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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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Blogging the TCA


'SNL' Launches Another Campaign

July 20, 2008 6:30 PM

It's an election year, so it's no surprise that the 2008 campaign dominated a panel featuring Lorne Michaels and several cast members of NBC's "Saturday Night Live."

Among the nuggets of election (and non-election) news gleaned from the 30-minute session:

—If Barack Obama were willing to guest host "SNL," would Mr. Michaels say yes? "Absolutely," he said.

—Mr. Michaels said his donation to the primary campaign of Sen. John McCain doesn't color the comedy on the show. "I did give to his campaign. But I give to pretty much any former hosts who run for office," he joked.

—Fred Armisen jokingly defended himself against critics who question the idea of a non-black man impersonating Sen. Obama. "I grew up in a hippie commune," he said. "And things are pretty loose there. My dad told me we really don't know who my mom is."

—Mr. Michaels said Amy Poehler will stay with "SNL" until she gives birth, "which hopefully will be right after the election." The producer said he doesn't expect to lose any other cast members this season. He does plan to add two, or possibly three, contributors to the cast.

—Any more "Laser Cats" in the future of "SNL"? "I think everybody hopes so," said Andy Samberg.

—"Being off the air in an election year was unbelievably frustrating," Mr. Michaels said, referring to the hiatus forced by the writers strike.. "It made me realize how precious it was to just have this job and be on the air."

—Hey, Lorne, whatcha think of the whole Jay Leno-NBC thing? "I so have so little to say about that," Mr. Michaels said, adding later: "I only work there."



Future Shock: How 'Caprica' Will Build Tension

July 20, 2008 5:49 PM

Sc-Fi Network TCA Panel

PREQUEL The cast of the "Battlestar Galactica" prequel "Caprica" (L-R) Polly Walker, Eric Stoltz, Paula Malcomson, Writer and Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore, Writer and Executive Producer Remi Aubuchon, and Executive Producer David Eick on stage.

Critics love "Battlestar Galactica." That means they should love "Caprica," Sci Fi's upcoming two-hour backdoor pilot that could serve as the blueprint for a new "BSG" series.

But at Sunday's "Caprica" panel at TCA, critics had one issue with producers: Why is this thing a prequel? Won't viewers know what's going to happen?

"The tension comes from the fact that you know where it's going," said executive producer Ronald D. Moore.

"The idea is to say, 'All that you see here is doomed.' There's an ominous (tone)," he said.

Read more and see the "Caprica" trailer after the jump.

Read More »

DirecTV Plans 'Friday Night Lights' Post-Game Show

July 20, 2008 4:38 PM

DirectTV Friday Night Lights TCA Panel

BACK FROM THE BRINK Eric Shanks, Executive Vice President of Entertainment for DIRECTV, along with the cast, discussed how the satcaster will be making a big promotional push for the new episodes of "Friday Night Lights."


DirecTV will present “Friday Night Lights Live” when the critically acclaimed but low-rated drama makes its debut Oct. 1 on the satellite provider's The 101 Network.

The 30-minute “postgame” show will allow viewers to call-in and talk to two or three cast members from the show live after each new episode of the series airs.

Asked if there was anything the cast was looking forward to or afraid of regarding “Friday Night Lights Live,” Connie Britton responded, “We have no fear.”

“We're survivors,” Kyle Chandler added.

Indeed, the show has survived many questions and uncertainties regarding its future, but now has won a reprieve with a guaranteed 13 episodes on DirecTV.

The satcaster will be making a big promotional push for the show, something Ms. Britton said she didn't feel the show has ever really gotten.

However, the show must battle the question of downloading and what will happen when the series returns to NBC in February. Many viewers may turn to torrents and file-sharing before the third season makes its broadcast premiere.

“The network believes that there will be an audience for the show in February,” said executive producer Jason Katims, who noted that NBC's and the studio's passion for the show is what made the deal with DirecTV possible.

Or, as Zach Gilford, who plays Matt Saracen, suggested, “If you're really such a big fan, go ahead and download it and then out of good conscience turn it on on NBC.”

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Doc, It Hurts When I Ask a Question...

July 19, 2008 6:21 PM

The "Doctors" session took the stage sans the McGraw boys, Dr. Phil and Jay, whose company is producing the series.

However, with four of the co-hosts meeting with the press, critics quickly brought up perhaps too personal medical topics for the panelists, echoing the essence of the show in discussing "topics people are too embarrassed to discuss with their own physician."

Critics' questions involved their personal frustration at being misdiagnosed, when to get a second opinion and not getting enough time in an office visit. One all but displayed an unusual growth that's causing concern, and another asked about a sponge left in her body post-op.

Dr. Travis Stork, former "Bachelor" star and centerpiece of the upcoming series, quickly pointed out that "The Doctors" is not meant to replace the viewer's (or critic's) own physician and is meant to serve an informational purpose only.

—Chris Pursell

CBS, Norville Mark 20 Years on the 'Inside'

July 19, 2008 6:17 PM

Critics were shuffled from The CW's presentation midday Saturday to greet Deborah Norville, as CBS Television Distribution hosted a lunch in honor of "Inside Edition's" 20th anniversary.

Ms. Norville continues to remain popular with the army of press who filled the room at the Beverly Hilton.

"One of the reasons we've reached this milestone is that we've stayed in touch with the viewers," said Ms. Norville. "We're positioned to cover the things Americans care about."

Despite 20 years on the air, the syndicated newsmagazine continues to be entrenched atop the ratings, taking second among all newsmagazine shows.

Of course, success could have a price—or perhaps after 20 years on the air, there is little left to ask or challenge as critics basked in their post-lunch glow and asked few questions, wrapping the session quickly.

—Chris Pursell

Live-Blogging the CW Executive Session

July 19, 2008 11:58 AM

Dawn Ostroff

Another Try Dawn Ostroff President of Entertainment, for The CW revealed that there is a possibility of seeing the 2009-10 season premiere during the 2009 summer.


The CW President of Entertainment Dawn Ostroff is set to take the stage shortly. Why not refresh yourself with what Ms. Ostroff handled during the upfronts here?

Here's what to expect during this session:
—Questions about The CW's low ratings.
—Why lime green? Why not brand a network with a nice burnt sienna or cerulean?
—In a game very similar to ABC's "Katherine Heigl, what's up with her?" critics may play "Tyra Banks, what's up with her?"

12:07 p.m.: There's no doubt that this was a challenging year, not only for us, but for others. The CW is going to target women 18-34, that's the channel's "sweet spot." The median age of the network is 34, Ms. Ostroff says.

12:09 p.m.: We're watching a clip of Sam Raimi's "13-Fear Is Real," which Ms. Ostroff says is like "The Blair Witch Project" as a reality show.

12:10 p.m.: The winner of "Fear" gets $66,666, and there was talk of killing off the folks on the show. This show may have some promise after all.

12:13 p.m.: Ms. Ostroff explains that getting "killed" on the show means disappearing from the rest of the group. Scratch what I just said.

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Live-Blogging the '90210' Panel

July 19, 2008 9:05 AM

90210 TCA Panel

NEW LOOK "90210" Executive producers Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah, along with the new cast members, described the progress being made on the new version of the show.

Weekends are for the weak as TCA rolls on through Saturday. We've got the "90210" panel coming up. In the lobby, there's a fake Peach Pit, offering peach Jamba Juice and booze.

What to expect in this panel:
—Questions about hair.
—Questions about how the original will tie into this version.
—Some smart-ass critic bringing up "Models, Inc."

9:29 a.m.: We're checking out some random clips of the cast talking about their characters. All these characters seem to laugh a lot and wear sunglasses.

9:30 a.m.: Shannen Doherty will be back on "90210," playing a drama teacher.

9:36 a.m.: Here's how this new series works: The Wilson family moves from Kansas to Beverly Hills, and must try to maintain their moral center within the extravagance. This sounds strikingly familiar...

9:41 a.m.: Critic puts the screws to the panel as to what show in the past that has been remade like this has been successful. The panel was stumped for the most part, but offhand "Degrassi" and "Star Trek" both had similar success. But, for every "Star Trek: TNG," there's like 15 "704 Hauser."

9:43 a.m.: Shannen Doherty is playing Brenda Walsh. So expect coy dialog like, "I've been in your shoes before" with this knowing look, and everyone at home will say, "OH...cause she was on the show before."

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Secrets of the 'List'

July 18, 2008 4:07 PM

The Ex List TCA Panel

MISSED CONNECTIONS:"The Ex List" actors Alexandra Breckenridge, left, and Adam Rothenberg join executive producer Diane Ruggiero to the show's protagonist's search for true love.

Executive producer Diane Ruggiero has a secret plan for “The Ex List."

“List” follows Bella Bloom (Elizabeth Reaser), who is told she must find a husband in one year or she’ll never find true love. The catch? She’s met the guy before.

But, after one year, what’s next for the show? Ms. Ruggiero said she has a plan after one year, but was incredibly mum about what it is.

However, she was pretty open about other aspects of the show, including writing styles.

A critic asked if CBS balked at a lot of the vaginal-based humor in the show, including discussion of merkins, or pubic wigs.

“I actually let my vagina write half of the script,” Ms. Ruggiero said.

—Andrew Krukowski

ABC Parties at the Hilton

July 18, 2008 3:49 PM

Disney-ABC Summer Press Tour All-Star Party

FAMILY FUN: Anne Sweeney, left, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group, smiles with "Desperate Housewives" co-star Teri Hatcher at Disney-ABC TV Group's Summer Press Tour All-Star Party.

ABC kept its All Star party close to home Thursday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where the TCA summer press tour is taking place. Perhaps they thought it was best not to drag weary critics to a faraway location on a day when they had to cover the Emmy nominations at 5:45 a.m.

How to further lull critics into a sleepy haze? With plenty of free food that could easily send one into a food coma. With multiple dessert tables featuring mini-tarts, platters of deli meats, pasta, potatoes, chicken and roast beef, and at least one open bar in every room, it’s easy to fall under the spell.

There were no “Pushing Daisies” pies in sight. A missed opportunity for some creatively themed food, if you ask us. However, the bar did offer a “Pushing Daisies” drink that the menu promised would make you think of apple pie if you closed your eyes. There also was a Life on Mars-tini. Hey, maybe Sam Tyler just had one too many drinks and hit his head!

Aside from the show-themed drinks and small banners for ABC, ABC Family and Disney Channel above the food tables, it was hard to tell that it was an ABC party. Screens featuring a slideshow of pictures from the networks’ shows were obscured by throngs of people. Thankfully, there were stars from “Desperate Housewives,” “Private Practice,” “Scrubs” “Eli Stone” and “Dirty Sexy Money,” in addition to network brass and executive producers, present as reminders.

“Eli Stone” co-creator Marc Guggenheim revealed that the show had to swap its filming order for the first two episodes to accommodate Broadway-bound Katie Holmes’ schedule. Her episode was filmed first, but will air second.

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More ‘Moonlight’ Vampire Madness

July 18, 2008 3:42 PM

Alex O’Loughlin of Moonlight

FAN FARE: Nina Tassler said she'd still love to find a place for "Moonlight" star Alex O’Loughlin in the CBS lineup.

It’s not that CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler doesn’t love vampires, it’s that she loves former “Moonlight” lead actor Alex O’Loughlin more.

But CBS still stands by its decision to cancel “Moonlight.”

When asked by a critic about the vampire show with a devoted fan base, Ms. Tassler said “Everybody knows I love vampires, witches, werewolves, warlocks-I love them all.”

“I don't question the choice we made,” she said. She added that she thinks the fan outrage she's seen is mainly actor-centric, and wouldn't mind keeping "Moonlight" lead O'Loughlin in the CBS family.

Critics, especially those with an online presence, are familiar with “Moonlight.” The slightest breath of the show invites a deluge of upset fans, (Thus explaining the question from the critic.)

Read More »

Bringing 'Worst Week' Across the Pond

July 18, 2008 11:54 AM

Worst Week TCA Panel

ADAPTATION: Executive Producer Matt Tarses, left, and actors Erin Hayes and Kyle Bornheimer from new CBS comedy "Worst Week" answer questions about their work on the show, adapted from the British series.

CBS’ “Worst Week” has its main character screwing up and stepping in it every episode.
More literally at some times than others.

In the pilot, Sam Briggs, played by Kyle Bornheimer, mixes up a pot of turkey with a toilet during a power outage.

Mr. Bornheimer, when asked about the comedic moments of playing in a scene like that, said, “Once you are presented with a pot of urine, the possibilities … pissabilities … are endless.”

“That’s for you guys,” he said to groans from audience.

The series, adapted from British series “The Worst Week of My Life,” was difficult to adapt to American sensibilities.

Translating British comedies to America is “like trying to transport a Ming vase across the ocean,” said Jimmy Mulville, executive producer.

—Andrew Krukowski

Geography Lessons From CBS News

July 18, 2008 10:46 AM

CBS News Analyst Jeff Greenfield wants to make one thing clear: He may know a lot about Washington, but he's not a Washington insider.

A reporter—OK, me—addressed a query to Mr. Greenfield and CBS News' Bob Schieffer by labeling it "for the Washington guys."

Mr. Greenfield immediately took issue with that.

Said he: "I live in the heartland of America—the Upper West Side of Manhattan."

Duly noted.

—Josef Adalian

How Much Is Too Much on Obama Trip?

July 18, 2008 10:43 AM

Katie Couric at TCA via Sattelite

VIA SATELLITE: "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric and Sean McManus, CBS News & Sports president, speak to the press via satellite about their thoughts on Obama's strategy.

With the Big Three news anchors scheduled to travel overseas with the Obama campaign next week, conservative critics already are raising questions about whether too much star power is being focused on the trip.

A similar trip by Sen. John McCain in March didn't get nearly the same attention, critics note.

But "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric told a TCA audience that the Obama campaign has simply been more savvy.

"I think it was very deft on the part of the Obama campaign," she said, noting the Obama campaign offered the news networks extensive access to the candidate if they went along on the trip. "Had (Sen. McCain) extended such an invitation, we would have strongly considered it."

Beyond tactics, CBS News & Sports President Sean McManus noted that Mr. Obama is making his debut on the international scene.

"Any time (a presumed nominee) makes his first major foreign trip, it's a major event," he said. "If we didn't do it, we wouldn't be doing our job."

—Josef Adalian

Live-Blogging the CBS Executive Session

July 18, 2008 8:57 AM

Nina Tassler

EXECUTIVE ANSWER CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler loves vampires, but doesn't question canceling "Moonlight."

Three broadcast channels left! Today we have CBS' Nina Tassler, president of entertainment, in front of the critical firing squad. Prediction for this session: spinoff announcement of "Greatest American Cat."

9:11 a.m.: Ms. Tassler on stage. The big news according to her this TCA is William Petersen leaving "CSI."

9:13 a.m.: "Audiences are watching more television," Ms. Tassler says. "I think viewers are really looking forward to watching their shows."

9:14 a.m.: Ms. Tassler proud of "Swingtown," still behind the show.

Ms. Tassler talks about loving vampires, "Moonlight," and the evil gene after the jump.

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Cherry 'Desperate' for Closure

July 17, 2008 5:47 PM

“Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry, speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour, reaffirmed that he’d like to end the series after seven seasons.

The show is entering its fifth season set five years in the future, a reset of sorts for the show, according to Mr. Cherry.

Others might not have the same idea as Mr. Cherry.

While Mr. Cherry explained why he’d like to see his creation close at the end of season seven, ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson shouted from the back of the room, “Not gonna happen!”

—Andrew Krukowski

Rhimes Hitting Ground Running on 'Practice'

July 17, 2008 4:39 PM

Private Practice TCA Panel

On Duty Actress Kate Walsh and Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes of "Private Practice" explain to critics that the show will focus more on the medical setting and less of the soap opera this season.

In a growing trend, “Private Practice” creator Shonda Rhimes described the first episode of her returning show after the strike as having a minimum amount of learning curve.

Several showrunners and executive producers of sophomore series have explained at the TCA the difficulty of returning after the strike-shortened season.

Ms. Rhimes said “Practice” has the advantage of airing on Wednesdays with other shows, including “Dirty Sexy Money” and “Pushing Daisies,” that will use ABC’s ad department to full effect for a relaunch.

But, in this returning season, Ms. Rhimes said while “Grey’s Anatomy” is all about surgery, “Practice” tells the stories of moral and ethical dilemmas and the high-stakes medicine in people’s everyday lives. However, the show will focus more on the medicine this season than last year, as the soap opera stuff tended to outweigh the medical setting.

The panel marked the first time this TCA where the phrase "Grey's Anatomy" didn't force an inevitable question about Katherine Heigl.

—Andrew Krukowski

More Dirty, More Sexy, More Money!

July 17, 2008 3:49 PM

The writers strike sliced “Dirty Sexy Money’s” freshman season by half, but, just like executive producer Greg Berlanti’s other show, “Eli Stone,” “Money” has some tricks up its sleeves to bring back viewers.

First, Lucy Liu joins the cast. Liu said she received a call from ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson, asking to keep her within the ABC family beyond “Cashmere Mafia.”

Ms. Liu said she loved “Money,” and after some dealing with the executive producers, she was signed on before her character was created.

But critics said that yesterday Mr. McPherson mentioned he was dissatisfied with the tone of “Money,” to which the executive producers promised this year will bring a lighter tone. Not a radical change in tone, because they don't want to dissuade current viewers, but “it’s more dirty, more sexy and more money than ever before,” creator Craig Wright said.

“If the stories are right, the tones will be right,” Mr. Wright said.

—Andrew Krukowski

Live-Blogging the ABC Showrunners Panel

July 17, 2008 1:55 PM

ShowrunnerPanelTCA08.jpg

THE BRAINS (L-R) Greg Berlanti, Shonda Rhimes, Silvio Horta, Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse and Marc Cherry field questions from critics.

We're set up to learn how to show run, the ABC way! Our panel: "Eli Stone's" Greg Berlanti, "Grey's Anatomy's" Shonda Rhimes, "Ugly Betty's" Silvio Horta, "Lost's" Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and "Desperate Housewives'" Marc Cherry.

2:06 p.m.: ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson is offering Red Bull to reporters who are bleary-eyed from having to wake up at 5-freakin'-45 this morning to cover the Emmy nominations during a week of wall-to-wall TCA coverage. No, no bitterness here. None whatsoever.

2:09 p.m.: Katherine Heigl, what's up with her? Storywise, she's got some good material, Ms. Rhimes says. "I would put her in a coma," Mr. Horta says.

Read More »

'Opportunity' Unlimited for Kutcher & Gang

July 16, 2008 5:14 PM

Opportunity Knocks

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS (L-R) JD Roth, Ashton Kutcher, Jason Goldberg and Karey Burke surprise critics with their new game show.

Ashton Kutcher, former underwear model-turned-actor-turned-TV producer, defended the reality TV genre, telling reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour that “actors bitching or worried about reality TV taking their money and their jobs” should wait for the next opportunity to arrive instead of worrying about the acting-gig “cake” running out.

Elaborate cake metaphors aside, Mr. Kutcher took the stage to talk about his upcoming ABC series “Opportunity Knocks,” along with executive producers J.D. Roth, Jason Goldberg and Karey Burke.

The series, which surprises unsuspecting families by bringing a game show to their neighborhoods to test their knowledge about each other, prides itself on the research it conducts to create questions and challenges about each family. So proud, in fact, that Mr. Roth, who also serves as series host, surprised some critics in the audience with questions about themselves.

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McPherson on What Might Have Been

July 16, 2008 3:50 PM

Will Ferrell, variety star? It could have happened.

ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson said on Wednesday that the network had a signed deal with the movie star to host his own Christmas special a few years ago. The special never happened, however.

“He realized how much money he made in features and decided to go do that instead,” Mr. McPherson said.

Mr. McPherson said he’s curious to see how Fox does with its upcoming variety show with the Osbournes. ABC was among the bidders for that show, and it’s still open to the idea of a variety hour “with the right personality and talent,” he said.

—Josef Adalian

McPherson Digs 'Mole' Producers

July 16, 2008 3:47 PM

ABC took a bold step by bringing back reality show “The Mole” this summer. Viewers have repaid that boldness with decidedly so-so ratings, forcing producers to launch a Web site to save their show.

So will there be another season of “The Mole”? ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson was noncommittal on Wednesday at press tour, but he said he doesn’t blame producers for the disappointing numbers.

“It's certainly not the fault of the production,” he said. “It's an incredibly well-produced show. I think they did a fabulous job.”

Mr. McPherson said he thought the network stumbled a bit in its marketing of the show. “Maybe we made a misstep there and should have focused a little bit more as just selling it as a completely new show,” he said. “I think we overestimated the kind of return value of it.”

The ABC chief said he was impressed that producer Scott Stone and his partners launched a Web site to rally fans. “Those are the kind of people you want to be in business with,” he said.

—Josef Adalian

Heigl Has McPherson's Backing

July 16, 2008 3:39 PM

Steve McPherson weighed in on Heigl-gate Wednesday, and he made this much clear: Katherine Heigl is sticking with “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“She's absolutely staying with the show,” ABC’s entertainment boss said. “There's an unbelievable storyline for her this year, which is really central to everything that's going to go on this season.”

Mr. McPherson, showing off his talent relations chops, called Ms. Heigl a “fantastically talented actress.” But he also offered a subtle defense of the producers of “Grey’s,” who came under attack from Ms. Heigl when she blamed them for not giving her character a better storyline last season.

Ms. Heigl cited the allegedly weak storyline when announcing her decision not to submit her name for Emmy consideration.

“I think it's unfortunate when there's any kind of turmoil on a show,” Mr. McPherson said. “There's so many people who work so unbelievably hard to make that show the No. 1 show in the country. … Everyone from the grips to the writers to the EPs, I think, deserves an enormous amount of credit. And I never like to see when any of them are in any way taken lightly.”

—Josef Adalian


'Practice' Not Yet Perfect

July 16, 2008 3:27 PM

“Private Practice” was a ratings hit during its first season. Critics, however, weren’t so enamored of the “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff.

Looks like ABC executives had some issues, too.

“I think when it just became kind of a soap opera about those people's lives, there was a lot of talking, a lot of time in the coffee room taking about the angst. That's not that show,” ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson told reporters. “It's not what [creator] Shonda [Rhimes] does well.”

So what’s Dr. McPherson’s prescription to get “Practice” to be more perfect?

Look for Kate Walsh’s lead character to get back to doing more surgery.

“I think (that) will be a big proponent for getting some more energy back, getting some medical drama,” Mr. McPherson said. "There's going to be more interaction with the hospital, because I think she does an unbelievable job of character, but it works best when it's laid over kind of a palette of these really great medical stories.

"We're hoping that that first episode kind of sets us up to really have engines that we didn't really have last year, because we spent a lot of time just kind of talking about the characters.”

—Josef Adalian

Live-Blogging ABC's 'Scrubs' Presentation

July 16, 2008 3:00 PM

Scrubs

SCRUBBING IN AT ABC (L-R) Neil Flynn, John C. McGinley, Donald Faison, Zach Braff, creator Bill Lawrence and Sarah Chalke discuss the future of "Scrubs."

3:00 p.m.: The "Scrubs" gang is about to take the stage. Let's all remember that the show is making the big jump to ABC this fall. On the panel: Neil Flynn, John C. McGinley, Donald Faison, Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke and executive producer Bill Lawrence.

3:02 p.m.: Clip reel started. It's the same one shown at the upfronts. Nothing new.

3:04 p.m.: Mr. Lawrence says the show just finished wrapping an episode in the Bahamas. The Todd (played by Robert Maschio) is rumored to still be there, frolicking in his banana hammocks.

3:05 p.m.: Mr. Braff is wearing some sick shades. He's been referred to as "Smart Zach."

3:07 p.m.: Ms. Chalke has been doing a guest stint on CBS' "How I Met Your Mother." She doesn't know what the future holds over there.

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On Setting 'Mars' in New York

July 16, 2008 2:48 PM

Life on Mars

'MARS' EXPEDITION TO NEW YORK (L-R) Josh Appelbaum, Jason O'Mara, Michael Imperioli and Andre Nemec talk about the show's New York setting.

ABC’s “Life on Mars,” originally a BBC 16-episode drama, has a storied past even before an episode airs.

“Mars” follows Sam Tyler, a police officer who finds himself in 1973.

Originally written and executive produced by David E. Kelley, who set the show in Los Angeles, “Mars” changed hands over to "October Road's" Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec after the first pilot was shot.

The show now has a new cast, save for Jason O’Mara who plays the lead, time-traveling detective Sam Tyler.

“Call it Irish luck,” he said.

The show is also set in New York. Why?

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Hoping to Avoid Embarrassing Missteps

July 16, 2008 12:44 PM

From the ABC press tour schedule for tonight’s dinner with “Dancing With the Stars” pros: “Please join us for a buffet dinner, then leap into Kristi Yamaguchi and Drew Lachey’s shoes as professional dancers from ‘Dancing With the Stars’ teach you some basic ballroom moves. … Plenty of alcohol will be available to help you loosen up both your hips and your inhibitions.”

This is the sole reason why we can’t shoot pictures in the ballroom, I’m SURE of it.

—Andrew Krukowski

Shameless Promotion for 'Eli Stone'

July 16, 2008 11:18 AM

Musical numbers. Big computer-generated scenes. Guest stars. ABC's “Eli Stone” uses every tool in the box to bring in viewers.

Co-creator Greg Berlanti knows this and embraces it.

Speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour Wednesday, Mr. Berlanti talked about changes to expect in the second season of his show, and said "Eli Stone" recognizes how important its time slot behind “Dancing With the Stars” is.

The first episode back, he said, will contain a huge scene comparable to the Golden Gate Bridge collapsing during last season.

A Katie Holmes appearance in the second episode and hopefully a reappearance of George Michael for a Christmas episode are also planned.

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Live-Blogging the ABC Executive Session

July 16, 2008 8:55 AM



Stephan McPherson

SUCCESS Stephen McPherson, President ABC Entertainment, addresses the press about success of “Wipeout.”


We're set up with our eggs and OJ, waiting for words from Stephen McPherson, president of ABC Entertainment.

9:12 a.m.: Mr. McPherson takes the stage.

9:13 a.m.: ABC is thrilled by the success of “Wipeout.”

9:14 a.m.: Spoiler for Comic-Con: “Lost” is breaking zero news, just showing a video that will be available on the ABC press site immediately afterwards.

9:15 a.m.: Jimmy Kimmel is here asking if ABC is courting Jay Leno. Guffaws abound. Kimmel asks if Mr. McPherson is concerned about his car if Mr. Leno replaces Mr. Kimmel. Seriously though, “For NBC, I can’t believe that they're going to let this guy go at the top of his game,” Mr. McPherson says.

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Danson Can't Curb His Enthusiasm

July 15, 2008 3:28 PM

Talking about the upcoming season of “Damages” during the FX portion of the Television Critics Association Press Tour, Ted Danson discussed living in Larry David’s world on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Mr. Danson was asked if Mr. David just calls him and assumes he’ll be there, or if there was some other arraignment.

“It’s as whimsical as this: The phone rings and for some sad reason, I’m available,” he said.

Fox Parties on the Pier

July 15, 2008 2:04 PM

Fox All Star Party at The Pier

AT THE BEACH (L-R) Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly, Eliza Dushku ("Dollhouse") and Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Liguori at the Fox All Star Party at The Pier for the Fox 2008 Summer Press Tour.

After months of strike drama and bad news about low ratings, it almost felt like the good old days again Monday night at Fox's TV Critics Association press tour party.

The network returned to the Santa Monica Pier for its bash, which has a good shot at claiming the title of Party of the Tour. However, we'll reserve final judgment until the other networks hold their parties later this week.

Fox Entertainment chiefs Peter Liguori and Kevin Reilly welcomed a slew of the network's new stars and producers. Showrunners such as J.J. Abrams ("Fringe"), Joss Whedon ("Dollhouse"), Seth MacFarlane ("Family Guy") and Matt Groening ("The Simpsons") were popular targets for reporters looking for good soundbites.

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