Tag: Investigation Discovery

Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: Top 10 Quotes from Day 2

The first half of the second day of the Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour belonged solely to the Turner networks, who had been notably MIA from the summer tour. Although there were unconfirmed reports that they were not entirely thrilled with the dates that had been set for that tour, as most of their summer programming had already premiered by the time the tour kicked off, but during the opening remarks, we were assured that “we ask for time on the critics tour schedule when we can make it worth your while.” Fair enough, then.

After an “Adventure Time”-themed breakfast from Cartoon Network, Adult Swim brought on a plethora of panelists for “Childrens Hospital” (everyone in the above photo was in attendance, plus executive producers Jonathan Stern and David Wain), TNT followed with “Franklin & Bash,” “Falling Skies,” and “Men of a Certain Age,” then HLN and CNN wrapped things up by getting real and presenting the new talk shows from Dr. Drew Pinsky and Piers Morgan, respectively. Given that I ended up pulling one-on-one interviews with Malcolm McDowell, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Breckin Meyer, Garcelle Beauvais, Ray Romano (and Jon Manfrellotti), Scott Bakula, and Henry Winkler, I am hard pressed to have an unkind word to say about the Turner experience…except, that is, the fact that I diligently and politely contacted publicists for both networks and studios in an effort to nail down interviews in advance but was still ultimately left to fly by the seat of my pants and spend the morning in catch-as-catch-can mode.

Our working lunch was brought to us by the unlikely tag-team of BET (“The Game,” “Let’s Stay Together”) and Playboy TV (“Brooklyn Kinda Love,” “Swing”), and from there it was on to the Discovery family of networks: Animal Planet (“Taking on Tyson,” a look into Mike Tyson’s love of pigeons…yes, seriously), Science Channel (“An Idiot Abroad,” with Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and title character Karl Pilkington), Investigation Discovery (“The Injustice Files”), and the mothership, the Discovery Channel (“Gold Rush – Alaska” and “Kidnap & Rescue”).

By then, the excitement / cynicism in the room was palpable: it was time for the OWN Network presentations. We’d been promised a welcome from Oprah, but we didn’t get one. Instead, we got an introduction from network CEO Christina Norman. She’s a very nice lady, but it wasn’t quite the same, and she admitted as much when she came onstage after a lengthy series of clips featuring Ms. Winfrey, saying, “I know: after all that Oprah, I am a massive disappointment to all of you.” Her Majesty did indeed deign to participate in a Q&A with us, but not until after we sat through panels for “Your OWN Show” (10 finalists compete to get their own series on the network), “The Gayle King Show,” and “Our America with Lisa Ling.” After Oprah held court, using what my esteemed colleague Bill Harris of the Toronto Sun referred to as the George W. Bush Technique, which involved offering incredibly lengthy answers in order to minimize the number of questions actually asked.

After the Q&A came to a close (and you can believe that it only ended when Oprah wanted it to end), we were all invited to attend the evening event which, although it was ostensibly brought to us by the OWN Network, nonetheless featured attendees from shows throughout the Discovery family of networks. This resulted in my having close encounters with Mike Tyson, author James Ellroy, and…well, I didn’t actually get to talk to Oprah, but I did stand very close to her (along with Carson Kressley and Nancy O’Dell, hosts of “Your OWN Show”) and breathe the same air as Oprah, so my understanding is that I will now never get cancer…which is nice, of course, but, damn, I really could’ve used a new car.

I know, you wish I’d gotten a new car, too. Don’t be sad, though, as I’m already sad enough for both of us. Besides, I’d much rather you read my selections for the top 10 quotes of Day 2 and leave me wallowing in my own car-less misery. No, don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine…just as long as you don’t forget to come back for my coverage of Day 3.

1. “The one note we did get (for ‘Children’s Hospital’), it was from Warner Brothers…I hesitate to even tell you this, but when we turned in our first script for the web series, Warner Brothers called us up and said, ‘Um, do you think you could cut the shot where we actually see the Twin Towers burning?’ And we were like, ‘Yeah, do you know what? That’s a great note.’” – Rob Corddry, “Children’s Hospital” (Adult Swim)

2. “I actually improvise all my own parts. I don’t know why they hire writers. I enjoy ad-libbing greatly, because I…basically, I can’t remember what the hell I’m doing. What’s the show called?” – Malcolm McDowell, “Franklin & Bash” (TNT)

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James Ellroy weighs in on Ronni Chasen’s murder

Sometimes, you just find yourself in the right place in the right time. Tonight, that place for me was standing next to Jonathan Storm, TV critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer, who was invited over to talk with best-selling author James Ellroy (“L.A. Confidential,” “The Black Dahlia,” “The Big Nowhere”) about his new series for Investigation Discovery. When the publicist for “James Ellroy’s L.A.: City of Demons” – premiering on Jan. 19, FYI – realized that I, too, was a fan of Mr. Ellroy’s work, she immediately hustled me over to join the conversation, where I was privy to the author offering his thoughts on the murder of the well-respected Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen.

“What I think happened,” said Ellroy, “is that you have a guy, an ex-convict, living in a shitty hotel. He’s a dope fiend. He tells everybody on God’s green earth, ‘I’m a hit man. I whacked this guy, I whacked this guy.’ And everybody thinks, ‘Go whack yourself. Fuck you.’ And then he says, ‘I whacked Ronni Chasen.’ So someone stiffed a call to ‘America’s Most Wanted,’ and they just said, ‘Fuck it.’ Beverly Hills P.D., the world’s worst homicide bureau – they don’t have any murders! – they actually decided to execute a warrant off that, which is probably illegal. (But) the guy really did do it. People who knew Ronnie Chasen…she was an abrasive older woman. He pulled up next to her on this bicycle, they shared a look, she flipped him off, he capped her and then ran.”

Why, asked Storm, would he ride his bicycle out there in the middle of nowhere on Sunset?

“Because he’s a psycho,” responded Ellroy. “And because, almost always, the solution for a crime is that banal and that stupid. I talked to an LAPD guy who handled the suicide when the killer killed himself, and he said, ‘Beverly Hills PD’s got their dick in the wringer on this one.’ And then the ballistics matched. They found the gun. So Beverly Hills PD got lucky.”

But couldn’t somebody have seen that guy and planted the gun with him afterward?

“No,” said Ellroy, with a smirk. “That’s a crime novel.”

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