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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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Live-Blogging the 'Fringe' TCA Panel

July 14, 2008 10:46 AM

J.J. Abrams

Busy guy: Despite his busy schedule, executive producer and co-creator J.J. Abrams assured critics he would be deeply involved in writing "Fringe."

"Fringe" is up next. Unfortunately, there's no Apple giveaways or guys on huge Segways to promote the show this time. But there is a fun notebook, so that's something.

Our panelists include executive producer Bryan Burk, showrunner Jeff Pinkner and creators Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and J.J. Abrams. We also have some stars via satellite.

10:56 a.m.: Mr. Orci wanted to do a show of geniuses solving problems, but it got mixed with J.J. Abrams' love of "The Night Stalker" and "The Twilight Zone."

10:59 a.m.: I just noticed that the assistants handing out microphones to critics are wearing FBI jackets.

11 a.m.: Mr. Abrams is not concerned about his busy schedule affecting his role in "Fringe," and he's going to be deeply involved in the show in writing or rewrites, etc.

11:05 a.m.: Mr. Abrams is sneaking in hints in the show for fans to follow and investigate, but says it's not essential for fans to follow the tiny details to enjoy the show.

11:07 a.m.: Mr. Kurtzman says "Fringe" could have been a movie, but they didn't want to limit the storytelling to three acts.

11:10 a.m.: "Fringe" has been leaked on the Internet. Mr. Burk says he doesn't like material getting out there before it's finished, so that's why critics haven't been sent screener discs. The leaked material doesn't have a finished score or tightened scenes.

11:12 a.m.: The creators have a tough time divvying up story ideas between movie ideas or "Fringe" or "Lost" ideas.

Fringe Panel

Spooky stuff: Executive producer Brian Burk, left, joins showrunner Jeff Pinkner, co-creators and executive producers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and J.J. Abrams at Monday's "Fringe" session.

11:14 a.m.: The economics worked out to shoot "Fringe" in New York City, but the pilot was shot in Toronto. Mr. Abrams needed a city that had weather.

11:16 a.m.: With the writers strike, there's a lot of pressure on "Fringe" to save network television and draw back viewers. Mr. Abrams says any pressure on a show to save a season or change someone's life could ruin a show. But he says the online response is good, especially for something that's not finished.

11:19 a.m.: What about shows that are complicated and require constant attention? Mr. Abrams says "Fringe" has an ultimate direction, but can jump into it at any time. He relates a story about watching "Alias" during a random day recently. He says he was completely confused as to what was happening. "It was literally impenetrable," he says.

11:25 a.m.: Mr. Pinkner says the first act of "Fringe" will grab the viewer every week, to the point that when the first ad break hits, viewers will be on the phone talking with friends about what just happened.

11:27 a.m.: We're done here, too.

The rest of the day proves to be just as gripping, with Fox News after lunch, "Do Not Disturb" and Fox's animation folks closing out the day.

—Andrew Krukowski

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