With a marathon of sessions every day, some awkward situations during press tour are unavoidable. But I can’t remember a day in TCA history with two blunders of the magnitude we had today. These two questions should easily top the list of cringe-worthy moments at this summer’s TCA.
First, a critic addressed Morgan Freeman, executive producer of CBS’ upcoming drama series Madam Secretary. Here is the exchange, with props to the famous actor for keeping his cool and patiently answering the ridiculous line of questioning:
QUESTION: This may be a senior moment but I don’t remember seeing Morgan in the pilot. What role is he going to have? I didn’t even know he was cast in the show.
LORI MCCREARY: He’s not.
MORGAN FREEMAN: I’m not.
QUESTION: What is your role, then? I’m sorry. I’m confused.
MORGAN FREEMAN: Executive, executive producer.
QUESTION: So you’re not going to actually have any on‑air role at all, then?
MORGAN FREEMAN: Well, we can’t say definitely no, but right now, no.
QUESTION: Right now at this point, none at all?
MORGAN FREEMAN: Right.
QUESTION: Okay. Thanks.
Later in the day, just as all of us were trying to make sense of the horrible news coming out of the Ukraine where a passenger jet went down, CBS held a panel for its new action procedural Scorpion. In the pilot, a group of geniuses race against the clock to help planes, stranded in the … Read More »
Does network TV really need more jargon? Just in case, producers of CBS’ new drama series Scorpion offered a new one at today’s TCA: Fun-cedural.
The series — based on the true story of genius Walter O’Brien (IQ 197) who created a company to defend the world against high-tech threats — has a “procedural engine” but is not really a procedural, said executive producer Nick Santora. “It’s a fun-cedural”, he said.
There was a lot of talk on today’s Scorpion panel about how the socially-awkward geniuses of the company, including O’Brien, would connect with an audience. The real Walter O’Brien, who serves as executive producer with Santora, Orci, Nicholas Wootton and director/EP Justin Lin, appeared on the panel along with the other EPS and cast members.
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Sharknado 2: The Second One will be chomping its way through the San Diego Convention Center as part of Syfy‘s presence at Comic-Con. While the panel on Thursday, July 24 will occur days before its July 30 premiere, there isn’t any announcement about a screening for the cult TV movie, a treat that TCA reporters are getting prior to Comic-Con. Also missing from the Syfy Comic-Con sked, but not from their TCA sked: The TV adaptation of Terry Gilliam’s 1995 time travel film 12 Monkeys. None the less, a slew of Sharknado stars will be present in Room 6BCF from 7:15-8:15 PM including Ian Ziering (Fin Shepard), Tara Reid (April Wexler), Vivica A. Fox (Skye), Kari Wuhrer (Ellen Shepard Brody), Judah Friedlander (Bryan) and director Anthony C. Ferrante. Read More »
CBS has made the bulk of its new series orders for next season with pickups for a whopping four dramas, NCIS: New Orleans, Madam Secretary, Stalker (formerly untitled Kevin Williamson) and Scorpion. They join previously ordered straight to series Battle Creek. On the comedy side the picks went to Matthew Perry’s The Odd Couple reboot, to be run by Bob Daily, who has closed a new deal with CBS Studios, and multi-generational family comedy The McCarthys.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
Besides the large number of dramas (CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves had told investors the network would pick up two new hourlong series for next season), what’s remarkable about the list is the pilots that did not make it — most notably the planted CSI spinoff starring Patricia Arquette and the How I Met Your Mother spinoff How I Met Your Dad. I hear talks on the CSI spinoff, which would be a big moneymaker for CBS’ sibling CBS Studios, are ongoing and are expected to result in a pickup (UPDATE: CBS Picks Up ‘CSI: Cyber’ To Series). Things are more complicated with 20th Century Fox TV-produced How I Met Your Dad. Just as those false pickup rumors began circulating yesterday, we started to to hear that CBS may not go forward with the high-profile project. It is unclear yet if that is genuine disinterest in the show or a negotiating tactic to get a piece of it. CBS is known to drop bombs before, like last year’s pass on The Beverly Hills Cop pilot. And the network and HIMYD producer 20th TV had a rough negotiations for Friends With Better Lives last May. CBS owns or co-owns (with Sony TV) all newly picked up comedy series and all but one (Warner Bros. TV’s Stalker) drama. With Stalker, WBTV saw all seven of its drama pilots go to series. (Its eight one, which didn’t go, was a planted spinoff, Bloodlines, which aired as an episode of Supernatural.)
Related: Les Moonves: CBS Could Go Directly To Consumers If Court Sides With Aereo
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Mia Kirshner (The L Word) and Waleed Zuaiter (Revolution, Homeland) have booked recurring roles on Netflix’s untitled psychological thriller drama from Sony Pictures TV. Written and executive produced by Damages creators Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman and Glenn Kessler (KZK), the 13-episode series centers on a close-knit family of four adult siblings (Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn, Linda Cardellini, Norbert Leo Butz) whose secrets and scars are revealed when their black sheep brother (Mendelsohn) returns home. Kirshner, repped by APA, Wishlab and Characters, most recently shot a guest role on ABC pilot Clementine. Zuaiter, repped by Stone Manners Salners Agency and Ramos Management, will play Major Eckhardt, a mysterious authority figure in the Florida Keys who is having an affair with Meg Rayburn (Linda Cardellini). Zuaiter is coming off a starring role in the Oscar-nominated film Omar.
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Saturday Night Live alum Rachel Dratch has signed on as a series regular in Fox‘s half-hour pilot Dead Boss, from WBTV and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment. An adaptation of the BBC3 series created by Sharon Horgan and Holly Walsh, Dead Boss is a comedic mystery that finds overachiever Helen Stephens (Jane Krakowski), who is wrongfully convicted of murdering her boss and is forced to rely on her train wreck of a sister to prove her innocence. Paradigm-repped Dratch will play Christine, Helen’s cellmate, a sunny but emotionally needy arsonist who will help Helen out of anything, except prison.
Related: 2014 Fox Pilots
UPDATED: Katharine McPhee (Smash) and Ari Stidham (Anyplace) have joined the cast of CBS‘ drama pilot Scorpion, from writer Nick Santora, director Justin Lin, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. It centers on Walter (Elyes Gabel), an eccentric genius and his international network of super-geniuses who form the last line of defense against the complex threats of the modern age. Robert Patrick co-stars. McPhee will play Paige, a working-class hero and diner waitress who understands geniuses. Stidham, repped by Talent Works, will play Sylvester, a statistics guru with off-the-chart OCD who’s part of the genius team.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
Game Of Thrones and Body Of Proof alum Elyes Gabel has been cast as the lead in CBS‘ drama pilot Scorpion, from writer Nick Santora, director Justin Lin, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. It centers on Walter (Gabel), an eccentric genius and his international network of super-geniuses who form the last line of defense against the complex threats of the modern age. Robert Patrick co-stars. CBS casting executives have had their eye on UK-born Gabel, casting him in his first US TV pilot, the 2012 CBS drama Widow Detective. Scorpion also reunites Gabel with Kurtzman and Orci, who cast him in the 2012 Fox drama pilot Exit Strategy. Gabel is with Paradigm, Brillstein Entertainment and UK’s Troika.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
The Unit alum Robert Patrick is back at CBS with a co-starring role in another drama project, pilot Scorpion, from writer Nick Santora, director Justin Lin, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. It centers on an eccentric genius and his international network of super-geniuses who form the last line of defense against the complex threats of the modern age. Patrick, repped by Gersh, McKuen Frankel Whitehead and the Coronel group, will play Cabe Gallo, a no non-sense, blue collar Federal Agent who works with the group. He is currently on El Rey’s From Dusk til Dawn and has Kill the Messenger coming out.