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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 HBO TCA Presentation, Part 2

July 10, 2008 4:30 PM

True Blood Panel

Coven Actors Anna Paquin (C) and Stephen Moyer (R), stars of the new HBO series "True Blood", discuss the show with series writer, director and executive producer Alan Ball (L) during HBO's panel presentation.

Back again after an interview with Richard Plepler and Michael Lombardo, we join the HBO presentation, already in progress.

4 p.m.-4:33 p.m.: The "Generation Kill" panel has been going strong while we were away. I assume there's been talk of shooting people. "Kill" premieres Sunday.

4:42 p.m.: Sorry I missed this panel. These folks look like they were having a hoot talking about "Kill."

4:43 p.m.: "Thank You, Mr. President: Helen Thomas at the White House" is up next. Ms. Thomas is not here—she's been sick. Director Rory Kennedy is here.

4:49 p.m.: Ms. Kennedy says the veteran White House correspondent is an iconic figure. "I think she really provides insights into some of these presidents and their character," Ms. Kennedy says.

4:55 p.m.: This pit feels lighter. I think a good amount of critics filed out with the "Generation Kill" folks.

4:57 p.m.: Ms. Kennedy says Ms. Thomas was leaning toward Hillary Clinton, but is OK with Barack Obama.

Read more about the HBO panel after the jump, including "True Blood" writer-director Alan Ball's comments about "Moonlight."

5 p.m: Ms. Kennedy says Ms. Thomas is disappointed in younger journalists for not asking tougher questions of President Bush. Had the journalists been asking the hard questions during the lead-up to the war, we wouldn't be in a war, Ms. Kennedy says of Ms. Thomas' beliefs.

5:06 p.m.: Does Helen Thomas blog? Ms. Kennedy doesn't know.

5:11 p.m.: This panel feels really weird with Ms. Kennedy answering on behalf of Ms. Thomas, like those CSPAN2 BookTV talks where guys portray Teddy Roosevelt. But we're all through with Ms. Thomas. "Little Britain USA" up next.

5:22 p.m.: We were just screened some clips of "Little Britain USA." Absolutely flooring. Rosie O'Donnell was joking about her sexuality and her weight, and two buff dudes in a gym are really, really secure in their masculinity, to name a few moments.

Little Britain USA

Floored HBO screened some clips of 'Little Britain USA.' Pictured, David Walliams as Ellie-Grace's mother and Matt Lucas as Ellie-Grace."

5:24 p.m.: Why do Brits like to dress up as women? "It's fun, it's relaxing," David Walliams, writer and executive producer, says.

5:27 p.m.: There is a laugh track on this show, which is interesting for a sketch comedy show (like it works with "Kids in the Hall," but it would seem out of place in "Upright Citizens Brigade). But writer Matt Lucas says the show is taped and screened (in cases of outdoor shots) in front of an audience. He promises the laughter is not canned.

5:37 p.m.: David Schwimmer, (you know, from "Friends"?) directed the West Coast studio tapings of "Little Britain USA." "I didn't realize he was in 'Friends.' I preferred the monkey, but maybe that was me," Mr. Lucas says.

True Blood

Southern Comfort Stephen Moyer in "True Blood" - show creator Alan Ball says the vampires on the show work as a metaphor for people who are misunderstood.

5:39 p.m.: "True Blood" up. "Blood" is about vampires who are able to mingle with humans due to the creation of a synthetic blood mixture. It's based on novels by Charlaine Harris.

5:43 p.m.: Alan Ball, its writer-director and creator of "Six Feet Under," talking about the sex scenes in the first episode: "That was an instinct choice." He says it felt like it was part of the whole world the novels are based in. Mr. Ball stumbled across the Sookie Stackhouse novels accidentally, killing time before a dentist's appointment.

5:46 p.m.: Mr. Ball doesn't really see the vampires in "True Blood" as a metaphor for gay people specifically. He says the vampires do work as a metaphor as people who are misunderstood, but again, it's a show about vampires, so settle down with the reading into it.

5:49 p.m.: Mr. Ball says he's expanding story points that don't take place in the books.

5:53 p.m.: Lessons from "Moonlight": "I think it's pretty lame to let your vampire go out during the day because you don't want to shoot at night," Mr. Ball says. LET THE LETTER-WRITING CAMPAIGN BEGIN.

5:59 p.m.: All right, you vampire fans, we've got a critic asking the president of HBO about the crazed fan base for vampire shows. Are you happy now?

Sue Naegle

BRING IT ON Sue Naegle, president HBO Entertainment has no concerns about vampire fan culture.

"Oh, this is a question about crazy fans?" Sue Naegle says. Ms. Naegle says she appreciates fan passion. "As long as they don't send a bunch of coffins to my office," she says. If "True Blood" is canceled, you've got your mailing material.

6:13 p.m.: Just a reminder, "True Blood" premieres Sept. 7.

That'll seal up this day of the Cable TCA. Join us tomorrow for the last day of the cable portion of the press tour. We've got Turner, Fox Reality, Starz and Lifetime on the slate. I'll be asking Wolf Blitzer if every room he enters becomes "The Situation Room."

—Andrew Krukowski

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