Playlist: CBS Showrunners Share What They’re Watching (Hint: It’s Not Each Other’s Shows)

by | August 21, 2012 at 4:16 PM | Fall TV Preview 2012

"Breaking Bad" is just one of the cable dramas that many EP's say they're watching (AMC)

If you’re not watching “Breaking Bad,” “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men” or “Homeland,” you may be missing out. These shows are overwhelmingly the favorite TV viewing of the executive producers and showrunners from CBS procedural shows — “Criminal Minds,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “CSI: NY,” “Elementary,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “NCIS,” and “NCIS: Los Angeles” — and these are people who know good TV when they see it.

DVR the NextEpisode of “Breaking Bad”

So why don’t they watch each other’s shows? It is a fact that can easily be explained. With only so many original stories and so many types of crimes to write about, no one wants to be accused of being a copycat. So, if you don’t watch your competitors, no ideas can’t slip into your subconscious mind that might pop up later but which have already been done!

Of course, these head honchos are very busy people, who are responsible for creating at least 22 episodes of their respective shows each year — so when we asked them why they prefer certain shows over others, it all came down to one thing: the writing. Of course, there are other reasons their favorite shows standout. To find out what else these titans of TV had to say — and what else they watch — read on:

Gary Glasberg (“NCIS“) — I have so little time. I try to DVR as much as I can. I want to watch whatever is new that I can in terms of what people are responding to and curious about. I am a big “Breaking Bad” fan and I am a “Mad Man” fan. I am anxious to see the new “Vegas” show that CBS is doing. [Executive producer] Greg Walker is a friend of mine. And “Elementary” — I am actually very curious about that. I wish I had more time to watch. We put in long days. Add “NCIS” to Your Queue.

Rob Doherty (“Elementary“) — Wow! What do I watch now? That is a really good question. “Homeland” is incredible. “Game of Thrones” — I am a big fan. “Luther” is one of my favorite shows and “Torchwood” is great stuff. And a particular favorite is “Justified.” It is one of the reasons I wanted to work with Carl Beverly, who produces “Justified.” Add “Elementary” to Your Queue

Watch an Extended Preview of “Elementary”:

Carl Beverly (“Elementary“) — I love “Homeland,” “Justified,” and “Torchwood.” One of the reasons Rob and I are working together is we like a lot of the same kind of shows. “The Good Wife” is not something I watch every week, but particularly on CBS, I like the idea they are embracing serialized storytelling. And they are kind of allowing the soap of the lives of these people in the firm — and her life in particular — that they are letting that flourish.

Shane Brennan (“NCIS: Los Angeles“) — I actually don’t get the chance to watch a lot of television. I watch “Game of Thrones.” I love that. It is the full package in my mind. It is beautifully written, the casting is perfect, the acting is extraordinary, the execution — and a lot of people take that for granted — but what those guys do every week is deliver this fantasy world and it is seamless. People believe it exists. There should be an Emmy for that kind of storytelling, where you take an almost impossible show and it is a Herculean effort, and you deliver it so perfectly. On network television, “Modern Family.” Add “NCIS: Los Angeles” to Your Queue.

Erica Messer (“Criminal Minds“) — I am an equal opportunity watcher. I love comedies because I think I need to laugh after what I write all day, and I love dramas. “Homeland” is up there on my list of favorites. I love “30 Rock,” “Parks & Recreation,” “Mad Men,” and “The Walking Dead.” Add “Criminal Minds” to Your Queue.

Pam Veasey (“CSI: NY“) — I watch “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men,” anything with a costume or a period. I watch “Breaking Bad.” I have a requirement. If a show when I see it makes me [she gasps], I call it the gasp moment, I am hooked. I actually like “Episodes,” because I like to laugh at what we do. I was a major “Tudors” fan, I loved “Camelot.” I love history. I love going back in time. I am a major period-piece person because I love the history of it, so immediately I am hooked on those shows if they work. Add “CSI: NY” to Your Queue.

Zach Reiter (“CSI: NY“) — I watch “Breaking Back” for the innovative storytelling, for Bryan Cranston, for Aaron Paul. It is an amazing show. All the shows I am going to name are for obvious reasons: I watch “Mad Men.” It is really brilliant. What [executive producer] Matt Weiner does with that is fantastic. [I] Love “Game of Thrones.” I am a huge fan of “Survivor.” I have watched every season. The gamesmanship, the mind games, the psychology of it, I can’t get enough.

Peter Lenkov (“Hawaii Five-0“) — You know what I just started to watch? “Boss.” I think it is amazing. I watched three episodes in a row. It is an amazing television show. I like “Breaking Bad,” I like “Justified,” but to me right now, “Boss” is where my head is. The writing and the casting. Add “Hawaii Five-0″ to Your Queue.

Carol Mendelsohn (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation“) — I love the new Sigourney Weaver show, “Political Animals.” One my favorite shows is coming back in August — “Strike Back” with Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton. I love my own show, “Dogs in the City” — I wish that would come back — and “Downton Abbey.” One of the favorite shows of all the writers at “CSI” is “Sherlock.” Add “CSI” to Your Queue.

Don McGill (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation“) — I am watching “CSI,” and I watch “Mad Men,” “Sherlock,” “White Chapel,” and “Downton Abbey.”