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October 26, 2014

TCA Press Tour

Review: How I Met Your Mother - Jenkins

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 19th 2010 1:02AM
How I Met Your Mother: Jenkins
(S05E13)
This was one of those episodes that seemed like it would be more fun than it actually was. The stories seemed to be potentially amusing, and there were some funny moments. But this was definitely on the lower side of the ledger as far as this season's episodes are concerned.

Which one of the stories did I like better? Hm... the Jenkins one, but only by a little bit. It was fun seeing Amanda Peet playing someone who was even more alpha male than Robin, and envisioning Peet doing some of the things Marshall described Jenkins doing wasn't exactly unpleasant. Oh, and it introduced us to Big Fudge, who I hope plays more Skee-Ball as the seasons go on.

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BBC's The Choir turns reporters into singers

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Jan 18th 2010 9:03AM
Gareth Malone stars in BBC America's The Choir.The star of the upcoming BBC America reality series, The Choir pulled a fast one on the assembled reporters gathered for the network's press conference during the TCA proceedings this weekend.

The reality show features choirmaster Gareth Malone (right) as he attempts to forge a top-notch choir in England's cash-strapped schools and underprivileged neighborhoods. The 13-episode series will run this coming spring on BBC America.

So, Malone showed up in Pasadena this weekend to promote the show to the assembled TCA throng. After the standard clips and Q&A were winding down, Malone ducked out of the quick and easy farewell and invited the reporters to come up on stage and form their own flash choir.

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Pee-wee Herman's comeback show is fun and nostalgic - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 18th 2010 8:02AM
Paul Ruebens as Pee-wee Herman introducing his 2010 stage showSaturday night, I decided to get away from the hotel and join a small group of critics on a field trip to Club Nokia in downtown LA to see Paul Ruebens' new stage production of The Pee-wee Herman Show.

It was a heck of a lot of fun, which is saying a lot because I've never been a huge fan of Pee-wee or his classic CBS Saturday-morning show Pee-wee's Playhouse. But most of the people who were there were die-hard fans, many of whom either caught Pee-wee's original stage show in the mid '80s, grew up watching his movies or Playhouse, or likely spent their Saturday mornings in college working on their first weekend high while watching his show.

For fans, it was pure comfort food. The stage was set up exactly like the set of Playhouse, complete with his complement of talking household items: Chairry, Magic Screen, Clocky, Pterri, Fish, etc. Jambi was also there to grant Pee-wee his wishes.

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Could Joss Whedon be in FX's future? - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 17th 2010 5:25PM
FX president John Landgraf at the Winter 2010 TCAsFX is one of the few cable networks that does an executive session here at the press tour, and for good reason: they've having a heck of a good last couple of years, on both the comedy and drama fronts. And they seem to be very high on their new shows in development, including Justified, Louie, and a new show from Shawn Ryan called Terriers.

But network president John Landgraf mentioned that he's having lunch in the next few weeks with someone whose presence on the network could be potentially very interesting.

"I think I'm supposed to have lunch with Joss Whedon in two or three weeks," he told us, adding, "I have enormous respect for him."

Of course, a lunch doesn't mean that a Whedon-produced show is in the works. But the prospect of a Whedon show on FX in the next year or two is intriguing, given the network's envelope-pushing style.

What do you folks think an FX show by Joss Whedon would look like?

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Louis C.K. wonders why Conan wanted The Tonight Show to begin with - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 17th 2010 4:37PM
Louis C.K. at the 2010 Winter TCAsThis morning, FX was in the house here at the Langham Huntington, with panels for Damages, Justified -- a show based on an Elmore Leonard character, starting Tim Olyphant -- and Louie. The last show stars Louis C.K. as himself, as it intersperses scripted vignettes about a newly-single dad stand-up comic in New York with bits of new stand-up material.

I got a chance to speak to Louis after his panel, and we had a great talk, highlighted by the list of words he could and couldn't say on FX; it'll probably be the dirtiest thing we've ever published, but it'll be worth it.

During his panel, however, one of the last questions was about the whole Conan/Leno debate. You'd think Louis would have sided with Conan, who gave him his first shot as a comedy writer. He did, but he had an interesting take on the matter: Why would Conan want the old moldy Tonight Show instead of a show with his name on it?

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Warren the Ape takes the spotlight on his new MTV show - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 16th 2010 3:02PM
The first session of cable's second day yesterday was for MTV's new show Warren the Ape. Fans of Greg the Bunny know Warren; he's a "serious actor" who's got more vices than Artie Lange, and a nasty jealous streak for his bunny co-star, who used to get all the breaks.

In this series, Warren(whose last name is Demontague) is the star, as he tries to get himself on a reality show. That includes going through all sorts of rehab and recovery hoops, including weekly therapy sessions with Dr. Drew Pinsky.

The session put the many of the usually grouchy critics in stitches, especially when Warren criticized the Muppets, who are fellow "fabricated Americans."

"These Muppets on Sesame Street a lot of the monsters, you know, they've been defanged. They've been domesticated. But I tell ya, don't bring your kids to sets because those things will go for the eyes if you're not watching 'em between takes."

I caught up with Warren in the green room after the panel; the video is below. I also talked to his handlers, Dan Milano, Spencer Chinoy, and Sean Baker. The interview with them will appear closer to the show's June premiere.

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Bill Lawrence on the Cougar Town renewal and Scrubs missteps - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 16th 2010 11:06AM
Bill Lawrence at the Winter 2010 TCAsDuring ABC's portion of the press tour (which feels like a month ago already), the network had its Wednesday night comedy showrunners on for a panel. Surpisingly, Bill Lawrence actually let Steven Levitan of Modern Family and Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline of The Middle speak for a good portion of the time, though he had a few things to say himself, not the least of which was that Conan's letter saying no to 12:05 on NBC was a "ballsy" move.

You knew I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to speak to Bill while he was there, especially with Cougar Town getting picked up for a second season and the new Scrubs trying to find its way after a shaky start. The conversation we had is after the jump.

(Oh, and it's always amazing to me that I can talk to Lawrence for maybe 15 minutes, cut out 3500 words, and still have 2500 words left. The man can talk a blue streak.)

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More Karl Pilkington nuggets from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 16th 2010 10:03AM
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant at the Winter 2010 TCAsYesterday, Nick told you about Ricky Gervais' plans for his Golden Globe hosting stint on Sunday, as well as some details about his new HBO show The Ricky Gervais Show. Just as a reminder, the HBO show is an animated version of his wildly popular podcast, staring Gervais, Merchant, and the dunderheaded Karl Pilkington.

Gervais' answers about the show and the Globes during his TCA session on Thursday were largely similar to what he told Nick during the conference call earlier in the month. But I just loved his infectious laugh when he was talking about Karl. He wants to make Karl famous just to tick the shy guy off, and because the show is being taken from the existing podcast recordings, the version of Karl you hear is the unvarnished one.

So, at the end of the reporters' scrum, I asked Gervais what Pilkington-ism makes him laugh the hardest. He and Merchant had some pretty funny responses:

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The TV Squad Podcast: Leno and Conan, Simon Cowell, TCAs and more

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 15th 2010 5:05PM
TV Squad logoI'm in Pasadena for the TCA press tour, and it's been one of the most news-packed tours in years. This week, Jason Hughes and Danny Gallagher join me to talk about what's going on in the TV world:
  • The Late Night Wars, 2010 edition, as we talk about Leno being pulled from 10:00, Conan's "hell no, I won't go to 12:05" letter, and more.
  • We discuss Simon Cowell's departure from American Idol and what that means for the show and his new show, The X Factor.
  • We talk about being at the TCAs, and some of the fun (and not so fun) things I've been doing here, and other news that has come out of the press tour.
  • Our picks of the week, and more.
Run time is 1:04:38

You can listen to the podcast below, or download from here or by subscribing to our RSS podcast feed. It is also available via iTunes. Feel free to leave us feedback in the comments or drop us a line at tvsquadpodcast [at] gmail [dot] com.

As usual, the music at the beginning and end of the podcast is "Life" by Justin Trawick.

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The Wire's David Simon takes on Post-Katrina New Orleans in Treme - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 15th 2010 1:29PM
David Simon, Wendell Pierce, and Eric Overmyer promoting Treme at the Winter 2010 TCAsIf there was anyone working in TV today who could create an accurate, in-depth portrait of post-Katrina New Orleans, it's David Simon. Many people call Simon's previous HBO series, The Wire, one of the greatest dramas of all time, and they do it for a reason: it has rich characterizations, well-examined stories, and it gives viewers a real feel for the underbelly of Baltimore.

So, with Treme, debuting on HBO in April, Simon tries to examine the lives of ten people who are trying to pull things together three months after Hurricane Katrina flooded out New Orleans.

"New Orleans, to me, represents a place where it's a triumph of American urban culture," said Simon. It's what - it's the best that an American city can be and also the worst in a lot of ways, as I said before, but it has created a culture that has gone around the world."

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Al Pacino thinks through a simple question about Jack Kevorkian - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 15th 2010 11:29AM
Al Pacino and Susan Sarandon at the Winter 2010 TCAsYesterday was cable's first day at the press tour, and a morning full of panels by the Discovery networks and a few other assorted cable entities was followed by three hours of star-studded panels for HBO. I mean, we're talking about one huge name in entertainment after another: Claire Danes, David Simon (The Wire), Rosie O'Donnell, Susan Sarandon, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Ricky Gervais. Oh, and Al Pacino.

Pacino is playing Jack Kevorkian in the HBO movie You Don't Know Jack (Sarandon is also in the movie), and during the panel discussion, Pacino was acting a bit... odd.

How odd? He wore sunglasses on stage for the first half of the panel. His answers were often rambling statements punctuated with occasional insight. And the Bronx native spoke in a modified Midwestern lilt that made us think he hadn't gotten Kevorkian out of his system yet. When asked what it was like filming a movie for HBO, he replied, very Zen-like: "Well, it's television. It's HBO, and so HBO is television."

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Lost's final season won't answer all of viewers' questions - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 12th 2010 10:01PM
Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse at the Lost panel at the Winter 2010 TCAsRight before the Conan "piss off, NBC" letter exploded all over the place, ABC had started their day at the TCAs with the critics' full attention. Why? Because the first panel of the day was the last time that the producers and crew of Lost would be in front of the critics answering questions about their confoundingly complicated show.

It almost felt like a collective valedictory speech, as the cast was given a chance to talk about their biggest memories from six years of shooting the show in Hawaii, and EPs Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof waxed poetic over what they think the legacy of the show is going to be.

But the big takeaways? The final season is not going to answer every question surrounding the show. The story arc this year will be told in a way that might not actually confuse anyone who's decided to finally jump on board and watch. And Lindelof's reaction to the possibility that the premiere might be pre-empted by the State of the Union address was priceless.

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Conan says no to 12:05 Tonight Show - BREAKING

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 12th 2010 3:35PM
Tonight ShowWell, it's official: Conan O'Brien has said no to NBC. He doesn't want to do a 12:05 Tonight Show. (Full statement by Conan after the jump).

You can tell that the statement was well-thought out and carefully worded. But you also get the sense that Conan isn't happy at all with what has happened. He grew up watching Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and you can tell that he wanted it not just for the money, but for the tradition, the history, and especially the time slot. He doesn't think that a 12:05 Tonight Show will even really be a Tonight Show. He even uses the word "destruction" when talking about what NBC is doing to their late night lineup and The Tonight Show.

He doesn't have another offer, but it looks like he's gone if they can't come to some agreement. Then the last year will be like Bobby Ewing in the shower. It never happened, and Jay will be back at 11:35.

(Update: NBC told the bevy of reporters in Pasadena that tonight, Conan will host a new episode of The Tonight Show. So for those of you who were rooting for The Tonight Show with Andy Richter, you'll have to keep waiting.)

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The Middle, Cougar Town and Modern Family all get a second season - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 12th 2010 1:16PM
ABC logoSteve McPherson, ABC Entertainment president, just reported that all three of its remaining Wednesday comedies, Cougar Town, Modern Family, and The Middle, have all been picked up for a second season.

McPherson was very happy with the shows' performances and he decided to let everyone know about the renewal right at the top of his conference.

More later...

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Harold Perrineau and Cynthia Watros to appear in Lost's last season - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 12th 2010 1:01PM
Lost: The Final SeasonDuring the fun session for Lost this morning, executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse announced that two favorite cast members will be seen on the show's last season. And since they announced this in front of a room full of 200 reporters, it's safe to talk about it here:

Cynthia Watros, who played Libby, and Harold Perrineau, who played Michael, will both be appearing on the show this season. How and why they will appear, of course, is a secret. Cuse and Lindelof even joked about it, with Cuse going "All your Libby questions will be answered," and Lindelof countering, "No, they won't."

More on the lively panel later.

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