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James Hibberd

The Lion Sleeps for TCA

July 20, 2007 1:29 PM

The “Life Is Wild” session. An entire TCA cast interviewed via satellite. For a show whose pilot critics don’t like. Introduced with a preview clip featuring actors who have been recast. Yikes.

The cast is cozily gathered beside a fireplace on their game-lodge set. New hire D.W. Moffett (“Hidden Palms”), who plays a veterinarian father moving his family to South Africa, strokes a sizable lump of fur in his lap. The fur is a lion cub so inert it looks dead.

“What is that on your lap?” asks a critic.

Moffett shifts the lion so it wearily gazes into the camera. The cat has a tranked-out-for-TCA expression.

“This is Alleycat, who is just going to sleep,” Moffett says.

The lion’s head lolls. The set is decorated with animal skins on the floor and animal heads on the wall. Perhaps the cub was worried he would be the evil veterinarian’s next victim.

Suddenly a cheetah wanders into the frame to join the family/cast. The cheetah is unescorted. The lion cub is unfazed by the other animal and zonks back into happy-cat-nap oblivion.

"The cheetah is particularly friendly ... a lot more sort of relaxed than this guy can be sometimes,” Moffett says, stroking the breathing fur.

For the record, The CW publicists say they “can’t imagine” the lion was drugged for his TCA appearance. But even if he was, it’s almost certain the cub wasn’t the only TCA panelist this week to be sedated by handlers before being shoved in front of the critics.


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