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July 30, 2014

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Spike Lee on the Gulf Oil Spill and Returning to New Orleans

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 20th 2010 10:03AM
Spike Lee filming 'If God is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise' for HBOWhen Spike Lee first planned out his new HBO documentary, 'If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise,' about the state of New Orleans and the Gulf region five years after Hurricane Katrina, he figured he'd end the movie on a high note, with the city celebrating after the Saints won the Super Bowl.

But BP changed those plans.

After the Deepwater Horizon blew up in April, starting the epic Gulf oil spill that only recently got plugged, Lee knew he had more work to do on the follow-up to 'When the Leeves Broke.'

"The film is trying to tell what has happened in the last five years since August 29, 2005. So therefore we have to include the biggest oil disaster in the history of the world," Lee told a roundtable of reporters before his TCA panel earlier this month. "If I sat here and you guys see this film and you would've said 'Spike, what the f---? How come there's no BP in this movie?' Everyone would look at me like I'm crazy. It had to be included. So we included it, we had to start shooting again."

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Five Things Learned on the TCA Press Tour

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 13th 2010 5:29PM
Jerry Bruckheimer at the Summer 2010 TCAsNow that I've been back from California for a few days, and have fought off the jet lag (it gets worse as you get older, kids), I've been able to look back and digest what I learned at the TCA tour.

Besides the fact that I've learned my limits to eating salmon and chicken for lunch every day, there were a few things, at least from a TV perspective, that have stuck in my brain since I've gotten back:

1. The networks are relying on procedural dramas more than ever. Perhaps they got scared off by the flame out of 'FlashForward,' or the downward spiral to cancellation by 'Heroes.' But there only seemed to be a couple of new dramas on the networks' fall slates that had any kind of beefy continuing storyline. NBC's 'The Event' is probably the most serialized of the new shows, followed closely by FOX's 'Lone Star.' CBS's 'Blue Bloods' has a serialized element, but as we're finding out, there's an on-set disagreement as to how much that should be emphasized.

The rest of the dramatic slate leans heavily on the procedural, and as I said the other day, they are starting to blend together in my mind. Want evidence of this? Jerry Bruckheimer (pictured above) now has shows on three of the four networks this fall.

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More HBO News: 'Entourage' Winding Down, 'Game of Thrones' Premiere, 'No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency' Movies

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 9th 2010 12:40PM
'Entourage' cast: Jeremy Piven, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier
I'm back from California, and while I try to shake jet lag, I wanted to pass along some other items from Saturday's HBO press tour executive session, besides the news I mentioned in yesterday's report:

-- Even though the impending end of 'Entourage' was expected, HBO programming co-presidents Richard Plepler and Michael Lombardo mentioned that the final season will likely consist of six episodes, and there may be a feature film in the works. "We're in a long-term relationship with ('Entourage' executive producer) Doug Ellin. I would expect that within the next couple of years you'll see him up here with another show. I think next time will definitely be the final season of 'Entourage,'" said Lombardo.

-- Lombardo at first announced that the premiere date of the highly-anticipated 'Game of Thrones' would be March 3, but then changed it to "Spring" after checking with an off-stage executive.

-- The executives confirmed that they're working with The Weinstein Company to develop two movie scripts to continue the story of the now-defunct series 'The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.' "As a series, I think this felt like a more comfortable and organic way for the storytelling to continue," said Lombardo.

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HBO Has Scorsese's 'Boardwalk Empire,' Fisher's 'Wishful Drinking' - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 8th 2010 4:02PM
Steve Buscemi and Kelly Macdonald on the 'Boardwalk Empire' panel at the summer 2010 TCAsEven though the TCA Summer press tour wrapped up yesterday, I'm still in Beverly Hills awaiting my flight back to the wilds of New Jersey. But before I leave, I wanted to talk about HBO's presentation that concluded the tour, mainly for who was there... and who might be there in 2011.

HBO always presents their part of the tour like a broadcast network would, with an executive session and star-studded panels. And, while this summer's lineup had some pretty good star power, I can only imagine what next winter's panels are going to look like. Why? Because HBO showed clips of David Milch's 'Luck,' starring Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, the dark 'Mildred Pierce' miniseries starring Kate Winslet, and a fifteen-second clip of 'Game of Thrones,' which lit up Twitter feeds everywhere.

Oh, and we might also see Bruce Springsteen, as there's a documentary in the works about the making of The Boss' classic 1978 album 'Darkness on the Edge of Town.'

This time around, HBO had Spike Lee, whom I talked to during a roundtable earlier in the day about 'If God Is Willing And Da Creek Don't Rise,' and Tracy Morgan, promoting his fall comedy special.

But the highlights of the afternoon were the panels for the much-anticipated Martin Scorsese production 'Boardwalk Empire,' and the wonderfully wacky Carrie Fisher, promoting a documentary of her one-woman show 'Wishful Drinking.'

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Idris Elba May Be Involved in 'The Office' This Season - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 7th 2010 6:29PM
Ruth Wilson and Idris Elba at the 'Luther' panel at the Summer 2010 TCAs
BBC America presented their wares to the TV critics today, the last day of the TCA tour; one of the shows is 'Luther,' staring Idris Elba of 'The Wire' and 'The Office' fame. In the show, Elba plays a police detective who chases serial killer Alice Morgan (played by Ruth Wilson) the entire season, never being able to pin her crimes on her, but intrigued by her in many ways.

The clip reel showed a pretty intense series, but Elba is nothing if not intense, as anyone who saw him as Stringer Bell in 'The Wire' can attest. But will he come back to his other well-known role, as Dunder-Mifflin hard-ass Charles Miner?

He told reporters curious about the matter that, while Miner will not take over the Scranton branch, he may be involved with the story "closer to the season finale." Perhaps he's somehow involved in the departure of Michael Scott?

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Cable Grab Bag: A New 'Teen Wolf,' TLC's 'Sister Wives' and David Cross' 'Todd Margaret' - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 7th 2010 5:30PM
Cast of 'Teen Wolf' at 2010 Summer TCAs
The cable days at TCA are always a mixed bag. You ping pong from one room to another, viewing the wares of various cable networks that vary as widely as those channels themselves. At one point, you're shivering at the creepiness of yet another TLC voyeuristic series, then you're laughing at the antics of David Cross and The Kids in the Hall, then you're seeing the super-tanned cast of 'Jersey Shore.'

Friday's panels were all over the map, but there were some interesting moments. Some highlights:

-- Before bringing out Snooki and crew, MTV presented panels for a new American version of 'Skins,' about urban teenagers and all the sex, drugs and clubbing that they do, and a panel for a "re-imagined" version of 'Teen Wolf.' The critics were skeptical of both remakes, but the 'Teen Wolf' remake got much of the group annoyed. The only thing in common with the 1985 Michael J. Fox movie is the name of the main character, Scott Howard. In reality, the show is more serious, like 'Vampire Diaries' or 'Twilight.' Scott doesn't even play basketball; he plays lacrosse. So why call it 'Teen Wolf?'

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The 'Jersey Shore' Cast Meets the Critics ... and Survives - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 6th 2010 8:39PM
Season 2 cast of 'Jersey Shore'
Today's the first of two cable days that will wrap up the summer TCAs, and all day the buzz around the gathered critics was the late-afternoon appearance by the cast of 'Jersey Shore.' MTV Networks cleverly put them at the end of their presentation, making us suffer through presentations for shows like TV Land's 'Harry Loves Lisa,' Nick's 'Fred: The Movie,' and their own mis-reimagining of 'Teen Wolf' (think of the old Michael J. Fox movie without basketball, humor, or basically anything else... It's 'Vampire Diaries' with werewolves) before bringing out Snooki and company to meet the critics.

One thing we learned during the panel, during which the cast stood the entire time, was a new word: "Snookin'." For instance, when a critic asked Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi if she's continuing a rumored relationship, she said "Oh, I'm just snookin' around, checkin' what's going on."

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FX's 'Always Sunny,' 'Archer' and 'The League' Bring the Funny... Just Not to the Press Tour - TCA Reports

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 3rd 2010 11:34PM
Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito at the TCA 2010 panel for 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'
When I noticed the schedule for FX's TCA panels today, I was happy to see that the cable net bunched all the comedies in the afternoon, when the critics were supposedly punchy and might have wanted a good laugh.

But something odd happened: All three of the comedy panels -- for 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia,' 'The League' and 'Archer ' -- weren't all that funny. And they weren't even trying, for the most part.

Who knew comedy was such a serious business?

The 'Always Sunny' crew was supposed to do a table read, but with Charlie Day off doing a movie and unable to attend, that got scuttled. So it was 45 minutes of Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson talking in relatively serious tones about how the show has grown and the issues they wanted to tackle. Even the normally wacky Danny DeVito became unusually reserved after the first few minutes. Maybe the FX folks saw Cloris Leachman's funny but scattered performance during yesterday's panel for the FOX show 'Raising Hope' and didn't want that to happen two days in a row.

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The 'Arrested Development' Movie News Cycle Is Getting Silly

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 3rd 2010 8:02PM
Mitch Hurwitz speaking at the 'Running Wilde' panel at the Summer 2010 TCAsAs a guy who writes about television, I've reached a dilemma with this whole 'Arrested Development' movie story.

Sure, I want to see the movie happen. I was a big fan of the show when it was on Fox, and I'd love to revisit the Bluths in the darkness of a movie theater.

But I don't want to hear about it anymore.

Every time creator Mitch Hurwitz or someone from the cast gets asked about it, their answer gets splashed all over the interwebs as if health care reform was passed all over again. Even if someone says "I don't know" or "Beats me," it gets linked to on entertainment portals everywhere. Not even the second 'Star Wars' trilogy got this much attention.

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'Sons of Anarchy' Cast on Emmy Snub: "F--- 'Em" -- TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 3rd 2010 4:09PM
Kurt Sutter, Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, and Katey Sagal on the 'Sons of Anarchy' TCA Panel
If the cast of 'Sons of Anarchy' seems as bad-ass in person as they are on their hit FX show, it's because they are. The refreshingly motley crew that took the stage this morning would seem to be more in place at a meeting of the show's motorcycle gang SAMCRO than on the stage of the Beverly Hilton's International Ballroom.

Which is why, when a critic asked them to talk about what they thought about being shut out during the Emmy nominations, Ron Perlman put his feelings succinctly: "F--- 'em."

Charlie Hunnam, who plays Jax Teller, was a little more elaborate in his explanation.

"I was really happy. I think it's all a crock of s--- and it's corrupting," he told the critics. "I was happy we weren't on the receiving end of a force that can change the dynamic (of a show). All of that crap is secondary and unimportant, but does have the potential to ruin a good thing. So as you said... f--- 'em."

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FX News: 'Louie' Picked Up, New Show From 'Reno 911!' Producers - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 3rd 2010 1:40PM
Jon Landgraf and Louie CKDuring the FX executive session in front of TV critics, the cable network's president, Jon Landgraf, made two announcements:

-- 'Louie' is being picked up for a second season, to air around the same mid-summer timeframe when the first season was aired. Even after five weeks, Landgraf was very happy with the show's performance, citing audience growth via DVR of over 60 percent for last week's episode.

-- The network has picked up a new series from Ben Grant and Tom Lennon from 'Reno 911!' Called, 'USS Alabama,' this is a mostly-improvised show about a dimwitted crew on a space station. So think the dimwitted cops in Reno, translated to space. Yes, sounds pretty funny to me, too.

More from FX later today...

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'Glee' Creator Confirms New Musical Series with Kristin Chenoweth

by Chris Harnick, posted Aug 3rd 2010 1:20PM
Kristin Chenoweth'Glee' creator Ryan Murphy confirmed at the TCA panel for his hit series that he's working on a new musical series for Emmy-winner Kristin Chenoweth.

Put away those outraged faces, 'Glee' is not getting a spin-off -- yet. According to Zap2It, the new TV project will be separate from the Fox series and more adult, Murphy said.

"I've always wanted to do something for Kristin, and Kristin is a good, close friend of mine obviously, so I'm writing a half-hour musical comedy specifically for Kristin because if you can sing like that, I want her to be the star of her own show where she sings," Murphy told TV critics. "I can't say too much about it yet. Kristin is so funny. I want it to be adult."

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'Raising Hope' Explores a Twisted Version of Parenthood - TCA Report

by Laura Prudom, posted Aug 2nd 2010 9:25PM
Raising Hope'Raising Hope' is a dysfunctional family comedy in the vein of 'My Name Is Earl' (which is no coincidence, since the creative team is the same), but critics might be divided on just how funny it is, given that the initial theme of the show is watching a new father attempting not to kill his baby, after the child's mother has been put to death by electric chair -- cheerful, right?

While the concept might be in poor taste, the 'Raising Hope' panel at the TCA press tour itself was full of hilarious moments, mostly due to kooky Cloris Leachman and her on-stage antics, demanding that reporters stand while they asked their questions and switching chairs with Garret Dillahunt until creator Greg Garcia was making 'musical chairs' comparisons.

After a comparison to another iconic female, Betty White, Leachman dramatically declared, "I'm so sick of Betty White, I never liked her!" which was met with great appreciation from the humor-starved TCA audience.

More panel highlights after the jump.

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Arnett and Hurwitz Are Determined to Improve 'Running Wilde' - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 2nd 2010 6:02PM
Will Arnett and Mitch Hurwitz during the 'Running Wilde' session at the Summer 2010 TCAs
Maybe Mitch Hurwitz is cashing in on the goodwill he gained from the critics during the run of 'Arrested Development.' Or maybe he's just not a BSer. It doesn't really matter; what matters is that both Hurwitz and Will Arnett were honest with the gathered critics about what they felt was wrong with the pilot for their new FOX show 'Running Wilde,' and what they're trying to do to fix it.

The honesty parade started last night, as Arnett and co-star Keri Russell attended a network pre-registration event for the critics. Arnett told me that with the original pilot, "we had a very limited shooting schedule and a very limited post-production schedule. We had very little time to do what we wanted to do."

Now that the show's been picked up, though, they've had time to fix some things.

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'Lone Star' State of Mind - TCA Report

by Laura Prudom, posted Aug 2nd 2010 4:00PM
'Lone Star' cast
Though 'Dallas' is long gone, its influence lingers on across network television -- but no new series embodies the spirit of the Ewings quite as pervasively as 'Lone Star,' which creator Kyle Killen reportedly pitched as "'Dallas' without the cheese."

Charismatic James Wolk (who looks like the genetically engineered love-child of Kyle Chandler and George Clooney, good golly!) plays con-man Robert Allen, who is living two separate lives with two separate women in two different cities. In Midland, he lives with naive girlfriend Lindsay (Eloise Mumford) while bilking local investors out of their money, and in Houston, he's married to Cat (Adrianne Palicki) daughter of a wealthy oil magnate (played by Jon Voight). Through it all, his con-man father and mentor John (David Keith) is pulling the strings and trying to draw him into another con.

Highlights from the panel follow after the jump.

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