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TCA Postmortem: Consolidation News Framed Press Tour Conversation

By | Friday July 25, 2014 @ 8:48am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

TCA Postmortem: Consolidation News Framed Press Tour ConversationWith the power of fans growing and the influence of TV reviews declining in the age of social media, the once marque summer TCA press tour has been taking a back seat to Comic-Con. Once again, the Los Angeles critics convention served as a warm-up for the San Diego geekfest, with the networks trying to save their noisy announcements for the Con. But what would’ve been another uneventful summer TCA was livened up by two big consolidation stories that broke in the first and second week — 21st Century Fox’s decision to put both the broadcast network and 20th Century Fox TV under the studio’s chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman, and the company’s (for now unsuccessful) bid to acquire Time Warner.

TCA Logo New (2)The first news, which had been widely expected, was met largely with approval as an inevitable move in an industry where owning content is becoming more and more important. CBS has helped grow CSI into a billion-dollar franchise for the parent company, which owns the show. Compare that with The Big Bang Theory, which CBS developed and nurtured to a blockbuster hit that would make as much as $3 billion — for another company, Warner Bros. TV. Watching how much money it has made for WBTV, with the Chuck Lorre series, and for 20th Century Fox TV, with How I Met Your Mother, the network focused on growing its own syndicatable comedies, recently renewing CBS Studios-produced The Millers for a second season. During CBS’ TCA executive session, chairman Tassler was asked whether ownership played a role in the decision to renew The Millers over two 20th TV freshmen, The Crazy Ones, which drew bigger DVR ratings increases, and Friends with Better Lives, which showed better retention. “We will never ever, ever discriminate based solely on ownership,” Tassler said. “We feel that The Millers has a lot of great story material still imbedded in the DNA of the show.” Read More »

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Hollywood “Obsessed” With Human Torture, And Other TCA Highlights

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 8:23am PDT

Hollywood “Obsessed” With Human Torture, And Other TCA HighlightsThe TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014 has wrapped its 16-day run. Here is what we learned:

Most Searing Description Of Hollywood
David LaChapelle, who famously became a photographer for Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine in his teens, has been called The Fellini of Photography, and has photographed the likes of Hillary Clinton, Lady Gaga, Tupac Shakur, Madonna, Eminem, Warhol, Lil’ Kim, Elizabeth Taylor,  Leonardo DiCaprio, and Muhammad Ali, was asked yesterday to discuss the “ebb and flow” of depictions of sex and nudity; he’s featured in PBS’ American Masters broadcast The Boomer List.

lisademoraescolumn__140603223319“Growing up in New York City, when I was very young, pre-AIDS, it was very hedonistic, and sexuality was, you know, the revolution. I remember working at [Studio 54] and straight guys would say they were bi, to pick up girls because it was cool. And then, AIDS happened, and everything changed. Things got very, very conservative and segregated. Now…we are sort of in this Dark Ages where the body is considered shameful…yet violence, and torture, and these films — the Saw series, The Hunger Games2014 Summer TCA Tour - Day 16you look at Netflix, what’s going on, and every other new show is extreme violence, and this is our entertainment. We applaud that. And our kids are playing these video games, but yet the human body is somehow shameful. And God forbid a kid sees a nipple, you know.”

TV programs such as HBO’s Sex And The City (Kim Cattrall also was a panelist), he said, have “been replaced by so much ultra-violence in this torture form. I find that really interesting because all our popular culture reflects the society in which it was created. So what does that say about us? Why are we so obsessed with watching other human beings suffering? We don’t get enough of it on the news that we — that’s our entertainment, too? I think that’s the real pornography. That’s the real evil, and that’s the real darkness.”

Most Changed Executive
NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt — last Press Tour’s Mr. Flat Is The New Up — spoke happily this tour about Up Being The New Up: “We had a pretty great season so far this year. We’re No. 1 in the demo. We’re the only network up, year to year, almost 10% to date. Even if you take the Olympics out of our numbers, we would still be No. 1 for the year…We’re also leading in the 25-54 demo, and all key adult female demos as well. We also had a huge growth in total viewers where we’re running No. 2 season to date. In fact, we’re up 27% year over year, which is our strongest performance this far into the season in eight years.”

Biggest News
CBS Corp CEO Leslie Moonves, telling reporters after his Q&A for the network’s new Thursday night football that he’s interested in buying CNN should Rupert Murdoch prevail in his bid to by the cable news network’s parent Time Warner and spin off CNN. “We’ve always talked about doing things with CNN in the past… It’s something I’m sure we’ll look at if it becomes available,” Moonves said. Last month, when CBS took the final step in the spinoff of its billboard company, “that was our intent, to get rid of billboards and potentially buy more content,” Moonves said, adding, “We’re in a very advantageous position.”

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TCA: PBS ‘Nova’ Panelists Scorch Jenny McCarthy Over Vaccine Position

By | Wednesday July 23, 2014 @ 5:06pm PDT

TCA: PBS ‘Nova’ Panelists Scorch Jenny McCarthy Over Vaccine PositionDuring a PBS Q&A session for its Nova program, Vaccines: Calling The Shots, the conversation eventually wound its way around to Jenny McCarthy. Which is to say a TV critic asked the panelists to weigh in on McCarthy, who has become the celebrity most closely associated with the vaccine debate. (McCarthy has said in interviews she is not “anti-vaccine” — she’s demanding “safe vaccines” and to “reduce the schedule and reduce the toxins.” In a 2009 interview with Time, she was quoted as saying, “If you ask a parent of an autistic child if they want the measles or the autism, we will stand in line for the f**king measles.”)

“I made a decision that we didn’t want to go down the path that wasn’t scientifically solid,” the program’s writer/director/co-exec producer Sonya Pemberton said by way of explaining why the show makes no mention of McCarthy. “As far as I can tell, Jenny McCarthy hasn’t published any scientific papers, and doesn’t have a degree” in the field. Read More »

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TCA: Ken Burns’ Talks ‘The Roosevelts: An Intimate History’ And Whether FDR, Teddy Roosevelt Could Get Elected President In Cable News Era

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 4:17pm PDT

TCA: Ken Burns’ Talks ‘The Roosevelts: An Intimate History’ And Whether FDR, Teddy Roosevelt Could Get Elected President In Cable News EraCable news networks would not allow for Teddy Roosevelt or Franklin Delano Roosevelt to become POTUS today, the creators of PBS’ new Roosevelt family documentary suggested at TCA today. Teddy was too eccentric, and FDR was stricken with polio.

“I’m not sure they could have been president now,” Geoffrey Ward, an authority on FDR and longtime Ken Burns collaborator, told TV critics at Summer Press Tour, where they’d come to plug The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. “TR was very eccentric, and FDR was physically helpless, and in the modern world in which everything is fair game. … I think TV cameras would compete with each other to see who could get the most ‘helpless’ footage of FDR.” Ward said he doubted the U.S. will ever see another physically challenged president.

The Roosevelts TCAFDR was maybe the most press-accessible president, holding nearly 1,000 news conferences during his White House tenure, Burns and Ward said. The press “understood” they were not to write about FDR’s polio or vie for the “worst-looking Roosevelt” shot and wrote “more substantive pieces” than they might have otherwise, the producers said.

Asked why, then, they had scoured various sources to find footage of Roosevelt struggling with his polio-stricken limbs – Burns mentions spending a great deal of money after the documentary was wrapped after discovering four seconds of footage of FDR struggling to get off a train in Bismarck, ND — Burns responded, “We’ve got an obligation to do that,” because it illustrates what an effort it was for FDR to get through a day and speaks to his character. Read More »

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TCA: ‘Downton Abbey’ Returning January 4, PBS Chief Paula Kerger Says

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 12:08pm PDT

TCA: ‘Downton Abbey’ Returning January 4, PBS Chief Paula Kerger SaysDownton Abbey’s fifth season will debut on January 4, PBS chief Paula Kerger said this morning. She boasted the fourth season was up 16% year over year — among the reasons PBS will not consider an airdate that more closely coincides with the British play-pattern — and that the Masterpiece franchise within which Downton Abbey airs is up 24%. “We’re extremely proud of this growth and continue to focus on Sunday night drama,” she told TV critics at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014.

As for Sherlock, Kerger said PBS did not yet have word as to when it would be ready for air. “Because it’s coming from our partners in the UK, we have to wait to know when it will be finished,” Kerger said. “But, whenever it comes we’ll put it in a wonderful place and we know the next season is going to be terrific,” she added.

Likewise, Kerger said she had no airdate for the return of Mr. Selfridge, starring Jeremy Piven. That franchise’s renewal for a third season was announced by its British producer in February, saying only that it would air in 2015. Read More »

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TCA: PBS Announces Walt Disney Bio, ‘The Brain’ Series, Navy SEALS Story, And Season 4 Pickup For ‘Call The Midwife’

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 10:25am PDT

TCA: PBS Announces Walt Disney Bio, ‘The Brain’ Series, Navy SEALS Story, And Season 4 Pickup For ‘Call The Midwife’PBS chief Paula Kerger this morning made a slew of announcements from TCA Summer Press Tour 2014:

Call The Midwife will be back for a fourth season. BBC announced in February it would produce a fourth season of the period drama about  a group of nurse midwives working in the East End of London in the 1950s — only it will be set in the 60′s for the next season.
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TCA: FX’s “Revolting” ‘The Strain’ Bucks Romantic GQ Vampire Trend, Creator Guillermo Del Toro Says

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 4:32pm PDT

TCA: FX’s “Revolting” ‘The Strain’ Bucks Romantic GQ Vampire Trend, Creator Guillermo Del Toro SaysBefore FX developed The Strain for its lineup, Guillermo del Toro says a broadcast network suggested developing it as a comedy. The Strain, based on the trilogy of novels by del Toro and Chuck Hogan, follows Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) as the NYC head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team, leading the effort to discover the root of a viral outbreak that seems to have killed all the passengers and crew of a Berlin-originated airplane that turns out to be a strain of vampirism.

Back in 2006, del Toro told TV critics this afternoon at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014,  the project was sent around for possible development as a TV project. At that time he said, the the only way anybody envisioned vampires was “as a romantic conception of vampires — that sort of GQ version of vampires,” he said. But he was pitching a show in which vampires would be “truly revolting, physically and spiritually.” At one network, he said, he got asked, ” ‘Could you turn it into a comedy?’ I said ‘no’.”

thestrain01-is-the-strain-posterSeries exec producer Carlton Cuse, meanwhile, says that while there are horror elements to the show, he thinks of it much more as an adventure show, along the lines of Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, he worked on in its development. “It’s not that scary — it’s not just a horror show,” Cuse insists of The Strain. “The material lent itself to a big pulpy engaging type of storytelling.” Read More »

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TCA: Throwing The Serial Killer Premise Off ‘The Bridge’ In Season 2

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 3:26pm PDT

TCA: Throwing The Serial Killer Premise Off ‘The Bridge’ In Season 2“I didn’t want to do the serial-killer-of-the-year story. I can’t compete with the genre that’s out there,” The Bridge executive producer Elwood Reid said today at TCA about his primary objective for Season 2 of the FX thriller.

“If I’m going to tell a story about the U.S.-Mexican border, one which these characters warranted, I couldn’t fx_connectedtell that story while they were tracking a serial killer,” said the EP. Departing Bridge EP Meredith Stiehm, who developed the series with Reid before returning to Homeland, also shared the same second-season vision.

“Meredith was right there with me in wanting to break the old mode of the show,” said Reid, “We looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s get these figures up on the bridge and finish this part of the story.’” Read More »

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TCA: When FX Hosts ‘Tyrant’ Q&A Featuring Show’s Critics, Howard Gordon Says He’s The Series’ “Midwife”

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 3:04pm PDT

TCA: When FX Hosts ‘Tyrant’ Q&A Featuring Show’s Critics, Howard Gordon Says He’s The Series’ “Midwife”“This is an adopted child for me,” Howard Gordon told TV critics this afternoon about FX‘s controversial drama series Tyrant. “I’m the midwife… it came to me and this is what it is.”

Gordon came to TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014 to discuss the series that debuted last month. He was joined onstage by representatives of various groups that have blasted, to varying degrees, the series. 2014 Summer TCA Tour - Day 14They came to discuss the ways in which they have complained about the series and the degree to which they have effected change. According to a network spokesman, some of the people onstage participated in a three-hour conversation with Gordon and others involved with the program which was a “very educational experience.” Their leader seemed to be Cynthia P Schneider,  who co-directs the Los Angeles-based Muslims On Screen and Television, and teaches at Georgetown University. Read More »

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TCA: The Gritty Reality Of Sex On FX’s ‘Married’ & ‘You’re The Worst’

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 12:19pm PDT

TCA: The Gritty Reality Of Sex On FX’s ‘Married’ & ‘You’re The Worst’FX‘s one-two punch of frosh summer comedies Married and You’re The Worst are taking different slants toward sex — one grounded and the other a bold, in-your face approach.

Up for discussion at the network’s TCA Married panel was how the show changed dramatically between its pilot and subsequent episodes in terms of implementing hanky panky in its storylines. In Episode 1 of the Andrew Gurland-created show, Ross Bowman (Nat Faxon) hits an intimacy wall with his wife Lina (Judy Greer), to which she suggests that he venture out and find a mistress. (Spoiler: He failingly does.)

Related: TCA: FX Orders Second Installment Of ‘Fargo’, Fifth Season Of ‘Louie’

fx_connectedTalking with Deadline after the panel, Gurland said: “The show will became less about their sexual relationship. I found that a good jumping-off point for the series would be a husband saying, ‘We don’t have the intimacy we use to have,’ and there’s this element of, ‘Well, go have sex with other people.’ I wanted to put that to rest by the pilot because that’s not really the answer. That’s not a long-term solution if you want intimacy from your wife, so moving forward we wanted to keep the intimacy between the two of them but not restricted to their sexual relationship. I wanted to keep the show grounded and not go to this paper reality of here’s all this crazy stuff that this normal married guy is going to do.” Read More »

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TCA: FXX’s Historic 552-Episode ‘Simpsons’ Marathon Has A Start Date; Brass Touts Immersive App

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 11:40am PDT

TCA: FXX’s Historic 552-Episode ‘Simpsons’ Marathon Has A Start Date; Brass Touts Immersive AppFXX said in April that it will air the longest marathon in TV history when it welcomes The Simpsons repeats, and today the network announced that it’ll run August 21 through September 1. During the course of the mega-marathon, FXX will air in chronological order all 25 seasons — 552 episodes — of the Fox animated series that’s the longest-running scripted series in TV history. The Simpsons Movie will be included in the marathon and also will air chronologically within the stunt, after episode No. 400. The marathon begins at 10 AM ET/PT on August 21 and ends at midnight ET/PT on September 1.

Related: ‘The Simpsons’ To Debut On FXX With 552-Episode Marathon

FXX logoReminding TV critics about the stunt at the TCA Summer Press Tour, panelists also walked them through plans for a new interactive digital and online experience that’s billed as the ultimate Simpsons digital experience. Simpsons World — named after, and incorporating, Matt Groening’s published show bible of same name — offers a premium Simpsons fan experience, including access to their entire catalog of full-length episodes for the first time ever via FXNOW App and SimpsonsWorld.com, in October.

Related: TCA: FX’s John Landgraf Talks ‘AHS: Freak Show’ & ‘Fargo’, Freshman Renewals, W. Kamau Bell

Beginning September 2, FXX will regularly schedule The Simpsons episodes in fringe, primetime and late-night dayparts on weekdays and weekends. Additionally, every Sunday the network will broadcast a thematic mini-marathon consisting of eight Simpsons episodes beginning at 4 PM ET/PT and leading into the 8 PM ET/PT broadcast on Fox. Read More »

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TCA: Nearly 5,000 Audition To Live For A Year In Fox’s ‘Utopia’

By | Sunday July 20, 2014 @ 5:16pm PDT

TCA: Nearly 5,000 Audition To Live For A Year In Fox’s ‘Utopia’Nearly 5,000 people applied to participate in Fox’s reality series Utopia, Fox’s reality TV guru Simon Andreae told TV critics this afternoon. Showrunners have whittled that prodigious list down to about 40, and are now selecting the 15 who will get to go live in some isolated made-for-TV makeshift community in southern California for a year while trying to forge a new society that believes in filming its citizens 24/7 for broadcast on TV and on the Internet.

Utopia, from reality vet John de Mol,  is a reality series featuring a group of everyday people whisked to an isolated location for an entire year and challenged to create their own civilization. The show builds dramatic tension from the provision that any of the “colonists” can be replaced at any time by someone from the show’s audience. It’s based on a Dutch show that’s been running since January. The show premieres Sept. 7.

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TCA: Fox’s ‘Gracepoint’ Producers Promise It’s Not A Reproduction Of British Original

TCA: Fox’s ‘Gracepoint’ Producers Promise It’s Not A Reproduction Of British OriginalFox’s Gracepoint, an American remake of the British series Broadchurch, is not a shot-for-shot recreation — though it may seem like it’s going in that direction in the first two two episodes, after which it will begin to differ substantially, the exec producers promised to dubious TV critics this afternoon at the TCAs.

The first portions of the British eight-parter were “so well done, why would we contort ourselves to tell it differently?” Carolyn Bernstein said when some critics commented about how the two episodes they’d seen of Gracepoint replicated early Broadchurch episodes“We didn’t want to fix something we all thought was excellent,” Bernstein explained at Summer TV Press Tour 2014. She and EP/showrunner Dan Futterman promised it will begin to differ substantially.

Further muddying things, in October, Fox announced that Broadchurch star David Tennant had been cast in its 10-hour series. In Fox’s version, Tennant plays an American detective who is the lead investigator in a shocking murder that puts a small town under scrutiny. Though this time it’s set in an American town,  like the original it follows the tragic and mysterious death of a young boy found dead on a beach surrounded by rocks and a jutting cliff face, from where he may have fallen. Although his cause of death remains unsolved, the picturesque seaside town where the tragedy occurred is at the heart of a major police investigation and a nationwide media frenzy.

The American version purports to have a different killer.

“I don’t … Read More »

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TCA: Networks Urge Press To Abandon Live + Same Day Ratings Reports

By | Saturday July 19, 2014 @ 3:19pm PDT

TCA: Networks Urge Press To Abandon Live + Same Day Ratings Reports“If you were a sports reporter, you would not report the winner based on the third-inning score – that’s what you’re doing if you use Live + Same Day ratings,” CBS Research guru David Poltrack chastised Reporters Who Cover Television this morning. He was one of four number crunchers who ran the reporters through a “bar chart gauntlet” at Summer TV Press Tour 2014, by way of trying to convince them not to report on next day ratings for their networks’ programs. They came to preach the value of using Live + 3 stats at the very least, in light of how popular delayed viewing has become – particularly of scripted primetime series, with drama series leading the way.

“We all provide projections [for Live + 3 Day]. We understand your skepticism about using our projections,” Poltrack said. “The one thing you can be sure about our projections is that if one of us starts giving you a lot of bullshit, the other ones are going to let you know. You’ve got us to check each other,” he said.

Among the mind-numbing array of charts used in this morning’s pitch was one showing that, among the major broadcast networks, the demo ratings growth from Live + Same Day to Live + 7 averaged 40%. “What’s interesting is how long the tail has become,” Fox Research SVP Will Somers said. He displayed the numbers for his network’s fall-launch drama Sleepy Hollow, showing an overnight audience of 10.1 million viewers that … Read More »

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TCA: Casting Directors Say They’re Color Blind When Choosing Actors

By | Saturday July 19, 2014 @ 2:17pm PDT

TCA: Casting Directors Say They’re Color Blind When Choosing ActorsAmid gripes from American actors about the lack of diversity in TV and film, as well as the industry’s penchant for selecting British and Australian thespians for prolific roles, the casting directors at FX’s “Casting 101″ TCA panel assert they’re just looking for the best person for the part – and often it doesn’t matter how famous the person is.

Cami Patton, the casting director for Justified said, “Producers, showrunners and studio executives are used to looking at tape from other actors in other parts of the world.  You don’t need an actor with an entire history (of credits).”  One candidate, as pointed out by the group, was Matthew Rhys who plays the lead Soviet undercover spy Philip Jennings on FX’s The Americans. Largely known to U.S. audiences through his turn on Brothers & Sisters, Rhys bowled casting directors over with his Broadway performance in Look Back in Anger. Patton added that when she cast a fresh-faced British actor by the name of Damian Lewis in the role of U.S. Army Lt. Richard Winters in 2001′s Band of Brothers, “We were trying to match actors with the photos that we had of these real people. At the time he was doing Hamlet on stage with Ralph Fiennes. That’s how he got on our radar.” Read More »

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TCA: ‘Ray Donovan’s Jon Voight Rehearses For Emmy; EP Takes On ‘Sopranos’ Comparison

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 7:37pm PDT

TCA: ‘Ray Donovan’s Jon Voight Rehearses For Emmy; EP Takes On ‘Sopranos’ ComparisonHomeland producers grumbled about their 2014 Emmy nomination snub for drama series at today’s TCA, but Jon Voight seemed happy to carry the Emmy nom flag for Showtime at today’s panel on his second-season series, Ray Donovan. The supporting actor nominee appeared on the panel with stars Liev Schreiber, who plays the title character, a Hollywood fixer, Paula Malcomson, Season 2 guest stars Hank Azaria and Wendell Pierce, creator/EP Ann Biderman and EP Bryan Zuriff.

For Zuriff, this marks a return to the executive producer ranks of the series following his high profile arrest and subsequent indictment for allegedly running an illegal gambling operation this time last year that prompted his temporary exit from the show. Zuriff actually touched upon his history when the cast and producers were asked to attest to the accuracy of some of the crazy storylines on the show. “We’ve all had a little bit of a past, so there’s stuff that we can draw on in the writers’ room that we can have some fun with,” he said.

Related: ‘Ray Donovan’ Executive Producer Bryan Zuriff Pleads Guilty In Gambling Ring Tied To Russian Mob

Earlier this year, Voight won a Golden Globe for his performance (star Schrieber got a nom for lead actor in a drama). When asked about Emmy, Voight could have been rehearsing his Emmy speech. The abridged version of his reply: “Let me just say, I feel very blessed and very fortunate to have had so many wonderful experiences as an actor. I am really enjoying this family that’s making Ray Donovan. It’s almost like I earned this role over years of struggling and failing and experimenting and succeeding…” He praised the “wonderful artists” he works with on Ray Donovan and reached back into the past to praise earlier collaborators John Schlesinger, Dustin Hoffman, Hal Ashby and Andrei Konchalovsky. Read More »

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TCA: Kobe Bryant Says Showtime’s ‘Kobe Bryant’s Muse’ Came Out Of Nike Campaign Mulling

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 5:05pm PDT

TCA: Kobe Bryant Says Showtime’s ‘Kobe Bryant’s Muse’ Came Out Of Nike Campaign Mulling“Sorry I was late, I was out looking for a head coach,” Kobe Bryant said after showing up about half an hour late to plug his autobiographical Kobe Bryant’s Muse, debuting on Showtime in the fall.

To pass the time, Showtime distributed bottles of sports drink, BodyArmor — a company in which Bryant is a major investor. On the bottle were tags that reminded TV critics the TV project is “a portrait of an elite athlete’s professional and personal journey.” Showtime has said Kobe Bryant’s Muse takes an in-depth look into the life, inspirations and challenges facing one of the most successful figures in professional sports.

Kobe Bryant's MuseBryant said he came up with the idea for Kobe Bryant’s Muse while lying in bed, mulling what to do for his next Nike campaign. He decided that, “now that my career is coming to an end” it would be “pretty cool to tell the genesis of where the mentality came from.” That’s the difference, he said, between this Kobe Bryant docu-mercial and an earlier Spike Lee Kobe Bryant documentary  — the one that debuted on ESPN in 2009 and focused on one day of the Los Angeles Lakers star’s season. Read More »

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TCA: ‘Homeland’ Producers Defend Season 3 From Critics’ Jabs, Tease New Details

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 2:54pm PDT

TCA: ‘Homeland’ Producers Defend Season 3 From Critics’ Jabs, Tease New DetailsOK, he admits it: Homeland showrunner/executive producer Alex Gansa said the lack of a drama series Emmy nomination in 2014 “hurt.” The critics hurt, too. “I don’t know how you can look at the last episodes of the season, especially the last two episodes [and not believe] they are the best we’ve ever done,” Gansa said at today’s TCA. “But we’re going to get back on the mountain again.”

Gansa was speaking at a luncheon panel along with executive producers Alexander Cary and Meredith Steihm. The three revealed a few plot developments for Season 4, which Showtime announced earlier in the day would premiere October 5.

Homeland Season 4Gansa started off with the joking promise to “only kill most of your favorite characters,” adding to laughter: “I can guarantee that Dana Brody will not be back for Season 4” (a reference to Brody’s moody teenage daughter whom many critics thought got way too much moping screen time in Season 3).

But the writer-producers dropped a few real story tidbits: Claire Danes’ Carrie Mathison’s bipolar illness has stabilized and in her new Middle Eastern setting will be on the tail of a new character, “someone whom she’s recruiting and trying to get his trust.” Steihm added that this is just one of “5 or 6 new characters” who will be added. Steihm confirmed that the character Carrie pursues as a recruit is portrayed by Life Of Pi‘s non-CGI star Suraj Sharma. Read More »

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TCA: CW’s ‘Supernatural’ Still Has Legs, Insist Network Chief And EP

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 1:18pm PDT

TCA: CW’s ‘Supernatural’ Still Has Legs, Insist Network Chief And EPCW chief Mark Pedowitz still is hopeful he’ll get a Supernatural spinoff on his schedule, despite  passing on a long-gestating one this past May. “The Supernatural spinoff that came in, creatively did not quite get to where we wanted it to go,” he told TV critics this morning, echoing sentiments he expressed to reporters the morning of his Upfront presentation to advertisers in May.  “We have told [the exec producers] we are very open to do another spinoff; we’re waiting for them to come in with whatever the next concept is,” he said, calling Supernatural “a franchise that has a lot of legs to it.”

Supernatural exec producerSupernatural Jeremy Carver thinks so too, telling TV critics at Summer TV Press Tour 2014. “There’s so much story left to tell –  which is remarkable given that we’re in season 129 already,” he quipped during the Q&A session to discuss the start of its 10th season.  That said, when the show finally throws in the towel,  “I know [show creator] Eric Kripke always had an ending in mind,” Carver said. However, he insisted the writers “minds are wide open” to a “happy accident” producing some new idea for the show wrapper, adding, “The show is continuing on beyond any of our wildest dreams and I don’t want to limit myself.”
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