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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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Frankly, Did Critics Give a Damn?

July 11, 2008 4:58 PM

Frank Caliendo, star of TBS’ “Frank TV,” faced a tough crowd at the Television Critics Association summer press tour Thursday.

After zipping through a few of his best impressions and getting little reaction, he looked up and said, “You guys are really critic-y.” Later on, as the ballroom remained relatively quiet, he let the critics know, “I’m killing with you. You don’t realize it.”

In his brief presentation, Mr. Caliendo transformed into President Bush, John Madden, Robin Williams, John McCain, Charles Barkley, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Dick Cheney, Bill Walton, Rip Torn, Bill Clinton, Jim Gandolfini, Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump.

“If you don’t have a joke, just change voices,” he said, letting the audience in on a trade secret.

During last year’s baseball playoffs, Turner launched “Frank TV” with a barrage of promos that some viewers found annoying. For season two, Mr. Caliendo said he’d asked Turner execs to “tone it up just to make people angrier. I’m going to apologize for it happening again.”

He noted that when Turner was frantically promoting the show, it was acting on faith.

“We had not shot a single skit before those aired,” he said.

Instead of doing nearly all of the sketches himself as he did last season, Mr. Caliendo will be joined by a few other performers this season, including Freddy Lockhart, who will play Barack Obama to his McCain.

To those who think TV sketches go on too long without a good ending, he noted that “Frank TV” is packed with six 2- to 3-minute sketches per half-hour, compared to “Saturday Night Live,” which has the same number stretched over an hour and a half.

—Jon Lafayette

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