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October 1, 2014

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Thoughts on Where TV Dramas (and FX) Are Heading and an Update for 'Terriers' Fans

by Maureen Ryan, posted Aug 8th 2011 3:30PM
Sunday marked the end of my 18-day stint in California, and after almost three weeks spent covering Comic-Con and the Television Critics Association press tour, I'm barely able to form complete sentences, let alone formulate a theory about the Future of Television.

Yet it seems to me that the television, especially in the cable realm, is at something of a crossroads. Formulaic fare such as 'Rizzoli and Isles' and splashy genre shows like 'True Blood' and 'The Walking Dead' have been big hits, and, after the cancellation of shows like 'Terriers' and 'Men of a Certain Age' and the end of 'Friday Night Lights,' it's hard not to wonder whether the golden age of character-driven drama is losing some of its luster. (Speaking of 'Terriers,' I'll get to a bit of news about the creator of that show in a bit.)

I defer to no one in my geek devotion (I managed to turn an interview with 'Terra Nova' executive producer Rene Echavarria into a discussion of a show he worked on ages ago, 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine'). But at times lately, I have feared that during the next few years, we are in for an interminable deluge of predictable doctor-lawyer-cop fare and shows featuring wall-to-wall vampires, zombies, aliens and spectral apparations.

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TCA Report: 'Once Upon a Time' Panel Talk Magic, Disney and Playing Two Roles

by Laura Prudom, posted Aug 7th 2011 7:15PM
While NBC's 'Grimm' focuses on the creepy side of fairytales, ABC's 'Once Upon a Time' is much more concerned with the whimsy of the fantastical stories we grew up with, and seems far more enchanting as a result.

Created by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis of 'Lost' (the pair called Damon Lindelof "the Godfather of 'Once Upon a Time'" on the panel -- promising!), the show blends characters from Disney, Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen and more with the real world, offering a new take on familiar tales in a way ABC hopes will connect with audiences of all ages.

Once Upon a Time

Check out our highlights from the panel after the jump.

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TCA Report: 'Charlie's Angels' Cast Talk Reboot, Family Dynamics & Guest Angels

by Laura Prudom, posted Aug 7th 2011 6:30PM
Charlie's AngelsForget about being touched by an angel, this fall on ABC, you're more likely to be kicked by one, if the reboot of 'Charlie's Angels' is any indication.

Headed up by 'Smallville' creators Al Gough and Miles Millar and executive produced by Drew Barrymore, the glossy action show is hoping to emulate the success of the reimagined 'Hawaii Five-0' more than the crash and burn of 'Bionic Woman' and 'Knight Rider.'

Hit the jump for a few brief highlights about the new series, starring Minka Kelly, Rachel Taylor and Annie Ilonzeh.

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TCA Report: 'Pan Am' Panel Talks Espionage, Sexism and the Joy of Flying

by Laura Prudom, posted Aug 7th 2011 4:15PM
Nostalgia is a potent cocktail, and two new shows are hoping to capitalize on audiences' fondness for the swingin' sixties this fall: NBC's 'The Playboy Club' and ABC's 'Pan Am'. Of the two, 'Pan Am' has a little more meat on its bones -- while 'Playboy' is frivolous and soapy, 'Pan Am' is concerned with character backstory, probably due to the involvement of Jack Orman (executive producer of 'ER') and Thomas Schlamme (director of 'The West Wing').

Pan Am TCA panel
Though on the surface, the jetsetting series seems to have a lot in common with AMC's 'Mad Men,' the producers insist that the similarities stop at the time period. "TV is just execution," Schlamme pointed out. "It has nothing to do with 'Mad Men,' we just hope our show is executed in a good way. They are both set in the sixties because it's a great time period -- I hope there will be shows set in the seventies, in the 1880s, wherever we can tell good stories."

Check out more highlights from the Television Critics Association panel after the jump.

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TCA Report: Fox President Talks 'Glee' Controversy and Spinoff

by Maureen Ryan, posted Aug 5th 2011 5:00PM
GleeThe 'Glee' spinoff is not quite dead, but don't look for a decision on it any time soon.

That was the main news that came from the Fox executive session at the Television Critics Association press tour, which consisted of entertainment president Kevin Reilly fielding questions from the media for about 45 minutes.

Though Reilly said he didn't want to give the recent 'Glee' controversy any more exposure by talking about it, he was asked about it repeatedly. There were certainly many questions about how 'Glee' executive producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk handled the crisis. (A brief refresher: Murphy said in an interview that three actors were leaving the show, some of the actors said they found out about that via Twitter, then Falchuk and Murphy said no one was leaving the show but essentially blamed the media for everything that went wrong). But Reilly refused to critique the producers' handling of the story in recent weeks.

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TCA Report: 'The Secret Circle' Explores Magic, Family and Love Triangles

by Laura Prudom, posted Aug 5th 2011 9:00AM
'The Secret Circle'Executive producer Kevin Williamson and the CW might be two for two with the launch of 'The Secret Circle,' a bewitching new drama that will air Thursdays alongside 'The Vampire Diaries' this fall.

Though both series are based on novels by LJ Smith, the world of the 'Secret Circle' witches will not intersect with the established magic in 'The Vampire Diaries' -- Williamson was fast to dispel any notion of a crossover between his supernatural dramas. "We need to start at ground zero and create our own story and create our own mythology and build from there, so that we can tell just as great a story as 'The Vampire Diaries'," he pointed out.

The series focuses on Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson), a seemingly normal teenager whose world is turned upside down by the mysterious death of her mother and her subsequent relocation to Chance Harbor, Washington -- a town where everyone seems to know her name, whether she likes it or not. Magic, murder and secrets spanning generations soon come to light.

Check out highlights from the panel after the jump.

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TCA Report: CW's 'Ringer' and 'Hart of Dixie' Bring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Rachel Bilson Back to Primetime

by Laura Prudom, posted Aug 4th 2011 4:30PM
Rachel Bilson, Sarah Michelle GellarThere's no disputing that 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' changed the face of television (as a reporter pointed out at the Television Critics Association Press Tour Thursday morning, it's the most written-about TV series of all time in academic circles), so the CW knows that it's on to a winner with 'Ringer,' Sarah Michelle Gellar's triumphant return to TV.

But bringing back Sarah Michelle Gellar and 'The O.C.'s' Rachel Bilson ('Hart of Dixie') in the same season might be the one-two punch that The CW needs to land a knockout to primetime and shake off the assumption that it's a network for teenagers who subsist on the frothy fare like '90210' and 'Gossip Girl.' CW president Mark Pedowitz certainly expressed hope that 'Ringer' might attract a wider crowd and a larger demo than their 18-34 niche, while the good-natured 'Hart of Dixie' should appeal to fans of old-school WB programming like 'Gilmore Girls' and 'Everwood'.

Check out our highlights from the two panels after the jump.

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Details on Ashton Kutcher's Character and What's Next for 'Two and a Half Men' & 'CSI'

by Maureen Ryan, posted Aug 3rd 2011 1:25PM
Two and a Half MenCBS president Nina Tassler addressed the two big casting changes that have kept 'Two and a Half Men' and 'CSI' in the headlines at a media event on Wednesday.

She revealed the name of Ashton Kutcher's 'Two and a Half Men' character: He's playing an Internet billionaire named Walden Schmidt, and when he arrives on the show, he'll have a "broken heart," Tassler said.

Will the new season of 'Two and a Half Men' begin with a funeral for Charlie Sheen's character, Charlie Harper?

Tassler wouldn't confirm or deny that but said that the season premiere, which will be split into two consecutive episodes, will be "a big event."

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'Millionaire Matchmaker' Patti Stanger Signs 2-Year Development Deal With Bravo

by Chris Harnick, posted Aug 2nd 2011 3:00PM
Patti StangerBravo is looking to add a bit more Pattie Stanger to our lives. The network announced a new deal with the star and executive producer of 'The Millionaire Matchmaker' that will see her find talent, develop new programs and potentially star in a new series.

"My relationship with Bravo is a match made in heaven," Stanger said in a statement. "The network's reputation for delivering high-quality, buzz-worthy programming made it an easy decision to extend our business together and include this creative deal. As I say to my clients, 'no sex before monogamy.' Now that Bravo and I are monogamous, I'm ready to hit the sheets."

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Bravo Renews 'Real Housewives of Orange County,' Announces New Projects

by Chris Harnick, posted Aug 2nd 2011 12:30PM
Real Housewives of Orange CountyBravo's adding more food and more New Jersey to its already robust programming slate. The network has also renewed 'Real Housewives of Orange County,' 'Top Chef Masters,' and 'Million Dollar Listing.'

"Bravo's continued success is driven by our commitment to create original series that share an unfiltered and unique look inside our 'Passion Groups' of Food, Fashion, Beauty, Design and Pop Culture, all while uncovering memorable characters in the process," Shari Levine, senior vice president of production at Bravo Media, said in a statement. "We are confident these new series will reinforce Bravo's pop culture brand and resonate with our engaged and upscale audience."

The network's new offerings include new food competition show 'Around the World in 80 Plates,' a 'Sex and the City'-esque reality series 'Paint the Town,' relationship reality show 'Newlyweds: The First Year' and a reality series about a tight-knit family from New Jersey, 'Thicker Than Water: The Marinos.'

Find out more about the new shows below.

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NBC Tweaks 'Up All Night' & 'The Playboy Club'

by Chris Harnick, posted Aug 1st 2011 5:00PM
Up All NightWho loves more Maya Rudolph? NBC is betting the answer to that question is, "Everybody loves more Maya Rudolph!"

The Peacock is tweaking 'Up All Night' (series premiere Sept. 14 at 10PM; timeslot premiere Wed., Sept. 21 at 8PM) to allow for more of the 'Saturday Night Live' veteran.

In the original pilot, Rudolph's character, Ava, and Christina Applegate's character, Reagan, played public relations executives. However, according to TVLine, Rudolph's character will be a "larger-than-life talk show host" and Applegate's character will now be her producer.

"We decided to change the workplace altogether to give Maya a better platform to do her thing," NBC's Robert Greenblatt told reporters at Monday's TCA panel.

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TCA Report: NBC Exec Talks 'Smash' Debut, 'The Voice' Return & 'Playboy' Controversy

by Maureen Ryan, posted Aug 1st 2011 3:00PM
Smash, NBCTalking to critics at the Television Critics Association press tour Monday, new NBC entertainment president Robert Greenblatt took the right tack: He modestly called attention to the network's few bright spots, he didn't assert that the network would roar back this fall, and most importantly, he had Joel McHale from 'Community' relentlessly mock the Peacock Network well before Greenblatt even took the stage.

It was a wise move, and a way of acknowledging NBC's many problems without turning the Greenblatt session into an inquisition about the last decade of shoddy, brain-melting mismanagement at NBC. Well played, sir.

Some news came out of the session: Greenblatt said the second season of 'The Voice' will premiere Feb. 5, after the Super Bowl. The next episode of the singing contest will air Feb. 6, which is the same night that NBC's well-received mid-season pilot 'Smash' will premiere.

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Thoughts on the 'Game of Thrones' Sneak Peek Unveiled by HBO

by Maureen Ryan, posted Jan 7th 2011 11:45AM
'Game of Thrones' won't premiere until April, but media types got a tantalizing 15-minute taste of the upcoming HBO drama on Thursday night.

HBO's presentations at the biannual convention known as the Television Critics Association press tour are scheduled for Friday afternoon, but to whet the appetites of the assembled media hordes, the networks screened the sneak peek Thursday night.

If the point of the long trailer was to get people more interested in the fantasy saga, it definitely did the trick. Of course, it's not possible to assess the show in a substantial way until it premieres in April, but the highlight reel offered some compelling moments.

For one thing, the first glimpse of the Wall was amazing.

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What Are Emmys Host Jimmy Fallon's Favorite Drinking Games?

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 25th 2010 5:02PM
Jimmy Fallon plays beer pong with Gabourey Sidibe on 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon'
Before Jimmy Fallon takes to the stage to host the Emmys this Sunday night, I wanted to pass along this fun conversation I had with him at the NBC TCA party last month. I didn't ask him about hosting the awards or his first year as the host of 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.' Maggie Furlong talked to him about all that, and you'll see her interview with him later this week.

No, I touched on a topic that's near and dear to the hearts of anyone who used to have fun in college: drinking games.

We got on the subject because Fallon has guests play beer pong on 'Late Night;' of course, it's the paddle-free latter-day version of beer pong that used to be called Beirut. When I asked when the change happened, he thought for a second. "I think in the late nineties? People in colleges just started calling it beer pong because it made more sense than Beirut. What is it? Beer pong. If you say 'Beirut,' people say, 'I don't know how to play that.'"

This sent Jimmy off on a conversation about various drinking games, starting with one that I had never heard of but it sounds like fun: Sink the Biz.

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Paul Lieberstein of 'The Office' Talks About Replacing Steve Carell

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 24th 2010 2:01PM
Paul Lieberstein and Steve Carell in 'The Office' - 'Sabre'
Paul Lieberstein is familiar to most fans of 'The Office' through his acting work as Dunder Mifflin Scranton's put-upon HR rep Toby Flenderson. But Lieberstein has also been on the show's writing staff since day one and ascended to the role of showrunner a couple of years ago. So if there's anyone who has an idea of how the show is going to replace Steve Carell and his iconic character of Michael Scott, it's Lieberstein.

When I caught up to him at the NBC TCA party last month, though, Lieberstein couldn't say how that was going to happen, mainly because the writers were still sorting things out themselves. But if he had a choice of who could manage the Scranton office, at least among the people who are already there, he'd pick either Andy Bernard (played by Ed Helms) or Darryl Philbin (played by Craig Robinson).

Lieberstein and I talked about last year's bumpy creative ride, how Dwight could fit in as the new boss and how Michael will torture his archenemy Toby this year. Oh, and he also gave me a possible casting tidbit when I mentioned Amy Adams instead of Amy Ryan.

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