Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: No Quotes from Day 6? (Well, not many, anyway…)

The greatest mystery surrounding ABC’s day of the TCA press tour is why they chose to make so little of it. Given that they had ABC, ABC Family, Disney Channel, DisneyXD, the outgoing SOAPNet, and the incoming Disney Junior to work with, it’s absolutely unforgivable that there were only five panels the entire damned day.

Day 6 began on a decidedly solemn note, as the giant screens in the ballroom aired the national moment of silence to commemorate the tragedy in Tucson, and, perhaps appropriately, things shifted directly into the introduction of new ABC News president Ben Sherwood. Next up, Paul Lee, the president of ABC Entertainment, took the stage for his executive session. After that, we had a “Winter Wipeout”-themed cocoa break, then came back into the ballroom for two more panels: one for the return of ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars,” the next for the new ABC medical drama, “Off the Map.” Then came lunch revolving around the new Disney Junior animated series “Jake and the Never Land Pirates,” followed by a panel for the new Disney Channel movie, “Lemonade Mouth,” which – beyond the music playing during the trailer – only held my interest when the very cute and very British actress Naomi Scott opened her mouth.

And that’s it.

Well, it wasn’t quite it. We had a cocktail party at 5 PM which was ostensibly “Off the Map”-themed (they offered a trio of tropical cocktails, but I am hard pressed to recall any hors d’oeuvres that had any particular South American flair), but it only featured stars from ABC’s mid-season shows, and even then there were several notable names missing from the guest list, the two most notable being Matthew Perry from “Mr. Sunshine” and Dana Delaney from “Body of Evidence.” Now, admittedly, my experiences with Mr. Perry during the summer tour make his absence neither surprising nor overly upsetting, but it was kind of a bummer that Ms. Delaney wasn’t there, as she’s always been a real sweetheart.

What I want to know is, why didn’t ABC offer panels for one or two of their existing shows, like CBS and NBC are doing with “The Good Wife” and “Community,” respectively?

I’ll give us them credit for setting up a “Cougar Town” set visit for us – that’s happening on the 12th – but I would’ve loved a panel for “Castle,” “The Middle,” or any number of current ABC series.

And why not have an evening function featuring folks from all of their series rather than just their midseason material? I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the fleeting chance to speak with Allison Janney about “Mr. Sunshine.” I’m just saying that the whole day felt like one big missed opportunity.

You know, I was originally going to try and offer up the top 6 quotes from Day 6’s panels, but it would feel forced, so I’m not going to waste your time or mine. I will, however, offer at least one which made me laugh…

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TV Roundup: “Eastbound & Down” renewed, ABC cleans house and more

– HBO has decided to renew “Eastbound & Down” for a second season. I just finished watching the six-episode first season and it was hilarious. There are at least 10 great lines or laugh out loud moments in each episode. If you start to watch the series, be sure to watch through the fourth episode before cutting it from your playlist. Between “Eastbound & Down” and “Summer Heights High,” comedy is alive on HBO.

– ABC has settled on a schedule for the final episodes of “Pushing Daises,” “Eli Stone” and “Dirty Sexy Money” to run this summer. I stopped watching “Eli Stone” early on, and “Dirty Sexy Money” earlier this season, but I’m especially sad to see “Pushing Daises” go.

– “Chuck” is on the verge of cancellation, but the good folks over at ChuckTV.net are doing their best to save the show. You can get free swag if you support their cause.

– “Fringe” fans, you know all of those weird symbols that appear just before the commercial breaks? Well, someone has figured out what they all mean.

  

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TCA Tour, Jan. 2009: ABC newsflash

Stephen McPherson, President of ABC Entertainment, just emerged onto the stage – after having the Jonas Brothers as his opening act, no less – and offered up the following tidbits of information:

* McPherson wouldn’t commit to when or if the remaining episodes of “Dirty Sexy Money,” “Eli Stone,” and “Pushing Daisies” would air. Maybe this is just my perception, but his comments about his regret that they couldn’t give the producers enough time to wrap up their series properly made it sound like he was saying, “If we had, then we’d probably work a little harder to get them on the air, but since we didn’t…”

* As to the “Scrubs” ratings, he’s thrilled for Bill Lawrence and all the guys on the show. “It’s been great for us,” he said. “Another year…? It’d be tough without Zach (Braff), but Bill and I are talking about it.” The talks, however, would seem to be contingent on how the ratings continue to be, so if you’re watching, don’t stop!

* ABC is not going to be picking up “King of the Hill.”

* “Samantha Who?” has frustrated the network with its numbers, but they’re trying to figure out a second series to serve as a solid comedy block.

* The odds of “Life on Mars” returning for a second season seem to be slightly better than even money. McPherson admits that, as far as his ratings expectations for the series, “the bar is not very high,” given that they’ve always battled with getting ratings in the post-“Lost” timeslot.

* As for the end of “According to Jim,” McPherson thinks this is probably the final run, “but we should probably leave that open.”

* With “Private Practice,” he thinks they’ve “really found the show” this season. “I think we’ve really upped the stakes as far as the quality of the medical stories we’re telling,” he said. “We’re really pleased with the numbers.”

  

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2008: The Year in TV – Will Harris

Once the writer’s strike was over, the television industry got back to business with a vengeance, offering up quite a lot of high quality material…so much, in fact, that my TiVo is STILL loaded down with shows I just haven’t had the time to watch. Seriously, I’ve got three episodes of “My Boys” that I’ve been sitting on since July. There just aren’t enough hours in the day…and I’m a full-time TV critic, for God’s sake! But here’s at least some of the stuff that I dug and despised during the course of 2008…and sometime around 2012, maybe I can offer up a complete picture of 2009.

TOP 3 SHOWS

1. “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS

No other sophomore series came roaring out of the gate like this one. Fears that the show had already jumped the shark by getting Leonard and Penny together were dismissing before the end of the second-season premiere, the addition of Sara Gilbert to the cast was an added bonus, and the suggestion that Sheldon is a sex object to physics geeks is almost too funny for words. Mark my words: this is the year that Jim Parsons earns his first Emmy nomination.

2. “30 Rock,” NBC
There’s no truth to the rumor that you can’t be a member of the Television Critics Association if you don’t like “30 Rock,” but, really, what’s not to like? Tina Fey is both gorgeous and hilarious, Alec Baldwin can’t open his mouth without getting a laugh, and, come to think of it, there’s really no-one in this ensemble who isn’t funny. So why do they keep bringing on all of these guest stars? Beats me. But since they incorporate them so well into the episodes, it’s hard to complain.

3. “Life on Mars,” ABC
When I did my 2008 Fall TV Preview, I hadn’t yet seen the pilot for this series, but if I had, it would’ve beaten out “Fringe” for the top spot on my list of new shows I was most excited about. Rising above its “based on a British series” origins, “Life on Mars” has one of the strongest casts on television (Jason O’Mara, Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol, and Jonathan Murphy), a great premise (a police detective gets knocked unconscious in 2008 and wakes up in 1973), and – perhaps most impressively – managed to survive its network’s recent purge of quality dramas. For God’s sake, don’t let it go the way of “Pushing Daisies.” If you haven’t watched it yet, it’s not too late.

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Picking Off the TV Power Rankings One by One

If you’ve checked out the latest edition of Bullz-Eye’s TV Power Rankings (and if you haven’t, you need to go check it out right now), then you’ve seen the love we’ve given to “Eli Stone” (at #16) as well as “Dirty Sexy Money” and “Pushing Daisies” (in our Honorable Mention section).

ABC has responded to our praise…by canceling all three series.

Well, okay, they didn’t officially cancel them. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network chose their words carefully and informed the producers of the trio of shows that no additional hours would be ordered at this time, and the series will remain on the schedule for next week. But that sure as hell doesn’t bode well for any of them to score a back nine.

With “Pushing Daises,” we can at least count on Bryan Fuller to finish the saga of his show in comic book form, and if there’s one good thing to come out of the demise of the Piemaker’s adventures, it’s that Fuller can make good on his declaration that he will return to “Heroes.” But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t sad about all three of these shows losing their fight for life.

  

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