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TCA Goes To The Dogs

By | Monday January 10, 2011 @ 11:23pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Given that it has a mouse as a mascot, it’s not surprising that Disney’s TCA presentations tend to be animal-friendly. In August, it featured a big plush elephant on stage. This time, it counted a dog among its attendees. Here is a photo of the little pooch who didn’t show great interest in the happenings this afternoon. Maybe he was camping in the room for tomorrow morning’s American Idol session featuring Randy Jackson aka Dawg.

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TCA: Discovery Networks News

Nellie Andreeva

Two notable announcements from Discovery Communications’ portion of TCA’s winter press tour:

- Feature director Ridley Scott has signed on for Prophets of Science Fiction, a new eight-episode series for the Science Channel, which will profile sci-fi visionaries such as Isaac Asimov, Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas and examine how their work inspired future discoveries decades before they took place. The series will premiere in the second half of 2011. Ridley and Tony Scott are producing.

- Discovery Channel has greenlighted a Chicago spinoff of game show Cash Cab. Hosted by comedian Beth Melewski, the new series will premiere in the summer. The original New York Cash Cab with Ben Bailey returns with new episodes in the spring.

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TCA: Piers Morgan’s First Guest – Oprah

From Ray Richmond, who is contributing to Deadline Hollywood’s TCA coverage:

He was once shooting for Barack Obama but Morgan got the woman who helped him become a president. When his new nightly talk show, Piers Morgan Tonight, premieres on CNN (replacing Larry King Live) on Jan. 17, Morgan’s first guest will be none other than the queen herself, Oprah Winfrey, a “get” of which he was clearly quite proud. “We had a terrific conversation, it was one of those discussions that went on and on,” he said during Piers Morgan Tonight‘s Q&A session at TCA. “It was one of those times where you drop your guard and it’s more like two friends talking. We extended far beyond our allotted time because she was enjoying it so much.” When it was pointed out by a critic that landing Oprah isn’t such a boffo exclusive these days given the launch of her new OWN Network — and that he’s already been beaten to the punch by, among others, Barbara Walters — Morgan begged to differ, noting with characteristic brashness, “Anytime you can get Oprah, it’s a great thing. She has an extraordinary brand. She’s worth nearly $3 billion. That makes her a totally unique character.”

Morgan wasn’t exactly shy during his first meeting before the gathered press, flashing his well-honed British self-assurance and controlling the room with a magician’s smooth sleight of hand. Without bashing his predecessor, he specifically conveyed the message that, yes, he is the savior who will instantly stop CNN’s ratings free-fall and restore it to the greatness and grandeur of yore. “The truth is that CNN remains the most prestigious and profitable news network internationally already,” Morgan said. “The fact that it has a short-term ratings problem here in the U.S. doesn’t diminish that fact. Over the last two years, CNN has been getting its butt kicked by Fox News and MSNBC in primetime. I’d like to get to the position where the butt-kickng is reversed a little bit. And I’m absolutely confident I can do that.” Read More »

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