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

Live-Blogging the Hallmark TCA Panel

July 8, 2008 10:48 AM

We're here at the Hallmark TCA panel. "Dear Prudence" with Jane Seymour has just presented, and now we're jumping into a panel with Mark Consuelos, Chandra West and Corbin Bernsen in "For the Love of Grace."

10:51 a.m.: Ms. West has been asked whether she knew what was going on in "John From Cincinnati." "The short answer is no," she said.

10:54 a.m.: Breaking news: Corbin Bersen's secret ingredient to guacamole is Lowry's Taco Seasoning. You didn't hear that from us.

Hallmark's David Kenin

Baby Boomer Programming David Kenin, VP of programming for the Hallmark Channel, speaks during the 2008 summer Television Critics Association press tour.

10:55 a.m.: Discussion has veered back to "John" creator David Milch, who sometimes confounded Ms. West.

Mr. Bernsen said Mr. Milch convinced him and his wife at a 2000 New Year's party that the world was coming to an end the following week.

11:01 a.m.: We're moving on to "Ladies of the House" with Florence Henderson and Donna Mills. A house remodeling causes three women to re-evaluate their lives.

11:02 a.m.: Ms. Henderson said she loves power tools and knows how to work a plunger. She's now discussing toilet construction.

11:05 a.m.: "We're lucky, our audience are not teeny-boppers," Hallmark Head of Programming David Kenin said. Using established and iconic stars, like Ms. Henderson, is important for Hallmark, Mr. Kenin said, as there is such a built-in following that it makes publicity that much easier.

11:13 a.m.: Ms. Henderson was asked about her opinion on "Brady Bunch" co-stars, specifically Christopher Knight, jumping to reality television. "You see this face," she said, pointing at her grim demeanor.

11:15 a.m.: We've moved on to "Generation Gap," where a gruff grandpa takes in a wild spirit, with Ed Asner and Alex Black.

11:16 a.m.: When asked whether actors might strike, Mr. Asner says, "I doubt it. I truly doubt it. … Actors certainly don't have more guts than the average person." He did say that he would vote for a strike, but he was in the minority. Mr. Asner is a former president of the Screen Actors Guild.

11:17 a.m.: Boy, Mr. Asner is on a roll. Mr. Black was asked what he learned from Mr. Asner during the film. "How to roll a reefer," Mr. Asner said. He also said Mr. Black was much better-looking than his own grandchildren.

11:25 a.m.: Mr. Asner said he's disappointed about the loss of tradition in Hollywood. "Everything is done on the cheap," he said, and knocked reality television and runaway production costs.

He said when he first arrived in Hollywood, the MGM studio was like the "city on the hill." Now, "It looked like a dump," he said. "It was like the city on the hill had sunk into the ground," he added.

11:28 a.m.: We're up to "Mail Order Bride," a Western with Daphne Zuniga and Greg Evigan.

11:35 a.m.: Broadcast has moved away from Westerns, but Hallmark doesn't mind, as it leaves the door wide open for them, Mr. Kenin said. "We can tell morality tales in that context without feeling heavy," he said.

11:40 a.m.: We move on to "Accidental Friendship," with panelists Chandra Wilson, Ben Vereen, Kathleen Munroe and Sgt. Tami Baumann. A cop befriends a homeless woman. Mr. Kenin said it's based on a true story.

11:52 a.m.: Ms. Wilson was asked about fellow "Grey's Anatomy" star Katherine Heigl's self-removal from Emmy contention this year. "All actors have to do the exact same thing every year," Ms. Wilson said. She said if a specific episode in a season doesn't showcase high drama or high comedy depending on the category, it's not out of place to not submit. "It was amazing to me how it got blown out of proportion," she added.

11:58 a.m.: Now up: "Moonlight & Mistletoe" The panel is Tom Arnold, Candice Cameron and Barbara Niven.

12:08 p.m.: "Just let these guys work it all out," Mr. Arnold said about SAG negotiations. He chided actors about choosing sides and being overly vocal about it. "I wish the actors would just shut up."

12:10 p.m.: We've got "Expecting a Miracle," with Cheech Marin. Mr. Marin plays a priest and miracles start occurring.

12:15 p.m.: Mr. Marin was asked if he taught Mr. Asner how to roll a reefer. "He wasn't one of my better students," Mr. Marin joked.

12:19 p.m.: Moving along, we have "Bound by a Secret," a movie about some type of secret (the promo video told us absolutely nothing). Panelists are Lesley Ann Warren and Meredith Baxter.

12:30 p.m.: We're nearing the end with "Relative Stranger." Mr. Kenin said they've been trying to get this movie made for five years. Panelists are Cicely Tyson, Eriq La Salle, Michael Michele and Michael Beach.

12:33 p.m.: Three of the panelists were on "ER," which is entering its final season. While he did say the show was ahead of its time, Eriq La Salle isn't terribly up to talking about "ER." "I'm sorry, but let's talk about 'Relative Stranger,'" he said.

—Andrew Krukowski


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