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upfronts 2014

6 Things We Learned at the CBS Upfront

The last of the Big Four networks held its upfront presentation to advertisers this afternoon, as CBS trotted out its signature mix of procedurals and broadly appealing sitcoms in the wake of the news that it had declined to pick up How I Met Your Dad, the HIMYM spinoff. With just one more day of upfront action to go (tomorrow, the CW and NBC Universal show off their upcoming wares), let’s take a look at a half-dozen notable moments from the CBS presentation.

1. Maybe CBS should do a live Cabaret? Alan Cumming opened the upfront first in character as The Good Wife's Eli Gold but then as the Emcee from Cabaret, doing "Willkommen," complete with extra-rosy nipples. Pretty good, even if it was a letdown that the rest of the Good Wife cast didn't join in.

2. David Letterman's a big Norm Macdonald fan. Not that we ever doubted it — but Letterman mentioned Macdonald by name (in this, his penultimate upfront!) and told his sorta infamous moth joke.

3. Battle Creek's not Breaking Bad. Don't expect Vince Gilligan's new show to be the second coming of Walter White. It's a CBS cop show — maybe a little sharper and savvier than an NCIS, but the promo reel was peppy and, well, standard. Here's to looking forward to Better Call Saul. But hey, Josh Duhamel gets to be funny again! Maybe no one remembers (or saw) Duhamel as con artist Leo Dupree on All My Children, but being devilish suits him better than chasing robots ever did.

4. Like The Following with more literal following! Thank Kevin Williamson for Stalker, starring Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott as detectives who investigate stalking incidents. And just like The Following, it all begins with a creepy villain killing a terrified girl in a horrifying way. (He sets her on fire!) Should fit in nicely airing right after Criminal Minds.

5. Katharine MacPhee is on a show about the five smartest people on the planet. She plays the mom of one of them. So watch Scorpion if that interests you!

6. The McCarthys has Joey McIntyre in it. So CBS has two members of New Kids on the Block in prime time. Nice! The McCarthys is about a family from Bahstan, whose matriarch (Laurie Metcalf) is obsessed with The Good Wife.

Photo: CBS