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James Hibberd

Angels in the Auditorium

July 10, 2006 7:34 PM

Disney ABC Television Group drew the presentation short straw, presenting ABC Family Channel and The Disney Channel as the first panels during TCA’s opening half day. Most critics are still en route to the Ritz Carlton or encamped in their rooms, only about 70 grace the ballroom.  

Among the ones who are here, a few wonder how a network lands the dreaded opening slot.The way it works is part money, part popularity, part luck. CTAM, which recently took over management of TCA from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, rotates the network schedule each Tour. But the opening slots in the smaller ballrooms are also less expensive, sources said. Also, critics complain if heavy hitting networks such as HBO are presented during fringe periods. Thus, ABC Family and Disney Channel are joined by Starz and TV Guide Channel as the first networks to storm the TCA beachhead. For the panels, ABC Family presented “Fallen” and “Kyle XY.” One common form of celebrity Q&A was on display: Questions that ask — and ask hopefully — if an actor is just like their character. So panelists for “Fallen” (about fallen angels living among us) are asked if they have “ever had an experience where you truly felt you had an angel looking out for you.” Actors Paul Wesley and Rick Worthy gave straight-faced accounts of surviving car accidents and armed robbery, respectively, and said they survived only through divine intervention. Sort of. “I would have died — 110  percent — if I had not buckled up,” Wesley said. 



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