Hold the onion rings: James Gandolfini speaks - TCA Report
Will Nip/Tuck have a season six? Why is James Gandolfini going back to HBO and will Larry David end Curb Your Enthusiasm?
These tidbits -- and a tons of swag -- came out at today's TCA press sessions at the Beverly Hilton hotel. I had to remind myself that today was a cable day because the roster of talent read like a major network.
Jason Priestly (Beverly Hills 90210) led the cast of Side Order of Life, a Lifetime series in which star Marisa Coughlan has second thoughts about marrying Priestly. But, hey, if Big dumped Natasha on Sex in the City then I suppose anything's possible.
A seasoned pro like Priestly, who's attended his share of press sessions over the years, broke the ice when reporters grunted and snarled at a reporter who tried asking a question without the benefit of a microphone. "And the crowd turns," Priestly quipped while the reporter was handed a mike.
F/X took to the stage next. Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy dished more details about the plastic surgery series moving to Los Angeles for its next season.
Are there any dicey moral issues McNamara/Troy can slice into in LA? "Oh, yeah," says Murphy, who shared that not only will Rosie O'Donnell be reprising her role as lottery winner/kidney donor Dawn Budge, but that other celebs such as Oliver Platt, Jennifer Coolidge and Portia de Rossi will be guesting. "Rosie's back in episode four," previews Ryan. "It's always flattering when people I admire call in and ask if I'd consider them [for a role] on the show."
Murphy was mum over details about de Rossie's role, however.
Joely Richardson (Julia) cleared the air about her "abrupt" departure from the show last season. She'd actually given producers a head's up months in advance that she'd be tending to some personal matters and needed a few shows off. The actress is thrilled about the move to LA and working in some new sets.
"There was nothing more that Dylan [Walsh, Sean] and I could do in that kitchen [set]," she quips.
How about a season six for Nip/Tuck? "I'd love to do it," Murphy responds. "I love the cast and crew. I hope so."
F/X must have really liked Glenn Close's run on The Shield a while back. She's back on the network as high-powered litigator Patty Hewes on Damages, a one-hour drama that reunites her with Something About Amelia co-star Ted Danson, who plays an allegedly corrupt and filthy rich CEO. "When I heard Glenn was involved, my ears went up," Danson says.
The former Cheers funnyman was guilty as sin in Amelia, but at least one reporter expressed an opinion that he wasn't sure Danson's character on Damages is a bad guy.
"Thank you!" Danson shouted out.
Next up was the National Geographic Channel's presentation of Inside the Living Body, Incredible Human Machine, Taboo and Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan.
I'm tempted to skip it but they're holding it during lunch ... plus there could be some swag.
Lunch is delicious (though one reporter spoke for many, I'm sure, when she pointed out that maybe specials on the inner workings of the human body could have been scheduled not during meal time). And swag is half-way decent: a t-shirt, a Frisbee, DVD screeners and a copy of "Be The Pack Leader," a book by Millan. I don't have any pets, but maybe I can still learn to be a pack leader.
After lunch, we adjourn to the Wilshire Room for the
TV Land Awards Hallmark Channel's presentation of upcoming movies. The actors brought on stage are from beloved series and movies. First up is Valerie Bertinelli (One Day at a Time), who's starring in Claire, a psychic, suburban soccer Mom. Bertinelli cheerfully answers questions about the movie, Jenny Craig (she's down 27 pounds and has 15 to go) and nosy questions about her love life.
Dick Van Dyke, son Barry Van Dyke and Barry's son Shane Van Dyke talked about Murder 101: If Wishes Were Horses. "I wasn't a murder mystery fan at all," says Dick. "I got to be the bad guy on a Columbo and on a Matlock." Fans probably prefer Dick as lovable Rob Petrie. "A woman came up to me in a supermarket [after Matlock] and hit me with her purse," Dick recalls. "Why do you have to be the bad guy?"
Backstage, Ernest Borgnine is getting impatient. He yells out, "Are they ready for me?"
We are, Ernie, but first up is Dean Cain and Sunny Mabrey promoting Final Approach. Cain plays an ex-FBI agent who needs to play hero when disaster strikes a flight she's on. Cain relates one time he got a bad vibe about getting on a plane. He took the flight anyway and landed safely without incident. "Apparently my ESP doesn't mean anything," he says.
Ah, heck. He's still Superman to me. Later, Cain revealed his in talks with Smallville producers to play a role on the show. Note to self: ask executives on CW day next week.
"I'm the oldest man in the house," Borgnine exclaimed when he came on stage to promote A Grandpa for Christmas. Borngine's Dakota Fanning-ish co-star Juliette Goglia was asked what she thought of the Oscar winner.
"He's the oldest man I've ever met and also the most energetic," responds Goglia, who's waiting to hear if she's going to be reprising her recurring role on Ugly Betty next season.
Awkward question of the day was asked of Borgnine: How does it feel to look better than your Airwolf co-star Jan Michael Vincent? "I've got nothing but admiration for that guy," Borgnine responded. "He's had his share of troubles."
Swag kicked into high-gear at the HBO press conferences back in the International Ballroom: DVD sets of Curb Your Enthusiasm The Complete Fifth Season and Extras The Complete Second Season.
Journalists can't wait till 4:30 for James Gandolfini, executive producer and interviewer of Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq, to take the stage so they ask HBO executives Richard Plepler (HBO Co-president) and Michael Lombardo (President, Programming Group and West Coast Operations) what they thought of the controversial ending of The Sopranos. "I think what [creator] David [Chase] was saying is you reap what you sow," offers Plepler. "This is a guy who will live a life of eternal vigilance. Has it all been worth it?"
HBO presented As You Like It (Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of another Shakespeare classic) and Tell Me You Love Me, a series that's getting buzz for its racy sex scenes. "Can I have a set visit?" quipped a reporter.
I'm proud to say that nobody went off topic and asked Gandolfini what the thought of the onion rings ending. The actor was there to promote his special on interviewing ten U.S. soldiers that served and have been injured in the Iraq war. Gandolfini didn't even want to discuss his own feelings on it, saying he wanted to focus on the soldiers.
Of his novice interviewing skills, the actor joked, "I'm no Barbara Walters."
Next up were presentations for Curb Your Enthusiasm and the promising Flight of the Conchords, which focuses on the adventures of two transplanted New Zealanders now living on New York City's lower east side.
Curb's Larry David had everyone feeling as if they were in an episode of his hit series. Asked if he was rich enough to buy HBO, the writer/actor quipped, "My worth has just been cut in half," a reference to his real-life split for his wife.
Will there be another season of Curb? "The [next season's finale] could be the last show," David says. "It was written as if it could be the [series end]. Let's see when I get back to my desk in October if I want to do this again."
Co-star Jeff Garlin has an idea for Crub's finale. "Our show ends in a diner," he says. "Cheryl [Hines] has trouble parking. I'm sitting with Larry and I order a bowl of onion rings."
Next up is the HBO party at the W Hotel. I'm out.