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 HBO TCA Presentation

July 10, 2008 3:04 PM

Richard Plepler

Great Storytelling Richard Plepler, co-president of HBO, speaks during a question and answer session during HBO's panel presentation.

We're in at HBO. Co-President Richard Plepler and President, programming group and West Coast Operations, Michael Lombardo are on stage.

3:07 p.m.- The strike impacted us significantly, Mr. Lombardo says. "Big Love" will be back in the fall. HBO hopes "Curb Your Enthusiasm" will be back by the end of the year, depending on Larry David's schedule.

3:09 p.m.- After some big buzz last year, HBO finished shooting six episodes of "12 Miles of Bad Road" sometime last year, but Mr. Lombardo says it just didn't fit in with HBO. They've tried to shop it around, but just haven't found a home yet.

3:11 p.m.: Possibility of a second "Sex in the City" movie? Big interest from Warner Bros. for a sequel, but Mr. Lombardo can't say what the turnaround is going to be. Mr. Plepler says it's totally up to David Chase, creator of "The Sopranos," to look into a big-screen adaptation of the mob hit. (Get it? Hit? I just came up with that. Good times.)

3:14 p.m.: Mr. Plepler said he wishes "Mad Men" were on HBO.

3:16 p.m.: "We're looking for great storytellers," Mr. Plepler says. Even with the changeover in management at HBO, Mr. Plepler just wants good stories that fit the HBO form. The only thing that has changed is the ramped-up volume. HBO says it has greenlit three new projects/pilots, including "Treme" (I have butchered the spelling on this), "The Washingtonian" and a 1920s film in collaboration with Martin Scorsese.

3:20 p.m.: Mr. Plepler says he thinks it's safe to say the chance of a "Deadwood" movie is "slim to none."

3:23 p.m.: Mr. Plepler talking about the advantage of not being choked by ratings, allowing the creative side to tell their story: "If we're on the same page, it's the narrative that the artist wants to tell, and when he's done or she's done, we're done."

3:25 p.m.: "Pacific Theater" is slated for late '09 or early '10. It's HBO's only miniseries currently on the slate, aside from "Generation Kill."

3:27 p.m.: "In Treatment" will have the same two doctors, but different patients. "Tell Me You Love Me" is slated to have the same characters from last season.

3:28 p.m.: Mr. Lombardo corrects himself, "Big Love" won't be back until first quarter next year.

3:29 p.m.: The two are asked about looking for the next "Sopranos:" "Quality first," Mr. Plepler says. "It would be a mistake for us to be swinging for home runs," Mr. Lombardo says.

3:32 p.m.: Does HBO have a grim demeanor? "I do think the somber is something we all agree on," Mr. Lombardo says. But he hopes the shows coming up will mix that up.

3:34 p.m.: Chris Rock is scheduled for a fifth concert in September.

3:35 p.m.: Ricky Gervais is arriving next.

3:38 p.m.: Mr. Gervais is promoting a comedy special. Mr. Gervais said he wanted to perform at Madison Square Garden because he just bought an apartment nearby, and he can walk.

3:40 p.m.: A reporter asks Mr. Gervais to finish the phrase, "You know when you're in L.A. when..." "The pilot says you're in L.A.," he replies.

3:43 p.m.: Mr. Gervais says he was very surprised to win an Emmy. He's trying to persuade Stephen Merchant to produce a new special for "Extras," but he's working on film currently, so it'll be a while.

3:45 p.m.: The stats are against you for re-creating an American version of a British sitcom, Mr. Gervais says.

3:47 p.m.: Mr. Gervais wishes "The Office" spinoff luck, but says, "It's not my baby."

3:50 p.m.: Laurel & Hardy are Mr. Gervais' comedic inspiration. Empathy, he says, is important for comedy. "Hitler had great lines, but he didn't make me laugh at all," he says.

3:53 p.m.: Mr. Gervais on what "The Office" spinoff is about: "I know nothing."

3:59 p.m.: Mr. Gervais is wrapping up, but in the spirit of a live-blog (in that it's live and poorly spelled), we're being whisked away to tape a video interview. Coverage will be back shortly.

Follow the rest of the session here.

—Andrew Krukowski


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