TCA Tour, Jan. 2009: “The Beast”

You need to watch “The Beast” on Thursday night. Seriously, you really do. It’s awesome. If you’ve ever been a bit iffy about Patrick Swayze’s acting chops, you won’t be by the end of the first episode. Whether it’s because he felt an affinity for the part of an undercover FBI agent who may or may not be corrupt or because he knew he was sick and wanted to offer up the strongest possible final performance, I’ll say this for his work on the show: if it isn’t the best acting job he’s ever turned in, it’s damned close. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to score a proper one-on-one with him during his time at the TCA tour (though I did submit a series of questions to him via E-mail, which I’m still hoping to get answered), I was still very excited about the prospect of being able to see him at the panel for “The Beast” and maybe get the opportunity to ask him *a* question in person.

Of course, that opportunity didn’t present itself. As we sat in the ballroom, awaiting the beginning of the panel, Abbe Raven, President and CEO of A&E Television Networks, approached the podium and broke the disconcerting news that Swayze had checked himself into the hospital. From there, Bob DeBitetto, President of A&E Network, clarified the situation more specifically: Swayze had checked himself into the hospital this morning for observation after coming down with pneumonia. He did not make this decision, however, without making sure that certain announcements were made on his behalf.

“Patrick did want me to tell you that he is very sorry for being unable to attend this morning, but he plans to get back to promoting ‘The Beast’ as soon as he is back on his feet and feeling well again,” said DeBitetto. “Patrick also asked me to tell you that he is unbelievably proud of the work that he and the entire ‘Beast’ team have done, and he wanted you to have an opportunity to speak to the creative team behind this great show and his costar. He thanks everybody for all the outpouring of support that he has been receiving recently.”

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Patrick Swayze checks into the hospital

I don’t generally get to be present for breaking news, but this time I was. I turned up for A&E’s panel about Patrick Swayze’s new series, “The Beast,” only to be apologetically informed that Swayze was not in attendance, having checked himself into the hospital for observation after having contracted pneumonia. It’s the price of chemotherapy, of course, to find one’s self in a weakened state and prone to becoming further ill as a result, but Swayze personally requested that the panel go out without him, so that we could speak with the creative team as well as his co-star, Travis Fimmel.

I won’t lie to you: I’m both disappointed by Swayze’s absence and totally sympathetic for his situation. Here’s hoping he’s able to get back on his feet.

  

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