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Law & Order's new faces; Bionic producer defends Washington casting - TCA report

by Michael Maloney, posted Jul 18th 2007 1:01AM
Michelle Ryan is The Bionic Woman NBC's got a lot of new shows this fall. The panels have been non-stop and swag-free today -- and not without a bit of controversy.

First up was Law & Order creator Dick Wolf and new Law & Order cast members Alicia Witt (CI), Adam Beach (SVU), and Jeremy Sisto (Law & Order).

Sisto's character on L&O comes with emotional baggage that makes the angst he carried around as Rachel Griffith's brother on Six Feet Under seem like a birthday party, which is interesting since Wolf is no fan of serial drama.

Wolf says he prefers to dole out character development in "coffee spoons" not "soup ladles."

Wolf was asked if Chris Noth's role on L&O: Criminal Intent would be affected by any participation he may or may not have with the announced Sex and the City movie. "No," Wolf stated simply, sending out the message he's not going to let his panel get derailed by Carrie Bradshaw and her Manolo Blahniks.

Next, the tour is temporarily hi-jacked by the Sci-Fi Channel for a presentation of Tin Man, a modern day telling of The Wizard of Oz, starring Zooey Deschanel (as "DG" -- think Dorothy Gale), Neil McDonough (The Tin Man), Alan Cumming (Glitch), Raoul Trujillo (Raw), and Kathleen Robertson (Azkadellia). Based on the clips shown Glitch looks like the Scarecrow, Trujillo's the Cowardly Lion, Robertson's the Wicked Witch of the West and McDonough -- I'm going out on a limb here -- is the Tin Man.

Cumming conferenced in electronically from Great Britain. Ever wonder if those backdrops of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace shown on news programs when people are being interviewed are real? They're not. Cummings got a huge laugh when his picturesque shot of jolly old England turned into TV color bars.

Next up, was a panel on the Bionic Woman, which takes a new look at a classic series. Appealing series lead Michelle Ryan (Jaime Sommers) has a tough act to follow in that everyone loved Emmy-winner Lindsay Wagner as the bionic gal. The British thespian says she's working with a dialect coach to help her with her accent.

Gee, who is she going to see for tennis lessons?

Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) is a no-show due to scheduling conflicts; a reporter asks if there's a problem with her not being on contract? "She's on the show. She's not here because she has a scheduling conflict," says executive producer Jason Smilovic. But, the reporter persists, does she have a contract? "She's not here because she has a scheduling conflict," Smilovic repeats.

Sounds like that's his story, and he's sticking to it!

The exec was grilled later when a journalist wanted to know if he fears there may be a gay boycott of the show given that NBC has announced Isaiah Washington will be joining the cast. (Washington was let go from Grey's Anatomy at the end of last season, after making a homophobic remark on the set.) Smilovic maintains that he believes in second chances and that Washington was hired because he's the best actor for the role.

And that's his story, and he's sticking to it!

Next up, lunch and panels on Chuck, The Singing Bee, Journeyman and Friday Night Lights.

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When is the new Law and Order going to come on???

October 11 2007 at 7:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I REALLY dislike IW, but calling him an ape swinging in trees is disgusting. People posting that crap are just as bad as he was.

The thing about IW is that he's just not very bright. He said the word on set which upset everybody, then he said it AGAIN a the golden globes while lying about it, then he went on LK and made a complete ass of himself by not accepting any responsibility, not apologizing, and blaming everyone else for what he did.

It's just a matter of time before he screws up again.

July 18 2007 at 11:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You guys are really hatefull why can't you let it rest.
He has moves on and so should you.
And calling him a UGLY APE only shows Your true colors.

July 18 2007 at 6:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow, I find some of the language some of the posters have used here to be just as offensive as what Washington said. I was going to write that I wish if he's going to continue to get jobs in Hollywood that he'd just get his own show, which I could easily skip, rather than having him attached to a show I already planned on watching. I can't easily separate the ugly words from the actor or his performance, and I don't know if I'll want to watch "Bionic Woman" knowing that he'll be on it.

July 18 2007 at 1:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So isn't it a bit hypocritical that you want to ruin this guys chances of ever making money or having a career in his chosen field again and you are expressing this opinion by calling him an ape and telling him to go back to Africa?
I don't personally know if he's ever been to Africa but you have to have been somewhere to go back there.
Obviously you know he how feels when you are upset and you say racist or cruel things you shouldn't be saying...

July 18 2007 at 1:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah you know, it's not like he was putting up a burning cross in front of somebody's house wearing a white hood or something...

Oh... wait...

July 18 2007 at 11:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

uh... who gives a shit? hes just an actor. he didn't kill anyone and unless hes going to jail, he should be allowed to do his job. everybody has to take the stick out of their collective ass. Like ProgGrrl said, get off your high horse.

July 18 2007 at 10:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was one of many who emailed ABC to release Washington from "Gray's" because of his original comments. Washington went even further by backtracking, lying, accepting, then ultimately making the whole thing T.R. Knight's fault - and he wasn't even involved in the original incident that started the whole thing - and now he gets a new high-profile gig that the network has to know is going to outrage people?!?! I was looking forward to "The Bionic Woman," but I guess I'm going to have to pass on it now. Thanks NBC Universal for screwing this up for a lot of viewers! Washington needs to get a new career out of the public eye, because he's always going to have this albatross around his neck.

July 18 2007 at 8:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm no fan of hate speech, but I'm feeling a tad sorry for Washington now. The guy is a seriously great actor and we SHOULD get off our high horses and let the guy act. I mean really now - I bet there are little slip-ups and ugly insults traded behind-the-scenes by so many actors, directors, writers, etc. Washington has had the very bad luck of having his made public. Enough already.

July 18 2007 at 7:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

woah, Alicia Witt is on L&O CI? I may have to actually tune in regularly to a Law and Order for the first time in my life.

July 18 2007 at 1:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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