crazy Ones starring Oscar winner Robin Williams and Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Sarah Michelle Gellar, created by Emmy-winning David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, Boston Legal).

But will they succeed just because they all have past Emmy champions? Check out these in-depth behind-the-scenes looks to see if you’ll be checking out the new comedies on CBS this fall.

We Are Men

Time Slot: Mondays at 8:30pm

The Plot: Four single guys living at an apartment complex bond over their failed love lives and attempts to re-enter the dating world.

Prognosis: Everybody loves Monk’s Tony Shalhoub. Then there’s the fact that Jerry O’Connell seems to spend the entire pilot in a speedo, or at the very least, shirtless. Will the guy-centric single-camera comedy work on a night filled with rom-com How I Met Your Mother and the female-heavy 2 Broke Girls and Mom? I’m not sure. I need to see more, and I’m not talking about O’Connell since there’s not much more I’m allowed to see on broadcast television.


Time Slot: Mondays at 9:30pm

The Plot: A newly sober woman returns to her life of raising two kids when her insensitive mother shows up to lend a hand.

Prognosis: Chuck Lorre + CBS Sitcom is a can’t lose formula. Anna Faris looks charming, Allison Janney is unbelievably talented (like when Two and a Half Men nabbed Holland Taylor) and the jokes are as broad, low-brow and crowd-pleasing as you’d expect. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but Lorre knows how to make a pretty sturdy tire that CBS can drive on for a decade.

The Millers

Time Slot: Thursdays at 8:30pm

The Plot: A man’s recent divorce causes unexpected ripples when his dad decides to leave his mother after 43 years of marriage.

Prognosis: I’m not sure I could concoct a better cast than Will Arnett, Margo Martindale, Beau Bridges and the hilarious support of Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s J.B. Smoove. It also has the post-Big Bang Theory time slot, which is like a guarantee for success. It’s familiar enough to appeal to a large audience, but creator Greg Garcia knows how to make smart TV. Also, the scene of Will Arnett’s character being caught in the middle as his parents scream about masturbation is pretty funny.

The Crazy Ones

Time Slot: Thursdays at 9pm

The Plot: The crazy head of a Chicago ad agency runs things with his uptight daughter.

Prognosis: Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar is the kind of cast designed to make people jump for joy. Throw in critical darling James Wolk (who’s been on Lone Star, Political Animals, Shameless, Happy Endings and Mad Men) as well as Hamish Linklater (who was very funny on The New Adventures of Old Christine), and you have a great show. The trailer doesn’t feel like a CBS show, but maybe that’s what they’re trying to do. What I do know is that Williams and Wolk free-styling about McDonalds and Kelly Clarkson singing a sexy jingle is something I want to see a whole lot more of.

What do you think of CBS’ new comedies? Is the blend of traditional CBS sitcoms and daring new single-camera comedies going to work? Which one is most likely to die quickly, allowing Mike and Molly to return to the schedule?

(Image and videos courtesy of CBS)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.