As a rule, the members of the Television Critics Association don't like getting stood up on. Sometimes, though, we understand. 

A pall was cast over Friday afternoon's A&E's new drama "The Beast" when A&E President Bob DeBitetto took the stage before the start of the panel and made a very serious announcement.

"Patrick has asked that I tell you that he has checked himself into the hospital for observation after coming down with pneumonia," DeBitetto said. "As anyone who has had a friend or family member who's undergone treatment for cancer must know, chemotherapy can take a toll on your immune system and illnesses are an unavoidable part of it."

He continued, "Patrick did want me to tell you that he was very sorry he's 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 feels well again. 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, indeed, the "Beast" panel continued without hesitation, even as dozens of reporters typed furiously to get up stories about what producers called a bump in the road for Swayze's much-publicized battle with cancer.

Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer early in 2008 after he had already shot the pilot for "The Beast." Doctor's gave him the all-clear to shoot "The Beast" in the spring and production on the first season was completed in November.

A&E will premiere "The Beast" on Jan. 15.

More from the panel later...