It’s the most coveted piece of real estate in television: the time slot immediately following the Super Bowl. Standout shows such as Friends, Grey’s Anatomy, The Simpsons and Glee have all aired there and been rewarded with hefty ratings boosts.
So what’s the lucky series that will serve as postgame dessert this year? Why, it’s Elementary, dear viewer — the freshman CBS crime procedural that offers a fresh take on Sherlock Holmes.
“We could not be more excited,” executive producer Rob Doherty told reporters at the recent TV critics press tour. “ … It’s a tremendous honor to get it as a first-year show. And we’re going to do our level best to keep a lot of that audience in their seats after the game.”
The decision to go with Elementary is a bit of a departure for CBS, which bestowed the prized slot upon reality shows three of the past four times it has carried the Super Bowl. In 2001 and 2004, the network aired Survivor, and in 2010 the premiere of Undercover Boss. In 2007 CBS went with the drama Criminal Minds, which was in its second season.
Elementary hasn’t exactly been a blockbuster hit. Of the 14 million viewers it averages, only 59 percent reportedly are watching live. But it’s still a solid performer for CBS, and the massively watched lead-in could help grow its audience.
“The fact that CBS is giving us that slot after the Super Bowl only maintains that they are really behind the show. We feel very honored,” says Lucy Liu, who plays Joan Watson opposite Jonny Lee Miller’s Sherlock Holmes.
Elementary plunges Arthur Conan Doyle’s fabled sleuth into the 21st century.
As presented by the charismatic Miller, this Holmes is an English expat working as a police consultant in New York City. A brusque genius damaged by addiction, he recently left rehab and has a bit of darkness to him.
Those who have followed Elementary know the series has begun to delve into the Holmes mythology, from Irene Adler to the detective’s notorious nemesis Moriarity. Also, Doherty says that fans soon will be introduced to Sherlock’s former dealer from London, and the show will take on more of a serialized format in the second half of the season.
“The window into Sherlock and his experience in London will be opened that much wider,” he teased.
As for the Super Bowl episode, titled The Deductionist, Doherty is stingy with details. The plot has Holmes pursuing an “unpredictable” criminal played by Terry Kinney and working with an FBI profiler (Kari Matchett).