CBS takes a chance -- Gambles like "Survivor" succeeded while others like "Central Park West" never saw season 2

CBS may have earned a reputation for playing it safe, but in reality — and we’re not just talking about the genre — the network has taken its share of edgy, if not outlandish, risks.

Central Park West (1995)
The Risk
CBS tries to attract younger viewers by recruiting Melrose Place mastermind Darren Star to create a backstabby prime-time soap.
The Result
After a few months, the show is yanked for retooling. Not even the addition of Raquel Welch can keep it on the air.

Public Morals (1996)
The Risk
CBS tries to get a little raunchy as NYPD drama king Steven Bochco combines a vice squad with a laugh track.
The Result
A critically derided morass of crass, including that infamous reference to the “p—y posse.” The show is taken off the streets after one episode.

Survivor (2000)
The Risk
CBS tries to score in an unproven genre for broadcast networks with this island-set reality series full of manipulators and hot bodies.
The Result
Fifty-two million people watch Richard Hatch win the loot; the show ignites the reality craze?and will kick off season 17 in September.

Viva Laughlin (2007)
The Risk
CBS tries to bring the musical dramedy to prime time. The story involves a casino, a murder mystery, a singing Melanie Griffith, and lots of cheesy choreography.
The Result
The house folds after two episodes, and America gains a slightly greater appreciation for Cop Rock.

Central Park West
  • TV Show