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James Hibberd



The Long Blog

January 9, 2007 7:41 PM

There's an underrated Stephen King book called "The Long Walk" that he wrote under a pseudonym early in his career. It's about a contest in the Near Future where 100 people compete on a reality show of sorts, walking across the country at the steady pace of 3 m.p.h.

The hook: They can't stop. Once a contestant goes too slow, they are killed. The winner is the one man left walking when all others have fallen behind.

Trying to cover the entire Television Critics Association semi-annual press tour, cable and broadcast, 11 straight days at the Ritz Carlton in Pasadena, is really not the journalistic equivalent of "The Long Walk,' but it makes for a nicely melodramatic comparison.

For the next couple weeks, reporters will march through panels, parties, speeches, publicists, lunches, cocktails, interviews, carefully scripted hyperbole, wince-inducing Q&As, video clips, network executives and even Jennifer Lopez to get through the event, all the while gathering quotes and story ideas like squirrels stowing away story nuts for later in the year.
First up is cable.

Thirtysome networks will have panels or hosted presentations at TCA. A few are presenting for the first time. Attendance is up this year, with 173 registered critics, a slight increase from last January and on par with the most recent, more popular, summer session.

Scheduled highlights include Courteney Cox meeting critics of her largely trounced new FX show “Dirt,' David Milch pontificating about his surf noir drama for HBO, UFC president Dana White, and the aforementioned J. Lo discussing her MTV reality series.
By the end of the road, I fully expect this blog to suffer a “Flowers for Algernon' style deterioration into mentally impaired fragments (“Kevin Reilly is prettay … want more srimp cocktale … '). Until then, let’s start laying them down, putting one foot in front of the other…

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