CBS passes on 'Moonlight'
Four primetime favorites set for next season
By CYNTHIA LITTLETON
Producers of "How I Met Your Mother," "The New Adventures of Old Christine," "Rules of Engagement" and "The Unit" can stop biting their nails -- CBS has renewed all four skeins. But fans of "Moonlight" are going to be up in arms because the Eye has passed on a sophomore sesh of the vampire drama starring Alex O'Loughlin.
A third-season renewal of "Mother," from 20th Century Fox TV, was never really in doubt, given its buzzworthy status and its ratings momentum during the past two months since its post-strike return. "Old Christine" was on the fence for a while, and ABC let it be known that if CBS were to pass on a third season the Julia Louis-Dreyfus starrer it would nab the Warner Bros. TV show.
"Rules of Engagement," from Sony Pictures TV, was also a fence-sitter but is known to have its fans at the Eye. "The Unit," from 20th Century Fox TV, is seen as a durable performer that has done respectable business wherever it has run. In fact, the delay in the renewal of "Unit" was something of a surprise.
"Moonlight," meanwhile, was done in by a combination of factors. It's understood that Eye execs were not impressed with the show's creative development, and there was much drama and turnover behind the scenes among producers and scribes. The final straw was the show's middling ratings perf during the past few weeks after its post-strike return.
CBS execs declined comment on any of its pickup news Tuesday. Eye presents its 2008-09 lineup on Wednesday at Carnegie Hall.