Tag: The X Factor

Bullz-Eye’s TCA 2010 Winter Press Tour Wrap-Up: Simon Signs, Conan Conquers, and Patrick Stewart Just Plain Rules

The 2010 winter press tour of the Television Critics Association took place at the Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa from January 8th – 18th, which you probably already know from the various postings which were done during and have continued since my attendance at the event. It’s a regular tradition, however, that I do a wrap-up piece which summarizes my experiences during the tour, and since I invariably seem to get a positive response from those pieces, I always try to make it as entertaining a read as possible. Here’s hoping I’ve succeeded as well this time as I have in the past…but if I haven’t, I feel certain you’ll let me know.

Most enjoyable panel by a broadcast network: “Great Performances: Macbeth,” PBS.

I’ll freely admit that I was predisposed to enjoy the panel due to the fact that it featured the newly-knighted Sir Patrick Stewart, but I spoke to others afterwards who declared it to have been the best panel of the tour up to that point. Partial credit for the success goes to the critics in the audience, who consistently offered up intelligent questions about the subject matter at hand…and let me assure you that this is not always the case. Even on an occasion when an attempt at going in a unique direction fell flat, such as when one writer asked Stewart if he was familiar with FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” (it’s been called a Shakespearean saga on motorcycles), it led to the revelation that Ron Perlman has played an interesting place in Stewart’s life. “I was having dinner with Ron Perlman the day that I was offered Jean-Luc Picard in ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation,’” he said, ‘so I have always looked on Ron as being a lucky omen. So you mentioning his name today, I hope, means that the rest of the day is going to be brighter than it begin.” At the very least, Sir Patrick’s remarks during the panel brightened mine.

Most interactive panel by a cable network: “The Choir,” BBC America.

Gareth Malone is a man on a mission to bring music to those who may not think that they have an interest in it, creating choirs in various schools in England and helping the youth of today raise their voices in song. We soon discovered that this extended to television critics as well. “In England, everyone knows that when I enter a room, everyone’s going to sing,” Malone began ominously, “so I would like to invite you to leave your Apples and come up onto stage, and we’re going to have a little singsong.” The immediate reaction was less than enthusiastic, with at least one person piping up, “It’s against the bylaws!” Malone would not be denied, however. “It will be very brief,” he assured us. “I’ll be very, very, kind. I promise not to do opera. Honestly, it’s going to be very, very gentle. I promise. Risk it. There won’t be very much. Typists, abandon your typing!” In the end, he managed to get a couple of dozen of us up there…yes, I was among the huddled masses…to perform a not-as-bad-as-it-could’ve-been chorus of “Barbara Ann.” As there is neither an audio recording nor a YouTube clip to prove otherwise, you may feel free to believe that I personally sounded fantastic.

Best intro to a panel from a cable network: “Dance Your Ass Off,” Oxygen.

All I know about this show is what I’ve learned from watching clips on “The Soup,” but when a panel starts off by having its panelists literally dancing their way down the aisles and onto the stage, at the very least, it gets your attention.

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Breaking TCA News: Simon Cowell to leave “American Idol”

Fox’s executive panel at the TCA Press Tour was very late beginning this afternoon, but as Peter Rice (Chairman of Entertainment) and Kevin Reilly (President of Entertainment) took their seats, Rice assured the gathered group of television critics, “We have a good reason for keeping you waiting.”

He was right.

Minutes later, surprise guest Simon Cowell had stepped onto the stage, taken pen in hand, and officially signed the paperwork to bring his popular UK series, “The X Factor,” to Fox in 2011. He will serve as the show’s executive producer as well as a judge. There is, however, a down side to this development: it means that this will be Cowell’s final season as a judge on “American Idol.”

Prior to Cowell’s surprise arrival, Rice had acknowledged that Cowell’s future on Fox was directly connected to whether or not the network would pick up “The X Factor,” a series for which he has long established considerable passion.

“There has been a lot of speculation, partly because we didn’t have an an agreement,” said Cowell, after taking his seat. “We reached an agreement at about half past ten this morning.”

“More like half past eleven,” corrected Rice, with a laugh.

“I’ve always had a fantastic relationship with Fox,” Cowell continued. “We did talk about me staying on both shows, but then when we looked at the practicalities of that, it was just impossible. I made a commitment to staying on the show in the UK, and I didn’t think it was right for me to also do two shows in America. I can barely manage to do ‘American Idol’! We had a lot of discussions about it, a meeting with Peter in October, but it was done very gentlemanly, the whole thing.”

As far as Cowell’s departure from “American Idol,” he likens it to having a good player on a good football team: they work well together, but when the player retires, the team is still successful. In the end, it comes down to the fact that “American Idol” is not Cowell’s show, whereas “The X Factor” is.

“It’s still close to me,” he said, “and I made sure that ‘Idol’ would be protected. The show could last for ten or twenty more years. I’m confident that it will continue to be the #1 show, and everyone’s committed to keeping it that way.”

Rice described Cowell as “irreplaceable,” taking a pass on making any comment about who the network might be pursuing to fill his spot on the series while offering assurances that the network is fully aware of the necessity of maintaining the same level of energy for “American Idol.”

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