TCA Press Tour, Summer 2010: Day 8

Much as the CBS family of networks split their efforts into two days worth of panels – one for CBS, the other for Showtime and The CW – so did Fox give us some breathing room by placing their presentations for FX’s slate of new programming on a separate day. (I wish to God NBC / Universal would take a cue from their peers. I’m so sick of being rushed through a mishmosh of NBC, USA, Bravo, and SyFy series in one long can’t-stop-won’t-stop day.)

Executive Session

Your personal mileage may vary, but for my money, John Landgraf is one of the nicest network heads currently in the game. He’s very low-key, but he’s always ready to give you a quote when you’re looking for one. Today, he offered up the following bits and pieces about the future of FX.

* “Louie” has been renewed for a second season of 13 episodes.

* Ben Garant and Tom Lennon, late of “Reno 911!,” are going to do a pilot for FX called “The USS Alabama.” It’s another partially-scripted, partially-improvised series, and, according to Landgraf, “It takes place in space on the USS Alabama with a crew of spacefarers who might not be too much brighter than the cops in ‘Reno 911!’”

* There are two other pilots in the works as well, the first being “Outlaw Country,” which will star Mary Steenburgen. “Some really talented young actors have joined that cast,” said Landgraf. “That goes into production in, I think, six weeks. It’s a fantastic script. Something we’re really, really excited about.” The other is “Wilfred,” a comedy pilot based on an Australian comedy series, which completed principal photography last week.

* The “Damages” deal done with DirecTV is different from the one that was done with “Friday Night Lights” in that FX will not be offering up the episodes after they’ve run on DirecTV. “The season that has aired, which was the third season of ‘Damages,’ is the last season it will air on FX,” said Landgraf. “For us, we’re also producers on ‘Damages.’ We’ve been co-owners and co-producers through FX Productions, and DirectTV felt very strongly. They were willing to underwrite it, and to a very substantial amount financially, they enabled it to move forward. That was the deal that Sony worked on very aggressively, but they wanted it exclusively, so this was really the best and only way for ‘Damages’ to move forward. So we stepped aside as a network entity, and we’re still involved as a production entity.”

Sons of Anarchy

I don’t know that there’s any series currently on the air that I feel worse about not watching than “Sons of Anarchy.” Everyone tells me it’s fantastic, I have every reason to believe that those people are right, and yet I just haven’t had the time to go back and revisit the show’s first two seasons. But that won’t stop me from bringing you the info that creator Kurt Sutter and his cast provided to us during the show’s panel, of course.

As far as the “big bad” for Season 3, as it were, Sutter says, “We have a couple dual storylines going in Charming and as well as in Belfast, but I guess if you had to pin it down to one specific adversary, I would say that it’s probably the Titus Welliver character, Jimmy O.”

What of the theme of the new season? “I don’t know if there’s one specific overriding theme,” said Sutter. “I think the theme is always about family and Jax sort of defining his role as a father and as a partner and as a son and as a member of this club, and the Abel storyline drives us through pretty much the entire season, and…I don’t want to give anything away in terms of what that means and where that takes us, but, you know, the thing is our seasons, the actual span of time within our seasons is very short. It’s potentially a couple, two or three weeks. So there isn’t a lot of time that passes where you can have a lot of things unfold organically. So it is a very concentrated period of time which I think helps feed, I think, the sense of urgency for the tasks that they have at hand this season.”

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Adam Gertler from Food Network talks about his new show, cheesesteak, and Philly sports

Adam Gertler was one of two runners-up in Season 4 of The Food Network’s “Next Food Network Star,” the same show that launched the white hot career of Guy Fieri. But six or so months later, Gertler has re-emerged with a new show on the network, “Will Work For Food.” The show pits Gertler in temporary places of employment such as fishing for lobster, digging for clams, and making honey from real bees. We had the chance to catch up with Gertler, who hails from Philadelphia, to talk about his show and more….

Premium Hollywood: Has there been a moment or moments on “Will Work For Food” where you were legitimately scared, like with the bees? And how disgusting was it to eat that giant clam raw?

Adam Gertler: Legitimately scared – hmm…I thought I was going to slide off the oyster boat because there was no railing, the boat was rocking, and it was slippery and wet from the snow. I was also a little concerned when digging the wine cave because I thought the cave was going to collapse on me before we applied the shotcrete (concrete fired out of a cannon) to finish it. The chainsaw I used when carving the ice sculptors had me worrying about possibly cutting off an ear. Considering I have no idea how to use a chain saw for its true purpose, using it for ice sculpting just seemed nuts. The clam was definitely disgusting in both texture and taste. And if I had the chance to do it again…yeah, I would.

PH: Do you come up with the ideas for the show, or do the producers?

AG: The segments are a collaborative effort with the “Will Work for Food team.” We do research and find great ideas for segments, then make them happen – it’s a team effort.

PH: Is there a job out there you absolutely would not do for food?

AG: There is nothing I won’t try at least once. I figure if it doesn’t put my life in danger, I can only grow from the experience.

PH: What is your dream job of working for food?

AG: I would love to go to Italy and learn how to make different kinds of salumi and cured meats as well as cheeses. Those are some of my favorite foods, and I would love to learn from the pros to see how they are made.

PH: How soon after “Food Network Star” ended did someone contact you about this show? What were you doing at the time?

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