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James Hibberd



Mob Men Missing

January 9, 2007 7:42 PM

The biggest new show on A&E’s slate, the biggest show in their history, doesn’t have a TCA panel.

“The Sopranos' begins its basic cable run on the network tomorrow night amid a marketing campaign that dwarfs anything the network has done before. The network outbid the likes of TNT to land the series and are wondering if viewers are going to embrace the cleaned-up version the way TBS viewers flocked to “Sex and the City.'

So a panel might seem ideal … but only to somebody who’s never actually sat through a “Sopranos' TCA panel. Typically, they feature the cast, slumped and bored and too cool for the room, mumbling responses and exchanging “Can-you-believe-I’m-having-to-answer-this?' looks. Granted, most critics ask unanswerable questions like “Who’s going to get whacked next?' … but still…

An A&E staffer watched the last “Sopranos' visit to Pasadena and summed up the “A&E' decision-making process nicely: “What’s the point? They never fucking say anything.' So A&E nixed the idea for “Sopranos' visit and instead focused on their other new series, “Sons of Hollywood,' which is just like another HBO property (“Entourage'), only unscripted and a heckuva lot less expensive to acquire.

It’s worth noting that few networks at TCA have as much bragging rights as A&E. The network has managed to go from 21st to 10th in the primetime ratings in two years, all the while reducing its median age considerably.

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Comments (2)

James: Any word on A&E (or Hallmark or FX) going HD?

jh:

FX and A&E will both be in the new DirecTV HD package, yes, haven't talked to Hallmark tho.

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