With the writers strike beginning its second month, CBS may look to corporate sibling Showtime for an injection of original programming.
According to media reports, CBS Corp. President and CEO Les Moonves told reporters at the annual UBS Global Media & Communications Conference that "Dexter" is at least one candidate for a Showtime-to-CBS transplant.
"'Dexter' is probably the first one to go on -- with some edits," The Hollywood Reporter quotes Moonves as saying. "It fits with our crime shows."
Other candidates for network repurposing -- after edits for content and to fit with the time limitations of commercial broadcast -- might include the bodice-ripping drama "The Tudors" -- originally developed in a much tamer form for CBS -- and the 420-friendly comedy "Weeds."
Expectations for a repurposed Showtime transplant would also be hard to measure. The premium cable network did a minor celebration dance two weeks ago when the Nov. 18 episode of "Dexter" became the most-watched single airing ever for a Showtime series, drawing 1.23 million viewers. Those kinds of numbers wouldn't even keep a show afloat on fellow corporate sibling The CW. Of course, Showtime is only available in between 14 and 15 million homes, leaving vast expanses of audiences yet to meet Michael C. Hall's friendly neighborhood serial killer.
CBS and Showtime have had only limited back-and-forth in recent seasons. The cable network got solid ratings from a late-night live "Big Brother" feed this summer, while CBS aired an edited version of Showtime's "Brotherhood" two summers ago.
Relatively speaking, CBS is in less dire need of original programming than several other networks. Earlier this week, CBS announced a January and February programming revamp that includes fresh installments of "Big Brother" and "Survivor," new seasons of "Jericho" and "The New Adventures of Old Christine," plus the series premiere of the comedy "The Captain."