About

TelevisionWeek's Blink page is an industry must-read, taking a sardonic look at happenings across the television business. This wry coverage is extended online and updated throughout the week.

Blogroll

Blink


July 2008 Archives

Picture This: CW Fires Up ‘90210’ Hype

July 31, 2008 4:13 PM

The CW marketing folks are doing a dance of the seven veils seemingly intended to drive hormone-addled teens (or grizzled trade reporters?) to distraction in anticipation of "90210."

90210

MAKING WAVES Ethan (Dustin Milligan) contemplates life after a little night surfing.

With just a month to go before the show's debut, the network still hasn't made a screener of the show's pilot available for review. But the network is finally giving viewers a visual sneak peek of the first episode, releasing pictures from the set.

(More episodic photos after the jump.)

Read More »

And Now, The End Is Near...

July 28, 2008 5:14 PM

The end is near for “Battlestar Galactica,” which debuts its final batch of episodes in 2009, and judging from the panel at Comic-Con, fans are both excited and sad about that.

The audience went crazy over a preview trailer and even gave the cast and crew a standing ovation at the end of the panel. But there was also considerable sadness among attendees at the thought that it will soon be over.

Production on the final episode wrapped three weeks ago.

“The ending is an ending,” actor Jamie Bamber assured the audience. “It does everything and everyone justice.”

But before the series can wrap things up, it’s going to get bad.

“Things aren’t pretty on 'Battlestar' for a while,” executive producer Ronald D. Moore teased.

“Filming the end of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ was like ‘Apocalypse Now,’” actor James Callis added.

—Vlada Gelman

'Chuck' Preview Goodies

July 28, 2008 4:26 PM

“Chuck” kicked off its panel with a lengthy six-minute preview of its second season, which began with actor Adam Baldwin in character as NSA agent John Casey warning the audience that he better not see this video anywhere else or he’d hunt them down.

So much for that. The preview made its way onto YouTube over the weekend. Maybe that’s because the idea of Adam Baldwin coming over to one’s house is more of a welcome invitation than a threat at Comic-Con, where fans of Jayne, Baldwin’s character on “Firefly,” could be spotted wearing Jayne’s signature orange knitted hat all over the convention center.

“Adam Baldwin can do no wrong at Comic-Con,” moderator Kristin Dos Santos joked.

The preview, which included scenes from the season premiere “Chuck vs. The First Date” and “Chuck vs. The Seduction,” showcased all the elements that creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak teased about during the panel, including lots of action, romance and guest stars.

“It feels like it’s been several years since the show was on,” Mr. Schwartz said.

As a result, the first episode of the season will function like a pilot to attract newcomers and refresh the memories of returning viewers.

There will be more mythology this season, but the show won’t do away with stand-alone mission episodes. The show also will be “owning the love story” next season, ramping things up between Chuck and CIA agent Sarah, in addition to introducing Jill (Jordana Brewster), the college girlfriend who broke Chuck’s heart.

Viewers also can expect “to see Casey develop a feeling,” the introduction of Captain Awesome’s family, the return of Bryce and a big finale down the line.

“Something catastrophic happens at the end of episode one that drives the rest of the season…to an insane season finale,” Mr. Schwartz said.

—Vlada Gelman

Someone Terminated on 'Terminator'

July 28, 2008 3:03 PM

Sounds like John Connor is going to be experiencing some teen angst next season on “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.” A video preview of the upcoming season revealed John getting more proactive and finally coming out of hiding from beneath his emo hair with a new short haircut.

Creator Josh Friedman teased that something traumatic happens to John in the first episode and he finally accepts that a normal life is not in the cards for him. John and his mother, who will have to work harder for his love, will experience some growing pains.

There will be plenty of drama on the impending technological apocalypse front with new cast member Shirley Manson, a presence in black with fiery red hair, who said she felt like she “got a new band, but they’re younger and better-looking.” Manson was the lead singer with rock band Garbage.

“While the family is falling apart, SkyNet is evolving,” producer James Middleton said.

Producer John Worth, who called the show one of the most ambitious on TV, added that one of the people on the panel is going to die this season. So who was on the panel of potential targets?

Try everyone, including all the old regulars, plus newly promoted series regular Brian Austin Green, as well as Richard T. Jones, Garret Dillahunt and newcomer Manson. No Dean Winters, though.

Mr. Friedman gave Fox credit for putting “a ton of money into the marketing last year” for the series, which was the No. 1 new scripted show of the season.

“They’ve been great so far. I couldn’t ask for more,” he said.

And in a Comic-Con tradition, the producers announced that they will have online content for the new season.

Vlada Gelman

Dushku Appreciates Whedon’s Support

July 28, 2008 12:16 PM

“He’s like a career brassiere.”

That’s how actress Eliza Dushku described Joss Whedon and the support he provides her as an actress. Mr. Whedon developed Fox’s upcoming series “Dollhouse” specifically for her over lunch while discussing what other people expect her to be and what she doesn’t get to be in her career. That translated into a series about “a girl who’s got every personality but her own.”

“I basically didn’t make anything up. This is a documentary,” Mr. Whedon said of the similarities between Ms. Dushku and her character, Echo.

While there was palpable excitement from Mr. Whedon, Ms. Dushku and co-star Tahmoh Penikett (“Battlestar Galactica”), one fan was weary of the “mundane” premise and asked why the audience should be excited.

“This is a little bit different. There is a fantastical premise, but it is just people,” Mr. Whedon said, noting the lack of vampires or spaceships. “Every relationship is going to be a little twisted.”

But one can’t help but be a little bit pessimistic, especially considering the fact that there’s already a “Save Dollhouse” campaign. Mr. Whedon had mixed feelings about it himself.

“It gives people the idea that we’re somehow failing or a niche show that nobody will get,” he said. “But the enthusiasm I adore and the weariness is, let’s face it, earned,” he added, referring to Fox’s treatment of his cult favorite “Firefly.”

Still, Mr. Whedon pointed out that current Fox network brass “are not those people” who aired “Firefly” out of order before canceling it.

He also mentioned that “Dollhouse” is contracted for 13 episodes and that there will be webisodes, which may be one-shots or multi-part arcs, but he doesn’t see comic books in “Dollhouse’s” future.

—Vlada Gelman

'Bones' Plans to Show Some Skin This Season

July 27, 2008 9:05 PM

The audience at the “Bones” panel was treated to a very lengthy preview of “Man in the Outhouse,” one of the first episodes from season four. At one point, the Daily Blink thought they were going to screen the entire episode, which caused frantic worry that there would be no time for the panel.

But never fear. Eventually, the episode was cut off and creator Hart Hanson, producer Barry Josephson and the cast (sans Emily Deschanel and T.J. Thyne) were brought out, at which point the hyper-excited David Boreanaz began trying to give “Torchwood's” John Barrowman a run for his money in the crazy/charming department.

Mr. Boreanaz launched into a lengthy, rambling essay about all the things his character hated about London, where the two-hour season premiere was shot, except it wasn't quite clear at first if he was talking about himself or Booth.

Mr. Boreanaz also showed off his colorful socks to the crowd, a feature of his personality that the writers have integrated into the show's mixture of quirky character drama and procedural.

Mr. Hanson credited the show's initial low profile with helping to maintain its originality.

“We were a little bit under the radar,” he said. “We were the last at every stage. We were the last pilot to be picked up.”

But don't underestimate “Bones.”

“I think the network has confidence in the show. We've always been the anchor of the night,” Mr. Josephson commented.

With six episodes already in the can and two more ready to go, the producers had some good tidbits to share:

—The show will introduce Booth's family.

—There is a very good chance that the gravedigger storyline will return.

—Viewers haven't seen the last of Eric Millegan's Zack.

—Angela may have a relationship with someone named Roxie, and from the sound of it, there'll be plenty of bed-hopping in the season premiere.

And how's this for a tease?

“This year, Booth and Brennan will be in bed together naked,” Mr. Hanson revealed.

—Vlada Gelman

Looking Ahead at 'Smallville,' 'Supernatural'

July 27, 2008 8:53 PM

Hey, CW, guess what? People do watch your shows that are not about rich teens.

The line on Sunday for room 6CDEF, which held back-to-back panels for The CW's Thursday lineup of “Smallville” and “Supernatural," was wrapped around the building an hour and a half before the first panel was even set to begin. Between the two panels, the Daily Blink went to use the restroom and found the line had grown even longer than it was in the morning and that it had been capped, to the disappointment of many “Supernatural” fans.

So what did the genre shows' panels have to offer the fans who did manage to get in?

—“Smallville” will feature two new characters next season, played by Cassidy Freeman and “Battlestar Galactica's” Sam Witwer, as well as the return of fan favorite Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Justin Hartley), who will fill the void left by Michael Rosenbaum and Kristin Kreuk.

—Kelly Souders, Brian Peterson, Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer, who take over for departing showrunners Al Gough and Miles Millar, said they would honor the “no tights” portion of Gough and Millar's “no tights, no flights” policy.

—Clark will start to accept his destiny and start thinking he needs a double identity.

—Geoff Johns will write an episode about the Legion of Superheroes, and viewers can expect to see the return of the Justice League as early as the season premiere.

—Allison Mack, who plays Chloe and received the most boisterous love from the audience, may try her hand at directing an episode of the series.

Moderator Jeph Loeb, who currently works on “Heroes” but was a supervising producer on “Smallville” for several seasons, pointed out that the show, which is headed into its eighth season, only had a five-year plan at its inception.

“Supernatural” creator Eric Kripke, however, said he's sticking to wanting to do only five years.

“It's better to go out on top and strong,” he said.

Mr. Kripke opened the “Supernatural” panel by unveiling the first four minutes of the season-four premiere and capped it with a preview of the gag reel from the season-three DVD set. In between, there was a unexpected visit midpanel from the Ghostfacers, who were featured in a “Ghost Hunters”-like parody episode last season. The amateur ghost hunters/documentarians will be getting a short-form original spinoff of their own.

Mr. Kripke and fellow producers Sera Gamble and Ben Edlund offered few teases, but after getting to see the opening minutes of the premiere episode, the crowd wasn't complaining.

What they said:

— Storylines that were cut short by the writers strike, such as Mary's past and Sam's journey into his abilities, will be addressed next season.

— Episode four will flashback to the Winchester brothers' parents as young adults. It's unknown who'll play Mary and John Winchester; as an adult, he is played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. It was announced that Mitch Pileggi ("The X-Files") will play Mary's father.

— On the producers' wish list: Bruce Campbell, currently tied up with USA's “Burn Notice.”

“I feel like season four, we're kicking the doors open,” Mr. Kripke said.

“It's the best mythology we've done since season one,” Ms. Gamble added.

—Vlada Gelman

'24' Resets the Clock

July 27, 2008 9:15 AM

At the "24" panel at Comic-Con, fans of the show seemed to be delivering a message to the show's producers: All is forgiven.

Actually, for the die-hards, there might not be anything to forgive. While critics roughed up "24" a bit following its last season, the crowd in San Diego didn't seem at all concerned with the past. Indeed, none of the fans who asked questions of the producers and star Kiefer Sutherland even brought up the issue of whether the most recent season slipped in quality.

Instead, they cheered wildly when shown a clip from the upcoming two-hour stand-alone TV movie "24: Exile."

They cheered even louder at the sight of Carlos Bernard, who plays Tony Almeida on the show. Maybe it's because when we last saw Tony, he was, um ... dead.

"Perhaps it's a measure of our desperation that he's back," admitted executive producer Howard Gordon, who wouldn't tease how they plan to revive Almeida—especially since we last saw him lying dead in Jack's arms. "He's died on the page four times."

Mr. Sutherland also answered one of the biggest burning questions fans of the show have had: How come Jack Bauer never seems to have to use the little FBI agent's room?

Turns out, producers once shot a scene in which Jack went into a bathroom and came out "much happier nine seconds later," Mr. Sutherland joked. But network execs ordered it cut, he said.

So now, he and the producers have decided that whenever the action on the show cuts to the White House, "Jack is in the bathroom, or maybe having a drink or getting something to eat," Mr. Sutherland said.

—Josef Adalian

MacFarlane Jokes Around

July 26, 2008 11:08 PM

Seth MacFarlane treated fans to previews of new episodes of “American Dad” and “Family Guy,” the latter an episode titled “I Dream of Jesus” written by former “The Simpsons” writer Brian Scully. Never shows to shy away from controversial humor, both episodes featured plenty of taboo jokes.

When a fan brought up all the Mexican jokes, MacFarlane replied, “You either hit nobody or everybody.”

Pretty soon MacFarlane will have a whole new audience to make fun of with “The Cleveland Show,” which he said will feature a British guy, a redneck family and a family of bears.

The show finds Cleveland moving back to Virginia to be with his high school sweetheart and forming “the black Brady bunch” with her family. Sanaa Lathan and Nia Long will provide voices alongside Mike Henry's Cleveland, while “King of the Hill's” Richard Appel will run the series.

The spinoff isn't set to debut until 2009, but until then, “Family Guy” viewers have plenty to look forward to next season:

—Stewie and Brian will travel to 1939 Poland with Mort Goldman in one episode, while another will find them jumping from one parallel universe to another.

—There will be a sequel to “Blue Harvest,” the popular “Star Wars” parody episode, based on “The Empire Strikes Back.”

—James Woods will return.

Seth Green, who voices Chris on “Family Guy,” confirmed that “Robot Chicken” also will do another “Star Wars” parody and said he and MacFarlane check in with each other to make sure they aren't mining the same jokes.

—Vlada Gelman

Six Degrees of Joss Whedon

July 26, 2008 11:05 PM

Is Comic-Con really just a gathering place for actors from long-gone Joss Whedon shows?

So far, the Daily Blink has seen “Firefly's” Jewel Staite (“Stargate: Atlantis"), Adam Baldwin (“Chuck”), Summer Glau (“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”), “Buffy's” Seth Green (“Family Guy,” “Robot Chicken”), Eliza Dushku (“Dollhouse”), Julie Benz (“Dexter) and “Angel's” David Boreanaz (“Bones”).

Then there's the Joss Whedon/“Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog” panel, which included Nathan Fillion (“Firefly”), Felicia Day (“Buffy”) and new-to-the-Joss-club Neil Patrick Harris, who came with freeze ray in tow.

With two Whedon alums, Doogie Howser, who Fillion said kind of invented the blog, Simon “Moist” Helberg and Whedon's co-writers/family members Zack Whedon, Jed Whedon and Jed's fiance Maurissa Tancharoen on board, the panel was more of a fun lovefest than anything else.

The brothers Whedon did reveal that there will be another part to the Web musical.

The soundtrack for the project will be available for download within a couple of weeks, to be followed by a DVD release shortly thereafter. In addition to the previously announced musical commentary “Commentary!,” the DVD release will feature the 10 best fan-submitted video entries for the Evil League of Evil.

Good luck to all those who aspire to follow in Bad Horse's hoofs.

—Vlada Gelman

Now You See Him, Now You Don’t

July 25, 2008 1:37 PM

Mindfreak Bus Shelter Ad Campaign

MAGIC Criss’ reflection appears in the water at night with the help of a little backlighting.

A&E is promoting “Criss Angel Mindfreak’s” new season—in which he walks across Lake Mead—in a novel way on New York City and Los Angeles bus shelters. During the day, the ad merely shows Criss’ empty boots standing on the water. But come night, Criss’ reflection appears in the water with the help of a little backlighting. Woooo! Eerie! The ads were created by the West Hollywood-based design firm Art Machine.
—Tom Gilbert

'Dexter' Eating Up Exposure on CBS

July 25, 2008 12:36 PM

“Perhaps some more Emmy voters got wise to it because of the CBS run,” “Dexter's” Michael C. Hall said of the show's growing recognition. The show is nominated for five Emmy Awards.

“Dexter's” run on CBS averaged around 6 million viewers on a good night, compared with just 1 million on Showtime, executive producer Clyde Phillips pointed.

“Because it was on CBS, people thought it would be accessible and not as scary,” head writer Melissa Rosenberg said.

While the show did fit in with CBS' pattern of crime dramas, it was edited in four categories in the following order, according to Mr. Phillips: time to accommodate commercials, language, nudity and gore.

“It's not that gory a show,” Mr. Phillips commented.

Fans of “Dexter” will be able to interact with the show as it progresses next season in an episodic video game available exclusively on the iPhone and iPod Touch. New clues will be sent with each new episode using phone calls and SMS.

—Vlada Gelman

Warners Gets Big 'Bang' for Its Buck

July 25, 2008 12:29 PM

If Comic-Con panel enthusiasm could be measured in Nielsen ratings, "The Big Bang Theory" might be a 40 share.

Warner Bros. TV took a bit of a risk bringing its geek-centric comedy to the Con. After all, most of the panels here are geared toward sci-fi and fantasy shows, not half-hour comedies.

But the studio bet that because the show's core characters would fit right in at the Con, audiences here would eat up an appearance by the "Bang" gang. They were right.

Comic-Con audiences can get whipped into a frenzy pretty easily, but the several thousand folks who jammed into Room 6 at the convention center went nuts for the show. A clip reel featuring season-one highlights got lots of laughter and applause, and the line for questions far exceeded those for some other big shows.

Moderator Adam Savage ("Mythbusters") asked several variations on the "are you as big a geek as your character" question, including whether fans now ask the cast to solve scientific problems when spotted on the street.

"Nobody has been that foolish," said Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon.

Added Simon Helberg (Howard): "We're just as dumb as we appear to be."

Other than announcing the return of Sarah Gilbert, executive producers Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady didn't make much news at the session. Among the interesting highlights:

—Mr. Lorre said his geekiest moment came as a kid, when he spent "thousands of hours putting together monster models. But it was largely for the glue."

—Producers revealed that the literary archetype for Mr. Helberg's hapless horndog character was none other than Pepe LePew.

—One fan gave Mr. Lorre and Mr. Pratt a good note: The characters should be heard offering up more random movie quotes. Mr. Prady seemed to like the idea, saying, "Quoting movies means less work for us because we have less dialogue to write."

—Mr. Lorre said the show was not "about geeks and nerds. It's about remarkable people."

—Josef Adalian

'9021-Oh!' CW Unveils Promo Campaign

July 25, 2008 12:18 PM

The CW has a lot riding on ‘90210,’ which debuts Sept. 2. While the network is partly counting on nostalgia for the show’s predecessor, “Beverly Hills 90210,” to pull in viewers, it’s also betting on the hotties in the program’s young cast to create a hit.

The network is getting ready to launch its marketing campaign for ‘90210,’ which will feature this billboard, along with similarly themed print ads. The graphics may provide the most graphic look at the cast that the world has gotten so far.

CW90120BillBoard.jpg

'90210' Redux Cast members, from left to right, Michael Steger, Dustin Milligan, AnnaLynne McCord, Jessica Stroup, Tristan Wilds and Shenae Grimes lounge in some pools for the show's marketing campaign.

“One of our primary goals in developing a campaign is to match the marketing to the personality of the individual show, so ‘90210’ will have its own unique look and feel, as does ‘Gossip Girl,’ and ‘Privileged’ and ‘Top Model,’ CW executive vice president of marketing Rick Haskins said in a statement. “For the ‘90210’ campaign, we’re using a lot of vibrant colors and natural sunlight to give it a Southern California appeal to communicate a fun, inviting atmosphere that will appeal to our target audience.”

90210 Video Interview

And as chummy as cast members appear in the billboard shot (note awfully friendly reverse chicken-fight posture between castmates Dustin Milligan and AnnaLynne McCord) reality may match the promotion. In this exclusive TVWeek video, "90210" co-creators Jeff Judah and Gabe Sachs say the cast hangs out after school all the time.

For a "90210" sneak peek, check out TVWeek's Fall TV 2008 video page.

Mission: Fox Swag Accomplished

July 25, 2008 12:04 PM

Fox ComicCon Poster Tube

WORTH WAITING FOR The coveted Fox poster tube.

Ballroom 20 is the Daily Blink's new home. Yesterday, the room held the panels for “Doctor Who” and “Torchwood.”

Today, the Daily Blink is sitting through not one but three “Stargate”-related panels in Ballroom 20 to secure a seat for the Joss Whedon panel at 1:30 p.m. on “Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog” and the "Buffy" season eight comics. The panel will be followed by “Family Guy,” “American Dad” and “Bones.” And it's back to Ballroom 20 tomorrow for “Futurama,” “The Simpsons,” “Dollhouse,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Dollhouse,” “Chuck” and “Fringe.”

With all the sitting ahead, the Daily Blink decided to get in a little Comic-Con exercise. Before the first “Stargate” panel, the Daily Blink got a bathroom pass and headed down to the convention hall floor to make another play for those coveted Fox poster tubes.

As usual, a mob of people was surrounding the Fox booth. Following the length of the line didn't do much good. In typical Comic-Con fashion, it snaked around the booth back to the front, where a staff member told us the end of the line was on the other side. Except that even if you managed to make it past the mob of people on the other side, it simply led you back to the front. So we did what smart Comic-Con goers do: We made our own end of the line.

And it worked! The Daily Blink finally scored a Fox poster tube.

Now, about putting some posters inside of that tube...

—Vlada Gelman

Sinking Teeth Into Comic-Con Fans

July 25, 2008 9:58 AM

Outside of the jam-packed "Dexter" panel, I asked some people standing in line what the trends were for Comic-Con.

One young man told me Comic-Con goers like things that are cool and sexy. He thought for a minute.

"And violent," he added.

He then said if you combine all three of those things together, you get vampires, which is why they are so popular at the Con.

—Andrew Krukowski

Ball Goes to Bat for Vampires

July 24, 2008 7:00 PM

Forget "Moonlight." Never mind "Twilight." Alan Ball's new HBO series "True Blood" promises to be the vampire event of the year.

At least that's the impression one got sitting in a room with a few thousand potential fans of the project.

It helps that "Blood" is based on Charlaine Harris' successful "Southern Vampire" series of novels.

Harris told Comic-Con attendees that she'd been approached about possible TV and film adaptations of her work before Ball got involved. One studio even went so far as to commission a script for a feature.

"If it hadn't been based on one of my books, I would've enjoyed it," Harris said of the screenplay. But because it was based on her baby, "I was appalled."

As for Ball, he had pretty much decided to give up TV for features after "Six Feet Under" wrapped. But then he found Harris' books one day, and he couldn't stop reading.

There was another reason he was attracted to "True Blood," Ball explained.

"After years of 'Six Feet Under,' I was really sick of people talking about their problems all the time," the producer said. "I wanted to do something fun."

Other tidbits from the "True Blood" panel:

—Ball said he's established some hard and fast rules for the show. "The big three are no blue light, no contact lenses and no opera music."

—Don't expect lots of fancy CGI effects on the show. "We're trying to keep the magic as mundane as possible," Ball said.

—Romantic relationships will be ... complicated. "Vampires' sexuality and their need for blood are kind of intertwined," he said.

—Humans who like to have sex with vampires have a name on the show: "We call them 'fang gangers'," Ball said.

—HBO's viral marketing for the show includes a big push for a True Blood beverage. If such a beverage existed, what would be in it? "V-8, Vicodin, Valium and Viagra," Ball said.

—Josef Adalian


'Dr. Who's' Rude U.S. Welcome

July 24, 2008 5:21 PM

Many folks had trouble making it to Comic-Con today due to traffic and train delays, but "Doctor Who" executive producer Julie Gardner and writer Steven Moffatt, who is taking over as showrunner next season, had no trouble getting to their panel on time. Except for the fact that Mr. Moffatt got pulled aside by the airport security.

"I don't know if you know this about America, but you hate us," he said, launching into a story about how he was detained and questioned at the airport.

At least it was a productive flight once he actually got on the plane. Mr. Moffatt spent the time writing the first episode of the next season of "Doctor Who."

Executive producer Russell T. Davies wasn't able to make it to the panel as he is in Cardiff writing the new season of "Torchwood."

When asked if there was any possibility of old characters returning to the series, Mr. Moffatt pointed out that they were making the show for a new audience of fans.

"We're not in the business of being nostalgic. We're making nostalgia for the future," he said.

Americans fans watching the show on Sci Fi Channel are out of luck too—the writers don't take out jokes because they're too British.

After being treated to "Coupling"-like banter between Ms. Gardner and Mr. Moffatt, who co-created the British sitcom, fans were shown a highlight reel of Mr. Moffatt's episodes, one of which included a guest spot by "Moonlight's" Sophia Myles.

Apparently, you can never escape "Moonlight."

—Vlada Gelman

BBC America Kisses Up to 'Torchwood'

July 24, 2008 3:58 PM

Torchwood Panel

SLASH FICTION "Torchwood's" sexually omnivorous Captain Jack, played by John Barrowman, is used to admiring gazes.

BBC America signed a deal this morning to broadcast season three of "Torchwood," executive producer Julie Gardner revealed at a panel for the show at Comic-Con.

The third season of the "Doctor Who" spinoff, which is four weeks away from the start of shooting, will take place over five intensity-filled episodes tackling one huge story.

"Bad things happen," Ms. Gardner warned.

There was lots of innuendo and some not-too-subtle sexual remarks at the panel for the "sexed-up" spinoff. The panel started off with a Comic-Con tradition: pretending to make out with one's co-stars, which for this panel meant star John Barrowman, who plays omnisexual Captain Jack, almost kissed both his female and male co-stars.

"Doesn't that just reflect real life? We all have relationships. We all flirt behind each other's backs," Mr. Barrowman said regarding the more adult nature of the show.

"There's really not that much. I'm going to convince you," Ms. Gardner countered.

As for the question of an American spinoff/remake or of filming episodes of "Torchwood" in the U.S., Ms. Garder would say only, "Never say never."

"I better be in the spinoff," Mr. Barrowman joked.

—Vlada Gelman

KITT Drives Creatives at ‘Knight Rider’

July 24, 2008 1:56 PM

That KITT is a hell of a car, and it will be even more so when “Knight Rider” returns on NBC.

Knight Rider

traffic nightmare A massive traffic snarl meant the "Knight Rider" panel started with two of its 10 expected guests arriving in time to talk about the NBC show with TVWeek's Josef Adalian, right.

Fans of the original series at Comic-Con grilled executive producer Gary Scott Thompson about KITT features from the original, and if they will make an appearance in the new series.

Mr. Scott hinted at the following:

—Turbo boost will be front and center in the new series. So much so that fans will be asking for KITT to stop jumping so much, Mr. Scott said.

—A dark Knight Rider, a la KARR.

—Mr. Scott said he'd love to see an episode where the new KITT goes on a mission with the old version of KITT.

—As far as toys, Mr. Scott suggested a transforming KITT car and a KITT cave playset.

And the most important feature of “Knight Rider”:

—The Hoff is not confirmed for any new episodes, but nothing is impossible, he said.

—Andrew Krukowski

Mad Rush for TheWB.com, Fox Swag

July 24, 2008 12:03 PM

TheWB.com Swag Tote Bag

SWAG BAG Tote bags from TheWB.com were quickly snapped up Wednesday during preview night.

The two ubiquitous, must-have swag items this year: a tote bag from TheWB.com that's almost as tall as this Daily Blink blogger and a Fox poster tube.

Both items were quickly snapped up Wednesday during preview night, but the Daily Blink did managed to get a tote bag this morning before rushing back to Ballroom 20 to wait for the "Doctor Who" and "Torchwood" panels.

The Fox poster tube created such a stampede of folks trying to grab a free tube that the booth employees were forced to cut off the giveaway and cap the line. But the Daily Blink will not rest until it gets one.

—Vlada Gelman

Definitely 'Freakazoid'

July 24, 2008 11:32 AM

I've somehow wandered into the "Tiny Toons"/"Freakazoid!" panel, and it may be the most surreal thing I've seen. These shows are more than 15 years old and there are 11 people lined up at the microphone, each asking specific questions about episodes of the show. Waiting to ask a question is a guy dressed as an officer of the Empire.
—Andrew Krukowski

No McShane, But Lengthy Clip at 'Kings' Panel

July 24, 2008 11:23 AM

Ian McShane no-showed at NBC’s “Kings” Comic-Con panel, but attendees were treated to a 20-minute clip of the February show, a preview much longer than what critics were privy to at the Television Critics Association press tour.

Creator Michael Green explained that Mr. McShane, who plays King Silas, was held up in traffic. (A major accident on Thursday morning pretty much shut down the southbound 5 freeway near Camp Pendleton, between L.A. and San Diego.)

Mr. Green said Mr. McShane provided a brief note to be read in his absence, mostly containing words used by his character in “Deadwood,” Al Swearengen.

Questions about the show revolved around the shooting location (New York City) and the religious implications of the show, which is a modern-day retelling of David and Goliath.

—Andrew Krukowski

Television Sales Executives Tee Up for Charity

July 20, 2008 9:00 PM

In Hollywood, where competition is fierce, the intensity on the green can rival the players’ competitiveness in a suit. But the 2008 City of Hope Golf Classic benefiting the Tim Nesvig Lymphoma Fellowship & Research Fund is on pace to unite rival companies and bring in a record amount of money this year.

The annual event honors the memory of Tim Nesvig, who died in 2005 at age 30 from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was the son of Fox Broadcasting President of Sales Jon Nesvig.

This year’s organizers include executives from Fox, Tribune, DirecTV, Comcast and MTV.

The event will take place July 27-28, with a dinner and auction Sunday at the Casa del Mar Hotel by the Sea in Santa Monica and the Golf Classic on Monday at El Caballero Country Club.The event is closing in on raising more than $4 million for City of Hope and the foundation over the past three years.

“We are actually oversold this year for the tournament,” said Bill Wanger, co-chair of the organizing committee and senior VP of Fox Sports research and programming.

Up for grabs at the auction, hosted by Joe Buck, will be an autographed Super Bowl XLII game ball, a VIP trip for four to the 2009 Masters Tournament, a VIP trip for two to the 2009 “American Idol” finale and the opportunity to become a sports reporter on Fox News Channel for a day.

Other co-chairs include Twentieth Television President-COO Bob Cook and Tribune Broadcasting President Ed Wilson. Dinner co-chairs, in addition to Mr. Nesvig, include Chase Carey, president-CEO of DirecTV Group; Dave Cassaro, president of Comcast Network Advertising Sales; Hank Close, president of U.S. ad sales for MTV Networks; and David Hill, chairman-CEO of Fox Sports Television Group.

“This is obviously a very important cause for a very special family,” Mr. Wilson said. “This is a family that took a terrible situation and have turned it to something wonderful for many Americans.”

Chris Pursell

King’s Squared; Cooper Circled?

July 20, 2008 8:59 PM

Conversation between a reporter and a CNN executive, whose identities are being withheld to preserve future lines of communication and because it’s unclear which is most in need of a comedy transfusion. This is not a perfect transcription, but it is a faithful recollection of what seemed like a logical follow-up to the City of Los Angeles’ decision to name an intersection near the CNN bureau Larry King Square.

Reporter: Now that Los Angeles has Larry King Square, shouldn’t CNN be lobbying New York City to rename Columbus Circle “Anderson Cooper Circle”?
Executive: I never thought of Larry King as a square.
Reporter: But it seems especially fitting to put Anderson Cooper’s name on a circle, since his show is called “360.”
Executive: [Blank look and pause.]
Reporter: “360”—circle.
Executive: Heh. Heh.

TVWeek Staff

Dancing With a Pro

July 17, 2008 5:48 PM

Dancing With the Stars

DANCE PRO Kym Johnson takes the Daily Blink for a twirl.

On Wednesday night, “Dancing With the Stars” pro Kym Johnson picked me to dance with her. She dragged me to the center of the dance floor by my lanyard. And, for a few moments, I felt like a star.

ABC brought out Ms. Johnson, along with “Dancing” colleagues Mark Ballas, Derek Hough, Alec Mazo, Edyta Sliwinska and Karina Smirnoff, for a night of dinner and dancing at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

The program promised, “You’ll come away from the experience with more insight into what [tennis star and season six contestant] Monica Seles must have been going through. Plenty of alcohol will be available to help you loosen up both your hips and your inhibitions.”

Basically a drunken dance party. Yippee!

Read More »

Get Ready to ‘Hurl!’

July 15, 2008 3:54 PM

Hurl!

NOPE, NO PUKE HERE Recently G4 President Neal Tiles explained the show focuses more on the competitive eating and camaraderie among contestants, not necessarily body fluids.

A show called “Hurl!” isn’t necessarily about, you know, hurling, says G4 President Neal Tiles.

Mr. Tiles talked about “Hurl!” after Comcast’s presentation last Tuesday at the Television Critics Association tour.

He said if one were to combine all of the upchuck, it wouldn’t even total a minute’s worth of the show. Instead, the show focuses more on the competitive eating and camaraderie among contestants, he said.

Read More »

Joss Whedon Sings With ‘Dr. Horrible’

July 11, 2008 7:30 PM

On Thursday night, CAA hosted a screening of Joss Whedon’s Internet musical “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” and the Daily Blink was one of the few members of the press invited.

In attendance were writer/director Joss Whedon and co-writers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, as well as all three lead actors.

Whedon’s Web musical about a hapless, wannabe supervillian (a non-suited up Neil Patrick Harris) who keeps getting thwarted by arrogant hero Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion) while trying to get up the nerve to ask out the girl he likes (Felicia Day) looked wonderful on the big theater screen.

Read More »

MTV Sings its Way to 'American Mall'

July 11, 2008 4:46 PM

Two years ago a batch of unknown faces came together and rose to tween superstardom in Disney Channel’s original film, “High School Musical.” The film was a huge success and spawned a duo of sequels, “High School Musical 2” and the upcoming theatrical release “High School Musical 3: Senior Year.”

Hoping to capitalize on the success of the tween singing romp, the executive producers and some of the creative team behind the franchise have come together for the upcoming MTV movie musical, “The American Mall.”

The sneak peek clip below lays the film’s plot quite effectively and efficiently:

Read More »

‘Greatest American Dog’ Ratings (Release) Coup

July 11, 2008 11:18 AM

Sometimes, no comment is needed. That’s the case with a press release CBS issued Friday morning on behalf of its new series “Greatest American Dog.”

The full release is after the jump.

Meanwhile, check Andrew Krukowski’s Ratings Chart Attack! blog later for a more dispassionate look at the ratings.

—Josef Adalian

Read More »

Surviving Comic-Con With a Little Help From NBC

July 10, 2008 3:31 PM

NBC Comic Con Products

Comic-Con can be a stressful time. There are a lot of sweaty bodies—everyone, please bring some body spray!—crammed into the San Diego Convention Center, frantically running on very tired feet from one panel to stand in line for another one that doesn’t even start for at least an hour and a half.

The Daily Blink not so fondly remembers waiting for a Kevin Smith panel at a friend’s request. We stood in a line that wrapped around the outside of the building, with the hot, blazing sun bearing down on us, for at least an hour, only to find out Kevin Smith was running late and the panel would be rescheduled. Quick, to the air-conditioned convention hall, everyone!

But Comic-Con can be a lot of fun if you come prepared. NBC Universal has set up a store of Comic-Con exclusive merchandise, which is surprisingly useful for surviving the Con.

Read More »

CBS Is Putting on the Dog

July 8, 2008 5:00 PM

Greatest American Dog CBS Marketing Chief George Schweitzer has been unleashed—and that means he’s up to some old tricks.

The man who once put the Eye logo on individual eggs now is enlisting cute canines to serve as live advertising models for the network. It’s all part of Mr. Schweitzer’s effort to get viewers to sample “Greatest American Dog,” CBS’ R.J. Cutler-produced reality show that premieres Thursday.

Over the next 48 hours or so, citizens of New York City will begin seeing a slew of dogs walking the streets while clad in vests and collars bearing advertising for the new CBS show. The pups won’t be popping up randomly: CBS has hired dogwalkers to help the doggies strut their stuff.

Mr. Schweitzer calls the stunt “dog-vertising.”

But that’s not all the network has planned, doggone it:

Read More »

Not for Those With a Weak Gag Reflex

July 8, 2008 4:48 PM

Hurl!
Launching, literally, on July 15, G4’s “Hurl!” combines the gastronomy of Fox’s “Glutton Bowl,” the physical challenges of “Double Dare” and the stomach-launching power of bad seafood.

In this clip, “Hurl!” contestants wolf down pounds of macaroni and cheese, take a spin in a human bowling ball and try not to relive that mac and cheese, all for a $1,000 payday.

Also featured is the “Hurl Warning,” an update to viewers that they may need a tarp at any moment.

Not in the clip is the actual upchuck, which is actually blocked out with graphics of numbered buckets, in order not to offend those with more conservative attitude toward throw-up.

Click play after the jump to enjoy, but it is a clip of people about to vomit, so viewer discretion is advised.

Read More »

Angel Courts Death Live on A&E

July 7, 2008 10:18 AM

Criss Angel Mindfreak

An upcoming stunt by magician Criss Angel should drum up more than the usual buzz for his returning A&E series, “Criss Angel Mindfreak,” because he’s performing a death-defying deed live.

In this season’s second episode this summer, Mr. Angel will be fastened inside a Miami hotel that’s due for demolition. Under the unblinking eye of a robotic camera, he will attempt to escape before the building implodes.

Since it will take too long to run from the exploding structure, he’ll exit through the roof, one hopes, and escape the conflagration in a waiting helicopter.

If the stunt doesn’t go well, watching the rest of the season’s episodes could be anticlimactic, to say the least.

“You’ll have to watch to find out if he makes it out on time,” said Guy Slattery, marketing head for A&E. “We’re hoping he does.”

—Jon Lafayette

Wherefore Lythgoe?

July 6, 2008 8:48 PM

“American Idol” executive producer and 19 Television President Nigel Lythgoe is taking a summer holiday from TV’s No. 1 show. Mr. Lythgoe has informed Fox that he’ll be absent during the filming of most, if not all, of the show’s audition rounds. Tryouts for season eight of “Idol” begin July 17 in San Francisco.

Nigel Lythgoe

It seems Mr. Lythgoe’s other big show—“So You Think You Can Dance”—will be taking up a big chunk of his time during the summer. In addition to appearing as a judge on the U.S. version of the series, he’ll be in South Africa to help launch a local version of “Dance,” according to a 19 Television rep.

Auditions for the South African “Dance” are taking place this month, with the show due to premiere Aug. 9 on SABC-1. Further filling up Mr. Lythgoe’s dance card: The producer may contribute to the next season of the Australian version of “Dance,” which is scheduled to premiere in 2009.

Word of Mr. Lythgoe’s break has led some observers to suggest he might be preparing to scale back his involvement in the show more dramatically, or even leave it altogether. Insiders at Fox and producers 19 and FremantleMedia North America, however, said they’ve heard of no such plans and dismissed such talk as ill-informed gossip.

As for Mr. Lythgoe’s absence from the audition rounds, “Idol” insiders note that Executive Producer Ken Warwick—who, like Mr. Lythgoe, has been with the show from the start—will be on hand for the whole tryout process. What’s more, the audition episodes of “Idol” come together in editing, a process that happens in the fall and something with which Mr. Lythgoe is still scheduled to be involved.

—Josef Adalian and Chris Pursell

A Really Big Shoe(-in) for ‘Live’

July 6, 2008 8:40 PM

RipaWhat has 1,000 legs, wears 3-inch spike heels and tiptoes at high speed through Central Park? The first of what may become an annual “High Heel-a-Thon” benefit on “Live With Regis and Kelly.” The event, which will be run, or teetered, live during Wednesday’s “Live,” will have 500 entrants—the maximum allowed under the permits the show obtained—from 40 states.

One of them will be co-host Kelly Ripa, who has been weighing which of her beloved trademark heels she could best—and most safely—run in without fear of ruining them. “You know how she falls in love with her shoes,” said “Live” Executive Producer Michael Gelman. Eleven of the competitors are men, although their ranks do not include Regis Philbin, who once proved on-air he could squeeze his feet into Ms. Ripa’s shoes. “I can convince Regis to do a lot of things, but that’s not happening,” said Mr. Gelman, who is taking an Olympics-like approach to the male entrants: They can run but they can’t hijack the $25,000 prize that goes to the first female entrant to finish the 150-yard competition.

The “High-Heel-a-Thon” will raise a minimum of $50,000 for the March of Dimes; online contributions will add to the donation. Although there will be a handful of TV cameras on the ground and the Goodyear blimp will provide aerial coverage—“just like any great sporting event,” said Mr. Gelman—this is no mere made-for-TV event.

Read More »

Faces of New York

July 6, 2008 8:40 PM

BillboardSome familiar faces started popping up all over New York last week, thanks to Ovation TV. The fine arts network just kicked off a monthlong programming stunt called “American Revolutionaries,” in which all of its prime-time shows are dedicated to world-changing American artists. It has taken over billboards, city buses, kiosks and wild postings around Manhattan, including in Times Square and along Museum Row. Artists paid tribute to in red, white and blue images include Maya Angelou, Kurt Cobain, Nat King Cole, James Dean, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Georgia O’Keefe, Elvis Presley, Hilary Hahn, Annie Leibovitz, Loretta Lynn, Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Sarah Vaughan, Andy Warhol and Orson Welles. Now that’s a group worth standing up for. (Ovation, get it?)

—Tom Gilbert

Spike’s ‘Factory’ Hazard Zone

July 1, 2008 12:36 PM

Spike TV has launched its first scripted comedy, “Factory,” on Sundays at 10 p.m.

The show follows four beer-guzzling childhood friends who work together at a local factory. But it’s not drinking on the job that everyone should be worried about. No, the deadly foe is quite literally a necktie.

For the ladies looking for someone to relate to in this testosterone-heavy comedy, there are some female spouses, including a Ritalin-dispensing schoolteacher. What? It’s totally OK if you charge the kids $6 a pop.

Check out the clips below from the premiere episode, which may make some viewers ponder the question, “To tie or not to tie?”