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The Television Critics Association Press Tour is going to be crawling with TVWeek staffers. Check this space for observations from the presentations, hallway chatter and the dope on who was misbehaving at the parties. TVWeek’s Jon Lafayette, Josef Adalian, Andrew Krukowski, Sergio Ibarra and Vlada Gelman all will post as they scour the scene for news.


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Blogging the TCA


NBC's Not Out of the 'Jungle' Yet

January 15, 2009 4:07 PM

"Lipstick Jungle" still has a pulse. But barely.

NBC has never officially canceled the Brooke Shields soap opera. There were rumors of its demise last month, but the network was careful to say it wanted to see how the show did when it returned in January.

NBC Entertainment President Angela Bromstad on Thursday again repeated NBC's position that the show could still return next year. She said it would depend on the network's development.

After her formal TCA session with reporters, Ms. Bromstad said the network is talking to other networks—including some inside NBC Universal (cough, Oxygen)—about ways to do a deal that would keep the show alive.

Still, Ms. Bromstad didn't sound too hopeful, indicating the show's Friday ratings have been challenging.

—Josef Adalian

'Office's' Daniels Pondering Another Series

January 15, 2009 4:04 PM

Could there be yet another series coming from "The Office" brain trust? Maybe.

Talking up his new Amy Poehler project at the TCA's Winter Press Tour, "Office" showrunner Greg Daniels said he is working on an idea for another series.

"I am talking to people (who write for 'The Office') about another idea," Mr. Daniels said Thursday.

The key for Mr. Daniels is that he likely would not be involved in the day-to-day production of the series. He's simply too busy to do three shows.

"It's possible that some combination of other 'Office' people could produce that without me giving my blood," he said.

—Josef Adalian

MSNBC Bolsters Weekend Documentary Slate

January 15, 2009 4:00 PM

MSNBC's spilt personality could become a bit more cohesive in 2009.

That's the word from MNSBC President Phil Griffin, who said the network is looking to tweak its weekend documentary programming.

Currently, much of the network's Saturday and Sunday schedule is filled with crime-themed programming from "Dateline NBC" and Peacock Productions.

"I want our primetime personalities to drive more of our documentaries," Mr. Griffin told reporters Thursday at the Television Critics Association's Winter Press Tour. He said the network already has aired specials tied to Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, and that more are in the works.

Mr. Griffin said MSNBC also is working on a documentary series hosted by T.D. Jakes, who's developing a syndicated talk show for fall 2010.

—Josef Adalian

'Call Girl' Producer Makes Promise to Viewers

January 14, 2009 5:00 PM

Premium cable is home to all sorts of nudity and naughty language. But the producers of Showtime's "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" are offering a promise to potential viewers about content.

"You won't see any lady gardens," promised producer Rebecca de Souza.

What's a "lady garden"? Well, the show is about a high-end prostitute doing what prostitutes do. You do the math.

—Josef Adalian

Showtime’s Still Growing, Executives Say

January 14, 2009 2:34 PM

Showtime chiefs Matt Blank and Bob Greenblatt touted another strong year for the premium cable service Wednesday, hyping across-the-board gains in subscribers and revenue.

Mr. Blank said Showtime added 1 million subscribers in 2008, ending the year with 16.5 million homes. He also cited a 50% spike in video streaming at the network’s Web site, SHO.com.

The executives didn’t announce any new series or projects, but Mr. Greenblatt revealed that Laurie Metcalf, Melissa Leo and Famke Janssen will guest star in the pilot for the network’s upcoming spinoff of “The L Word.” The potential series will be set in a women’s prison.

Mr. Greenblatt said Showtime has yet to decide whether to order another season of drama “Brotherhood.”

“It’s a show that we love,” he said. “But we’re just trying to figure out what the future of it might be.”

Mr. Greenblatt, never shy with an opinion, also made a prediction regarding his broadcast peers.

“I think we will see networks giving back time to affiliates,” he said. “I believe that will happen in the next few years. And I don’t mean Fox or The CW … and I don’t think it will be CBS.”

—Josef Adalian

NBC Adds Wells' 'Southland' to Press Tour Agenda

January 14, 2009 1:14 PM

Looks like NBC isn't wasting any time beginning the promotion for its just-ordered John Wells police drama.

Just days after the network officially picked up the project to series, NBC has scheduled a panel for the show Thursday at its portion of the TV Critics Association's Winter Press Tour. Producer Wells and the show's cast are set to attend.

In addition, NBC and Warner Bros. TV have come up with a new name for the show. Previously known as "Police," the show now is being called "Southland."

NBC also is planning a session with MNSBC host Rachel Maddow and late-night stars Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon. As expected, NBC Entertainment Co-Chairmen Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff will skip a formal session with the press, allowing new NBC Entertainment President Angela Bromstad to take the spotlight. She'll be joined by new NBC reality czar Paul Telegdy.

—Josef Adalian

Sharon Osbourne's Available

January 13, 2009 3:02 PM

Sharon Osbourne used to appear as a judge on the British show "The X Factor" (it's sort of like "American Idol"). She'll soon be seen on Fox via "Osbournes Reloaded."

Sharon Osbourne

So TVWeek asked: Would Ms. Osbourne ever want to appear as a judge on "American Idol," which also airs on Fox?

"I'm such a TV whore," she said. "I would go on anything."

Ms. Osbourne then spread her legs to illustrate the point. "I feel like Madonna!"

"Osbournes Reloaded"—coming this spring to Fox. Check local listings.

—Josef Adalian

New Developments on 'Arrested' Movie?

January 13, 2009 2:24 PM

Put Mitch Hurwitz, Jason Batemen and Will Arnett together in a room of reporters, and you're bound to get a question or two about an "Arrested Development" movie. Even if the session is supposed to be about "Sit Down, Shut Up," the animated comedy premiering this April on Fox.

Arrested Development

But before journalists … OK, this reporter … could even bring up the topic of "AD: The Movie," Mr. Arnett began Tuesday's session by gently mocking the online hubbub over the film.

"When's the movie of 'Sit Down, Shut Up'?" Mr. Arnett asked Mr. Hurwitz at the start of the panel.

Replied Mr. Hurwitz, "We're having trouble getting the cast."

So what is the latest on the "AD" movie? It's still almost happening but not quite a done deal yet, Mr. Hurwitz said.

"We want to do it," the writer-producer said. "We have a general (OK) from Fox Searchlight. I'm really optimistic."

And the plot for said almost-movie?

"We have a story," Mr. Hurwitz said. "It's basically 'Valkyrie' meets 'Hotel for Dogs.'"

—Josef Adalian

Kevin Reilly on NBC: Stop Stalking Me

January 13, 2009 9:45 AM

Kevin Reilly

Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly kicked off the Fox portion of TCA with what just might be the line of the day.

"NBC for me is like the crazy ex-wife I can't get away from," he told reporters.

He tried out the line on a TVWeek reporter just before the session.

—Josef Adalian

Starz Gets Ready to 'Party Down'

January 10, 2009 4:50 PM

At least one of the actors in “Party Down,” the new comedy from Starz, really was a “cater waiter” while waiting for her big break.

During a Saturday panel at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour about the series, about a group of Hollywood wannabes working for a catering company, Lizzy Caplan said she would serve food to show business types and “the whole experience made me so angry,” she said. She would be thinking, “You should be serving me,” adding, “There’s no one so cocky as the unemployed actor.”

Ms. Caplan also worked in a restaurant, where she still has friends on staff. She said some of them might be good for the show. “They’re really good at serviing food,” she said.

The show is created by Rob Thomas, who was executive producer of “Veronica Mars.” Mr. Thomas has cast several people who also appeared on “Mars” in the new show. Veronica Mars herself, Kristen Bell, has visited the set and is expected to appear in an episode, Mr. Thomas said.

“Party Down” is part of Starz’s push into original programming. Also upcoming is a new version of “Spartacus.”

Executive producer Rob Tapert described it as “a hard-core, testosterone-driven drama unlike anything on television now.” He said it would get a “hard R” rating because of what are expected to be brutal fight scenes between the gladiators, as well as a fair amount of sex and nudity.

The key figure of Spartacus is yet to be cast, but Mr. Tapert said he’s not concerned.

“The history of television is it creates stars,” he said.

Starz’s dramatic series “Crash” has just finished its first season. Starz Entertainment President Bill Myers said that conversations about season two will begin next week, and that there are a few weeks before a decision about a renewal must be made.

Returning to Starz is improv comedy “Head Case,” which this season will feature Jerry Seinfeld, Tori Spelling and Hugh Hefner as guest patients.

Star Alexandra Wentworth said that since the show is improvised, it's hard to know what to guests might do. She reported that Mr. Seinfeld decided to work a little more blue than fans of his sitcom might expect.

She said only one thing went too far for the show: when singer Macy Gray went on and on about how much she wanted to sleep with Barack Obama.

Ms. Wentworth said her husband, ABC’s “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos, advised her that it was over the line.

Mr. Stephanopoulos won’t be appearing on “Head Case,” but Ms. Wentworth said her work has appeared on “This Week.”

When David Gregory took over as moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Mr. Stephanopoulos read a top 10 list of things Mr. Gregory should expect on his new job. Ms. Wentworth said she wrote many of those items.

—Jon Lafayette