Summer TCA Has Come to a Close. Here's the Buzz, Memorable Quotes and Party Highlights For Each of the Major Broadcast Networks' Presentations
The buzz: “The Big Bang theory" is moving to Thursday nights. New cop shows with old-school vibe—the reboot of “Hawaii Five-0” and “Blue Bloods,” starring Tom Selleck as an NYPD commissioner with family members that are cops and prosecutors. Justin Bieber will star in the season premiere of “CSI.” No pesky management changes to muck things up. Nina Tassler being asked whether Julie Chen get her slot on "The Talk" because she is married to Les Moonves, and explaining it was creator Sara Gilbert's concept from the start.
The highlights: After the second year in a row of receiving a failing grade from GLAAD on the number of gay and lesbian characters on the air, the network added LGBT roles to freshman hit "The Good Wife," “Rules of Engagement" and "$#*! My Dad Says." “Mike & Molly” looks to be the latest title in the Chuck Lorre hit parade.
Jim Belushi, waxing euphoric about shooting "The Defenders" at CBS Radford, where he shot "According to Jim": "Same stage. I've got the same dressing room. I'm so excited. There's a Starbucks on the lot…five sushi restaurants on Ventura Blvd. It's about the life, too, you know."
Jerry O'Connell, on Sin City, where his show is set but not shot: "I used to go to Vegas with about 20 or 30 friends, and we'd share one hotel room. So that's how I remember Vegas, but now that I'm married, look, I go there with my wife. A lot of shopping is done. To be honest, my credit card maxed out the last time we went there.”
Nina Tassler’s reaction to Steve McPherson’s abrupt departure from ABC: "Damn it, he got out of doing press tour. I think that was his whole motivation and ‘I'd like a case of chardonnay over the holidays.’ He's a great guy. He's a good friend, and I wish him the best.”
The party: An open-air tent at the former Robinsons-May building. Lots of fatty, high-carb foods like chicken and waffles served in cones, pizza, Chinese chicken salad, cookies and milk and a gelato bar. Not a fork in sight. Chuck Lorre wanted one for the carved roast beef and in lieu of bread opted to use the only other alternative. Les Moonves and Julie Chen made the rounds, as did talent from the Eye, CW and Showtime, including Tom Selleck, William Shatner, Ed Westwick, Maggie Q. and Sela Ward. No champagne at the bar coupled with the hard-to-eat, caloric food and the porta-potty trailers left some grumbling. Next year, perhaps, some healthier alternatives and utensils.
The buzz: “Undercovers,” featuring two little-known lead black actors who are impossibly gorgeous. Will that revolutionize television casting? The departure of Steve Carell from “The Office” and how he’ll be replaced. “The Event” aims to fill the holes left by “Lost” and “24.”
The highlights: Jimmy Smits returning to series television in “Outlaw.” Terrence Howard playing a D.A. in “LOLA” (Law & Order: Los Angeles) Questions about whether the concept and execution of “Outsourced” is offensive. Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” join Syfy’s “Ghost Hunters” as special investigators.
Angela Bromstad on “The Office” soldiering on without Carell: “Would we have ended ‘ER’ when George Clooney left? That would have been a mistake. Otherwise, I could not go home and face my 14-year-old son.”
Jimmy Fallon: “One thing I’ve learned is that hosting “Late Night” is a one-way ticket to not hosting ‘The Tonight Show.’”
Jesse Metcalf, on his new role in “Chase,” about U.S. marshals hunting down fugitives: “The ‘Desperate Housewives’ shipped has sailed. I have high hopes, and this is something new and special, fresh and exciting.”
The party: Held in the same location as many of the network’s recent Golden Globes soirées, the rooftop parking lot at the Beverly Hilton. Barely warmer than in winter, guests flitted from heat lamp to heat lamp and moved in and out of the Zucker zone. The NBCU honcho spent a lot of quality time schmoozing those brave enough to speak with him. Talent from USA Networks and Bravo shows also worked the crowd, and Michaele and Tareq Salahi didn’t have to crash to get in, since they’re now on “Real Housewives of D.C.” On the menu, tray-passed sushi and a buffet that included roast beef and grilled asparagus. Bubbly at the bar and silverware were in plentiful supply. Bathroom benefit: in private suites on the top floor of the hotel.
The buzz: The elephant in the room became literally an elephant in the room. A stuffed pink one brought in by communications chief Kevin Brockman to represent what wouldn’t be discussed—the abrupt departure of Steve McPherson. Through his attorney, McPherson denied a report it involved a sexual harassment investigation possibly involving other ABC employees or talent. “I’m not going to talk about Steve,” said newly promoted Paul Lee, as he did his best to field questions about the network’s programming slate.
The highlights: “Modern Family” winning the TCA award for outstanding comedy. Officials of Motor City apparently not thrilled about the new drama “Detroit 1-8-7,” cop and gang code for murder. Maura Tierney replaces Joely Richardson on the legal drama “The Whole Truth.” “No Ordinary Family,” starring Michael Chiklis, melds family drama with superhero fantasy.
Paul Lee, on taking over the presidency of ABC Entertainment: "This is one of the premiere iconic storytelling brands, but I am super unprepared. I've been on the job 36 hours. I'm looking forward to rolling my sleeves up and getting to work."
Matthew Perry, on his role in “Mr. Sunshine,” for which he wrote the pilot: "My character is selfish because I knew someone for whom that was the case for a long time. If you want an answer to that, just pick up any newspaper from 1996, or look on any magazine cover. They say write what you know. It's an interesting road for someone to take, to change terrible behavior and become a better guy."
James Malinchak, on being a real-life benefactor in “Secret Millionaire”: “We’re doing a show, but these are their lives.”
The party: No need for a jacket to ward against the summer chill at the indoor Beverly Hills ballroom. Shaquille O'Neal and some Disney characters also heated things up in the room—as did Sofia Vergara and Paul Lee. Menu featured various buffets on the perimeter of the room including an extensive sushi bar, cold cuts, caprese salad, pizza and ravioli. And yes, champagne was being served—along with a whole lot of brewskis.
The buzz: The questions on everyone’s minds were the questions that could not be answered. Who were going to be the new “American Idol” judges? How many ways could Fox execs not answer reporter queries? The only thing for sure was that Ellen DeGeneres was out. Meanwhile, the rumor mill was humming with Kara DioGuardi being kicked off the island and Steven Tyler and J. Lo having a place at the table.
The highlights: Lunchtime table read of the gory Christmas episode of “American Dad.” Cloris Leachman, the belle of the ball at the “Raising Hope” panel. Steven Spielberg’s “Terra Nova" will preview next May before premiering in the fall. After a fast and furious serve by waiters, Gordon Ramsey running a “guess the ingredients in the gazpacho” contest, with the winner receiving dinner for two at The London on him.
Cloris Leachman, on whether she’s competing with Betty White to be the new “it” girl: “I’m so sick of Betty White. I never liked her.”--then adding that they’re doing a movie together, “You Again.”
Gordon Ramsay, on how the recession impacted the restaurant biz: “It removed the arrogance. There’s a lot more flexibility. They’ve stripped out the foie gras and become more creative with cheap products. The cream rises to the top.”
“Glee”’s Ryan Murphy, on some of the high points of the past year: “I got a mix tape from Paul McCartney. I thought I was being punked…I was gobsmacked.”
“Lone Star” creator Kyle Killen, who pitched the show as “Dallas” without the cheese: "I have no idea if this was a good idea for a network show, but I feel like [Fox is] willing to find out with the boldest, craziest version of it. If it's a failure, I think it's going to be a spectacular failure, and I like that idea."
The party: Fun, games and a massive quantity of guilty-pleasure junk food at the Santa Monica Pier’s Pacific Park, the section with the Ferris wheel, roller coaster and those “skill” games where the lucky winners walk off with large stuffed animals. If you like Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, potato tornadoes, mini donuts and churros, you could eat your heart out—and many did. Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele made it a Glee-ful night. Gordon Ramsey, Jon Voight and Keri Russell made the rounds, but alas, no “American Idol” judges, past, present or future. Hands down, the best bash of the bunch.