Bullz-Eye’s TCA 2011 Winter Press Tour Wrap-Up: Kneel Before Oprah!

The TCA Winter Press Tour is an event which never quite seems to live up to the TCA Summer Press Tour…but, then, that stands to reason, as the mid-season series rarely match the ones which hit the airwaves in the fall, right? Still, the experience never fails to be one which I enjoy, mostly because you never know what’s going to be around the corner, and Day 1 really set the stage for that: during the course of 12 hours, I interviewed Betty White, Henry Rollins, and Bruce Jenner, and, thanks to National Geographic, I wore a giant snake around my neck. Not a bad way to begin things…

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Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: Top 10 Quotes from Day 3

Day 3 of the Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour ran me ragged, moreso than any day which preceded it and, I feel rather certain, than any day to follow. Very rarely has it ever come to pass that I schedule a day full of one-on-one interviews and have every single of them go off without a hitch, and you can probably already guess that yesterday wasn’t an exception to that rule. I should probably just be happy that I got some of them, though: the way things were looking, I wasn’t entirely convinced that I was going to get any of them.

The last day of the cable portion of the tour began with breakfast with the members of the Rainbow Networks: WEtv (“Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best” and “Braxton Family Values”), IFC (“Onion News Network” and “Portlandia”), and AMC (“The Killing”). Shifting ballrooms, we next listened to A&E (“Breakout Kings”) and Lifetime (“Seriously Funny Kids” and “Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy”), but…do you detect a trend here?…we soon moved back to the other ballroom to get the scoop on stuff from Hallmark (“Goodnight for Justice”) and Starz (“Camelot,” “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena,” and “Torchwood: Miracle Day”). Lastly, it was – oh, dear – back to the other ballroom again. This time, however, HBO kept us sitting still for the duration of the afternoon, giving us looks into “Mildred Pierce,” “The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway,” “Cinema Verite,” “Game of Thrones,” “Too Big to Fail,” and “The Sunset Limited.”

My problem, however, was this: I had to keep bowing out of this panel and that in order to participate in various roundtables and one-on-one interviews. Worse, one of the roundtables – stand up, please, Tommy Lee Jones – was shifted from a perfect location on the schedule into a spot which utterly disrupted almost all of the interviews that followed. In the end, though, I did manage to participate in two roundtables for “Game of Thrones,” including one with author George R.R. Martin, I and two other writers sparred with Mr. Jones (surviving the encounter without having any of my questions ridiculed or dismissed outright has earned me some sort of entertainment journalism merit badge, I feel certain), and still managed to chat one-on-one with the too-sweet-for-words Eve Myles (“Torchwood: Miracle Day”) as well as John Hannah and Peter Mensah (“Spartacus: Gods of the Arena”).

The evening event was brought to us by Hallmark, and it took place at the Tournament House…as in the Tournament of Roses…in Pasadena. It was a pleasantly low-key event which began with cocktails and featured a classy sit-down dinner. What I’m saying, basically, is that it was old-school in all the right ways, including familiar TV faces like Doris Roberts, Marion Ross, and Marilu Henner, who regularly found herself holding court about her superior autobiographical memory. I also had an opportunity to sit down and chat with 11-year-old Kiernan Shipka, who plays Sally Draper on “Mad Men.” What a little sweetheart.

Okay, that’s it for the Day 3 wrap-up. Time for your daily dose of my favorite quotes…

1. “I knew that I was doing a lot of plastic surgery, because Melissa, one time, called me when (my grandson) Cooper was four years old and they had ‘Return of the Mummy,’ and he ran to the TV and went, ‘Grandma, Grandma.’ But I think plastic surgery come on, guys. You know. How many people have you interviewed…if you had a stitch for every if you had a dollar for every stitch in the face of someone you’ve interviewed, you wouldn’t be sitting here. You know what I mean? It’s part of our business.” – Joan Rivers, “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best” (WEtv)

2. “It is literally impossible to be more ridiculous than Fox News or MSNBC. It’s actually impossible. It’s happened multiple times that we’ll be kind of talking and brainstorming a joke in the writers’ room, we’ll get excited about it, and then it’s literally on the FoxNews.com website. So I think we have to kind of embrace that closeness. And the excitement for us is not being a parody of 24-hour news, but we are real news. Those are our competitors in a kind of slightly different world, and I think that believability is also part of what’s exciting about it. We’ve had online cases where, for example, last year there was a case where we published a story about Neil Armstrong now saying that the moon landing was a hoax, and all these papers in Bangladesh picked it up. There was a story about the Make-A-Wish Foundation being bankrupted by a child who wishes for unlimited wishes, which is pretty out there. It went on MySpace, which is kind of the Internet hub for morons, and we got this letter from the Make-A-Wish Foundation that was, like, ‘We’re getting hundreds of e-mails every hour, people who are concerned.’ So how ridiculous those things are, I think, really kind of opens up a lot of doors for us.” – Will Graham, “Onion News Network” (IFC)

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Emmerich says “Independence Day” sequel still alive, “2012: The Series” not so much

Bullz-Eye’s David Medsker chatted with “2012” director Roland Emmerich yesterday about the film’s impending release on DVD, but while the final product won’t hit the site ’til close to the DVD’s street date (March 2), Emmerich offered up two pieces of information during the course of the interview that we figured were worth reporting sooner than later.

During the course of the conversation, Medsker brought up our 2009 interview with Bill Pullman and mentioned the actor’s surprise that a sequel to “Independence Day” never got off the ground.

“It’s just one of those things,” said Emmerich. “Everybody wants to do it, but it’s really difficult. People had to wait for ‘Indy 4’ for a decade, and the reason is because of the people involved. If you want to assemble the same people, then you have a big problem. But everyone wants to do it, and it will happen one day, I’m pretty sure.”

If you’re not exactly overwhelmed by his confidence, perhaps this will help: after many years of uncertainty about what the premise of the sequel would be, it can at least be said that Emmerich and his “ID4” co-conspirator, Dean Devlin, do actually have an idea in place.

“Dean and I always said that we’d only do it when we had a really good story that excites us both, and we have the story written,” revealed Emmerich. “We’ve had it for a year and a half, two years. So we’ve been ready! Maybe it takes another two years [to get everyone together]. We’ll see.”

For better or worse, it appears that the rumored “2012” TV series won’t be getting in the way of “Independence Day 2.” When Medsker asked about the status of the series, Emmerich confirmed that it’s as dead as Danny Glover’s character. (RIP, President Wilson.)

“It’s not happening,” he said. “When the TV [network] realized what we wanted to do, they thought this was not possible for TV. It’s just too big. And I didn’t want to do it in a lesser form, so it went away.”

Damn.

  

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Pre-7/4 movie moments

Compare and contrast.

  

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No new “Harper’s Island” victim interview ’til Wednesday, but…

…I do have a teaser for my upcoming interview with Bill Pullman about his new film, “Surveillance,” which has a “Harper’s Island” connection.

I don’t think many people outside of the TV critic community are aware of this, but Harry Hamlin wasn’t the first actor to play the part of Uncle Marty in “Harper’s Island.” Several months before the series premiered, CBS offered up to critics what’s best described as the pitch reel for the show, giving an idea of how it would kick off and approximately what we could expect as far as the feel of the series. By the time the show actually premiered, however, some of the actors remained the same and some didn’t…and the most notable actor who didn’t make the transition was the first man to fill the shoes of Uncle Marty: Bill Pullman.

Back in January, series producer Jon Turteltaub referred to Pullman’s appearance in the pitch reel as “a ‘While You Were Sleeping’ favor,” referring to the 1995 Sandra Bullock film in which Pullman was directed by Turteltaub.

“He’s a great guy to work with,” Pullman told me. “I don’t know whether he had somebody else or what it was, but it was kind of at the last minute. Or maybe it’s because that’s the way those things happen. Maybe the money only came together at the last minute, TV being what it is. But he knew he wanted to get somebody, and he said, ‘Listen, there is no obligation to do anything with the series afterwards, but I just need something for now. If you do it, fine, if you don’t do it, fine, too.’ But I loved the chance to go up there, and, you know, it was kind of a whacked character. I had a good time, and the actors who were there were good. I really liked Elaine Cassidy.”

So there you go: a “Harper’s Island” factoid you may not have known before. Hopefully, that’ll hold you ’til Wednesday! And as a bonus, here’s the trailer for Pullman’s film, “Surveillance,” which is pretty creepy in its own right:

  

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