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Paley Fest 2009 Archives

April 26, 2009

There’s Baldo

Paley Festival Fringe Panel

'FRINGE' FILES Joshua Jackson, left, discussing 'Fringe' with co-star John Noble.

“Fringe” star Joshua Jackson (right, with John Noble), appearing on Thursday’s PaleyFest panel for the show at Hollywood’s Arclight Cinerama Dome, took the opportunity to air what seemed to Blink a valid complaint about Fox, his home network. It seems that back in January, try as he might, poor Josh was unable to get good seats to the big Philadelphia Eagles-New York Giants playoff game.

Even after hitting up connections at the network, which was televising the game, he had to settle for some nose-bleed seats that he and his friends managed to scrounge up.

The Observer

Here’s the kicker: During the game he spots, on the sidelines, sitting in the choicest of sections, the Observer, the mysterious (and relatively minor) “Fringe” character the network is using to promote its schedule—planting him in the crowd at televised sporting events and even on “American Idol.”

A word of advice, Josh: Talent may be talent, but it’s promotion that will get you everywhere in showbiz.

—Chad Rooney

April 23, 2009

HBO’s ‘Big Love’ Packs in the Action

If you’ve ever wondered how much story can fit into a one-hour TV drama, “Big Love” has the answer: A lot.

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'BIG' STORIES Co-creator and executive producer Mark V. Olsen, left, and Bill Paxton.

The last season of HBO’s polygamist drama about Bill Henrickson and his three wives featured a teenage pregnancy that became a miscarriage, blackmail, kidnapping, identity theft, multiple deaths, a cancer scare, confessions of love, a long-lost daughter and a road trip. And that’s just the half of it.

“They put me through everything you can think of,” Bill Paxton said at Wednesday’s PaleyFest panel for the show at Hollywood’s Arclight Cinerama Dome. “I have a twitch ever since the show wrapped. It was exhausting.”

“Big Love’s” intricate web of interweaving, nuanced storylines also took a toll on the show’s creators, Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer.

“The real headache began in the last two episodes,” when they were figuring out how to wrap up all the storylines, Mr. Olsen said.

The creators admitted they had used up their original six-year agenda for the show by the end of season three. Jeanne Tripplehorn, who plays first wife Barb, even worried that the show might lose viewers due to its dense and complicated storylines.

“We’ve never hired an actor we didn’t love,” the creators added, explaining their need to create more story.

Continue reading "HBO’s ‘Big Love’ Packs in the Action" »

Spilling the Secrets of ‘The Hills’

Will Lauren Conrad be back for season six of MTV’s “The Hills”? Did Spencer Pratt start those vicious sex-tape rumors? Will a third time down the aisle be the charm for Speidi?

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BEHIND 'THE HILLS' Creator and executive producer Adam DiVello, left, and Lauren Conrad.

Yes, almost, to all questions. At least that’s what the cast and creative team behind the popular reality soap opera teased at Tuesday’s PaleyFest panel at the Arclight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.

In attendance at the panel were show protagonist Lauren Conrad, former co-worker Whitney Port, former roommate Audrina Patridge, former paramour Brody Jenner, former high-school classmate Lauren “Lo” Bosworth and former enemy-by-blood Stephanie Pratt. Noticeably absent were former best friend Heidi Montag and current root-of-all-evil Spencer Pratt, but more on that later.

Also in attendance were executive producers Liz Gately, Sean Travis, Sara Mast and series creator Adam DiVello.

Fans and some oblivious press members were treated to some interesting nuggets from the remainder of the current season, as well as the potential for life after season five. Blink was there in a front-row seat, Tweeting the revelations as they happened.

For some spoiler-filled goodness, check out the gossip (and some raw Twitter action) after the jump.

Continue reading "Spilling the Secrets of ‘The Hills’" »

April 21, 2009

‘Caprica’ Stands on Its Own at PaleyFest

The “Caprica”/“Battlestar Galactica” event Monday at PaleyFest started with a clip from “The Outer Limits” featuring an early man-discovering-he’s-really-a-robot clip. It was awesome to see how far the genre has come and yet how the basic themes and guiding philosophies remain the same.

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NOT CYLONS Executive producers David Eick, left, and Ron Moore.

Moderator Seth Green, introduced to loud applause, told the crowd at Hollywood’s Arclight that he’s a huge “fanboy.” He also admitted he resisted the “BSG” phenomenon at first until friends finally talked him into watching it—at which point he got the DVDs and tore “through the first two seasons in like a week.” He said his plan for the night is to try to corner showrunners David Eick and Ron Moore and get them to explain the unanswered questions left floating around in the “BSG” universe after the season finale.

Moore and Eick came out to even more applause and described the inception of “Caprica.” It was brought to them by NBC Universal as an independent non-“BSG” series pitched by Remi Aubuchon; because of its artificial intelligence-heavy plotline, the three thought it might make an interesting collaboration and a distinctly different way of continuing the themes of “BSG” within a very different show structure.

Moore went on to thank “Friday Night Lights” alum Jeffrey Reiner (who was not in attendance), director of the “Caprica” pilot, for establishing a completely different and “unique tone, cinematography, sensibility” for the new show.

Continue reading "‘Caprica’ Stands on Its Own at PaleyFest" »

April 20, 2009

Fans Haven’t Given Up on ‘Pushing Daisies’

“Pushing Daisies” may be canceled, but the sold-out crowd at PaleyFest’s Sunday screening of the series’ last three, as-yet-unaired episodes wasn’t ready to let go. Neither was the show’s cast and crew.

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THE FINAL 'DAISIES' Creator Bryan Fuller, left, Ellen Greene, director and executive producer Barry Sonnenfeld and Chi McBride introduce the screening.

Introducing the screening to a standing ovation (another one followed the final episode), creator Bryan Fuller said, “I’m hoping there is a life beyond television for ‘Pushing Daisies.’”

Mr. Fuller, who noted that one of his first PaleyFest panels was “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” brought director and executive producer Barry Sonnenfeld and stars Chi McBride and Ellen Greene to the stage to say a few words.

“For all of you attending today, there's pitchforks and torches we'll be handing out,” Mr. McBride said, rallying the audience into protest mode.

Continue reading "Fans Haven’t Given Up on ‘Pushing Daisies’" »

It’s All in the Attitude on ‘Mentalist’ Set

Who knew? Network television is “basically improvised,” according to Bruno Heller, creator of CBS’ “The Mentalist.” He was comparing the pace of production on the season’s top-rated new show to his previous creation, HBO’s “Rome.”

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GOING 'MENTALIST' Creator Bruno Heller, left, co-executive producer Chris Long and Simon Baker.

Heller was joined by “Mentalist” co-executive producer Chris Long and cast members Simon Baker, Robin Tunney, Owain Yeoman and Amanda Righetti at the PaleyFest panel Friday night at Arclight Hollywood. The show’s Tim Kang was missing, according to moderator Ben Grossman of Broadcasting & Cable, because he was collecting an award as “the first actor to not crack a smile for the entire first season.”

Yeoman volunteered that he and Kang pass the time on set exchanging Chuck Norris facts. Pressed for an example, he offered, “When Chuck Norris does a pushup, he isn't lifting himself up, he's pushing the Earth down.”

Continue reading "It’s All in the Attitude on ‘Mentalist’ Set" »

April 18, 2009

'Desperate' for a Good Time at PaleyFest

It was “Desperate Housewives'” turn at PaleyFest on Saturday afternoon, as an enthusiastic audience stepped out of the bright Hollywood sunlight into the warm glow of the ABC dramedy's gorgeous cast.

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NOT SO 'DESPERATE' Creator Marc Cherry, left, Eva Longoria Parker and Teri Hatcher.

The show's creator, Marc Cherry, 'fessed up that he attended the Paley Festival way back when he first came to Los Angeles, before getting his first TV job. He even went to a “Golden Girls” panel before he became a writer on the show.

Cherry said “The Best Thing That Ever Could Have Happened,” the episode screened at the event, was based on an idea he had after the death of a close friend, physical trainer Doug Blaisdell of Bravo's “Workout.” “Doug was the sort of person who was always doing small things to help people,” Cherry explained, and he was the inspiration for handyman Eli Scruggs (Beau Bridges), the central character of what turned out to be the show's 100th episode. “It's harder to get to that milestone than you might think,” Cherry said.

After the screening, moderator Will Keck of TV Guide was joined onstage by Cherry, executive producer Bob Daily and cast members Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria Parker, Dana Delany, Kyle MacLachlan, James Denton, Doug Savant, Kathryn Joosten, Brenda Strong and Neal McDonough. (Marcia Cross was celebrating her parents' 50th wedding anniversary and Felicity Huffman was teaching an acting class.)

Continue reading "'Desperate' for a Good Time at PaleyFest" »

April 17, 2009

Nerd Herd Turns Out for 'Big Bang' at PaleyFest

It was a nerd-fest Thursday at the Arclight Hollywood as the Paley Center for Media celebrated CBS’ sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.” Audience members sported T-shirts with clever scientific sayings (“Schroedinger’s Cat Is Dead”) and a higher-than-usual percentage of the crowd appeared to be of South Asian descent.

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'BIG' MINDS Co-creators Chuck Lorre, left, and Bill Prady.

Moderator Cynthia Littleton introduced the show’s co-creator, Chuck Lorre, who in turn introduced an upcoming episode called “The Vegas Normalization.” It opened with another of the geeky quartet’s oddball games, this one a variation on 20 Questions that produced some major laughs. But far be it from the Daily Blink to spoil anyone’s fun (or jokes). Suffice it to say that the episode found a new and amusing use for the slogan “Yes we can!”

The night really belonged to Kaley Cuoco (Penny), who won the audience’s collective heart with her habit of tearing up every time someone said something complimentary to or about her. (Co-star Jim Parsons, aka Sheldon, finally had to ask, “Did you think they were going to throw fruit at us?”)

But the boys more than held their own. Asked by Littleton why the show has become popular, Kunal Nayyar (Raj) said, “The cast is really good-looking.” Seated next to him, Simon Helberg’s answer was even simpler: “Me.”

Continue reading "Nerd Herd Turns Out for 'Big Bang' at PaleyFest" »

April 16, 2009

Whedon Says ‘Dollhouse’ Isn’t Canceled

The “Dollhouse” is not closing up shop just yet.

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PLAYING WITH DOLLS Creator Joss Whedon, left, Eliza Dushku and Fran Kranz.

Creator Joss Whedon was optimistic about “Dollhouse’s” chances for renewal at a Paley Festival panel for the show on Wednesday evening.

“The show is not canceled,” Mr. Whedon said. He pointed out that while the show’s ratings are soft, its key demographic and DVR numbers are great. He also noted the show will have a new lead-in soon in the form of “Prison Break.”

And when asked how many secrets we’ll learn in the season finale, Mr. Whedon said, “We have a lot of questions left to answer. We get the feeling we might have the chance to answer them.”

“Dollhouse’s” journey to the screen has been “the stuff of legend, but it was not legendary while it happened,” Mr. Whedon said.

Continue reading "Whedon Says ‘Dollhouse’ Isn’t Canceled" »

April 15, 2009

‘Dr. Horrible’s’ Whedon Excited About Web Video

Joss Whedon wants to give back.

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CAMPED OUT Fans line up outside the Arclight Cinerama Dome for the PaleyFest "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" panel.

Mr. Whedon was in attendance Tuesday evening at the Paley Festival’s panel for “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” the first time PaleyFest has honored a Web series.

Mr. Whedon, who was late to last year’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” reunion at PaleyFest because he was filming “Dr. Horrible,” acknowledged that the original Web musical would not have been possible without “waivers and favors,” as moderator Matt Roush put it.

“It is both. I could never attempt to cash in those types of favors again,” Mr. Whedon replied when asked if “Dr. Horrible” was an anomaly or a model for future Web video productions.

Mr. Whedon’s 20 years in the TV business played a part in helping “Dr. Horrible” get made. He was able to get permission to film on the Universal lot from the head of production thanks to their working relationship on “Serenity.” He turned “Dr. Horrible” into a family affair with fellow writers Zack Whedon, Jed Whedon and future sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen (“This will either band us or break the family apart forever,” Mr. Whedon said.). He enlisted actors he’d worked with before (Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day) while welcoming Neil Patrick Harris to the Joss Whedon Repertory Company.

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April 14, 2009

‘90210’ Panelists Tackle Tough Topics at PaleyFest

Cast members and executive producer Rebecca Rand Kirshner Sinclair from The CW series “90210” took part in an intimate panel discussion Saturday night as part of this year’s PaleyFest. The event, held in the real-life 90210 at the Paley Center for Media, was light on the cast banter, but not the topics.

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IN THE '90210' Rob Estes, left, and executive producer Rebecca Rand Kirshner Sinclair.

The night started with a brief clip from the original “Beverly Hills, 90210,” selected by the Paley Center for Media to go along with the event. Academy Award-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (“Juno”), a huge fan of both the original and its current incarnation, served as moderator for the panel.

After the screening of an upcoming episode, “Between a Sign and Hard Place,” scheduled to air April 21, the discussion included bipolarism and teenage pregnancy, two major storylines currently on the series.

Ms. Kirshner Sinclair explained that tackling the issue of bipolarism felt “timely,” noting that in her opinion it seems more young people are facing mental health issues.

“Bipolar kids are almost, like, the epitome of teenage kids,” Ms. Kirshner Sinclair said of today’s youth. “I think all teenage kids are kind of bipolar—you have great highs and great lows. … It’s sort of identifiable, and yet I don’t want those kids to feel embarrassed.”

In “Between a Sign and Hard Place,” directed by one of the show’s stars, Rob Estes, Erin Silver (played by Jessica Stroup) deals with the public consequences of her mental breakdown as she faces returning to West Beverly High.

Continue reading "‘90210’ Panelists Tackle Tough Topics at PaleyFest" »

‘True Blood’s’ Farflung Fandom

With some fans flying in from as far away as the Midwest, a sold-out crowd voiced their support for HBO’s “True Blood” during Monday’s PaleyFest presentation.

True Blood

Cast members Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Ryan Kwanten, Sam Trammell, Rutina Wesley, Nelsan Ellis, Carrie Preston, Alexander Skarsgard and creator/executive producer Alan Ball fielded questions from enthusiastic fans regarding nudity in the show, “Blood’s” connection to the Sookie Stackhouse book series and the threat of cancellation.

Multiple fans expressed concern about losing the show, including one guy who didn’t even ask a question, but just simply said he didn’t want to see “Blood” fall by the wayside after its second season, like HBO’s “Carnivale” or “Deadwood.” (“Deadwood” actually lasted three seasons).

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April 12, 2009

'Sunny' Panelists Sing, Talk Syndication

Paley Fest 2009’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” panel made for a raunchy Good Friday as the cast talked all about the controversial show, including its musical sensibilities, “Sunny” in syndication and Danny DeVito’s new claim to fame: pooping the bed.

Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia Panel at Paley Fest 2009

Mr. DeVito, along with cast members Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson, Glenn Howerton and Rob McElhenney, discussed the show’s appeal, which has been compared to “Seinfeld,” if Jerry and the gang worked the street for three weeks.

Mr. DeVito, who joined the cast in season two, said people used to shout at him on the street the names of his past characters, including Louie De Palma from “Taxi” and Vincent Benedict from “Twins.”

Now, he said, people refer to a recent episode of “Sunny” where he was found as the culprit of the gripping mystery of who defecated in the bed.

“People shout, ‘turd in the bed,’ ‘turd in the bed,’” he said.

Continue reading "'Sunny' Panelists Sing, Talk Syndication" »