<p>Jennifer Lopez</p>

Jennifer Lopez

Credit: Joel Ryan/AP

Press Tour Live-Blog: FOX Executive Session - Will we get an 'Idol' announcement? No.

Will Jennifer Lopez or Steven Tyler make a surprise TCA appearance? Or will it be business-as-usual? No. And yes.

FOX is not opposed to big bombshell announcements at the Television Critics Association press tour. In fact, no other network can equal FOX's appreciation for TCA drama. Case in point: Simon Cowell coming out on stage to announce his "American Idol" departure and sign his "X-Factor" contract.

So if it's even slightly possible for FOX to bring out its new "American Idol" judging panel, you can be sure it'll happen during the network's executive session on Monday (Aug. 2) morning. And if it's not? Kevin Reilly and Peter Rice will be peppered with nonstop questions about the failure to supply Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler or Mystery Judge X.

Click through to follow the excitement (or possible lack thereof)...

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<p>Paul Lee</p>

Paul Lee

Credit: AP

Press Tour Live-Blog: ABC Executive Session

New Entertainment President Paul Lee meets the press before his first day on the job

ABC's Sunday (Aug. 1) Television Critics Association press tour day began with Communications EVP Kevin Brockman lugging a giant, stuffed pink elephant up on the stage. The pachyderm was a not-so-subtle representation of the elephant in the room, specifically last week's abrupt resignation by ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson. 

Attempting to cut off all future questions regarding McPherson, Brockman referred critics to Tuesday's network statement and declared, "Tuesday's statement still holds. It is literally all we are going to say on the subject. So, you may ask, but you will get the same answer."
Would it work? Click through to see how new Entertainment President Paul Lee would handle facing the press before working a day at this particular job...
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<p>Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw of 'Undercovers'</p>

Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw of 'Undercovers'

Credit: NBC

Press tour: 'Undercovers' team agrees race shouldn't be an issue, but it is

Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw topline NBC's new spy series
When I wrote about my initial impressions of the "Undercovers" pilot, I found it impossible not to mention (and salute) the significance of a big ticket fall action show hitching its star to a pair of relatively unknown black actors, in Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
It's the sort of thing that shouldn't be worth mentioning at all, which several readers tried to argue (not that they could cite an iota of prior precedent for what executive producers Josh Reims and J.J. Abrams are doing here). Still, the very first question at Friday's (July 30) Television Critics Association press tour panel for "Undercovers" dealt with race-blind casting.
[More after the break...]
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<p>Jeff Gaspin</p>

Jeff Gaspin

Credit: NBC

Press Tour Live-Blog: NBC Executive Session

Jeff Gaspin and Angela Bromstad answer journalistic inquiries

Last time Jeff Gaspin and Angela Bromstad met with the TCA, they had to defend Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and dismal fall and a schedule in disrepair. 

On Friday (July 30), the NBC Universal Television Entertainment Chairman (Gaspin) and the NBC Entertainment President (Bromstad) should have an easier time, if only because they don't have to deal with an abrupt executive departure or with the disintegration of the "American Idol" judging panel.

It still probably won't be an easy Q&A. Click through for the details.

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<p>This isn't Dawn Ostroff, but Dawn Ostroff employs her.</p>

This isn't Dawn Ostroff, but Dawn Ostroff employs her.

Credit: The CW

Press Tour Live-Blog: The CW Executive Session

Dawn Ostroff meets with the press to discuss whatever is exciting at The CW

I wasn't sure that there was really anything that CW Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff could say at her Thursday (July 29) Television Critics Association press tour panel that could possibly be worth live-blogging.

I tweeted as much and at least 10 people tweeted me that I should live-tweet the session just in case it's announced that "Veronica Mars" will be back for a fourth season. And at least eight of those people were joking!

In the spirit of that joke (and the one or two people who just may have been serious), I'll live-blog the panel. Just in case "Veronica Mars" is coming back for a fourth season.

[Early hunch: It isn't.]

Click through. You never know...

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<p>Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy of 'Mike &amp; Molly'</p>

Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy of 'Mike & Molly'

Credit: CBS

Press tour: 'Mike & Molly' team swears their show isn't all fat jokes

Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy star in CBS' new romantic comedy
The two main characters on CBS' "Mike & Molly" are both overweight. That's not us being hyper-analytyical or hyper-critical. 
Mike (Billy Gardell) and Molly (Melissa McCarthy) meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. Both characters spend much of the pilot episode discussing their weight or having other characters discuss their weight. On at least two occasions, Mike upends or crushes tables with his girth. On the surface, the focus of "Mike & Molly" appears to be only on one thing.
So on Wednesday (July 28) morning, the "Mike & Molly" team took great pains to tell the Television Critics Association that their new Monday night comedy won't only be a collection of fat jokes and pratfalls, even if such things come organically.
"I broke a chair before I came over here," Gardell told the press tour crowd. "I'm not kidding. It happens. I'm heavy."
"Mike & Molly" will be moving into the 9:30 Monday slot that transformed "The Big Bang Theory" from a moderate success into a breakout smash, a slot behind "Two and a Half Men," which remains TV's most watched comedy. It's no surprise that all three comedies come from Chuck Lorre, who defended the themes of his latest production.
"[T]his may sound ridiculous to some of you, but this isn't a show about weight," Lorre said. It's a show about people trying to make their lives better and find someone that they can have a committed relationship with. And it's also an ensemble show. It's about real people, real problems. If... we're talking about this issue come Episode 6, we've got a serious problem because it would get tired really quickly. It's not enough to hang a series on, not by any stretch of the imagination. Mothers, sons, fathers, lovers, friends, money, health, work -- those are the things you write about."
Added series creator Mark Roberts, "I didn't set out to write a show about Overeaters Anonymous. I wanted to write a show about two people at the beginning of a relationship, and that was the part of it that intrigued me the most... [I]t's just a show about people with problems, which I think is the reason I wanted to do a show like this, was to get real people back on TV, because problems are usually what comedy is built around. So most of the stuff on TV seems pretty unrealistic to me.  People are -- they dress really nice, and their apartments are really nice. And I don't buy any of their problems."
In Gardell and McCarthy, "Mike & Molly" has a pair of proven scene-stealers with long resumes spent mostly as supporting actors. Even given the subject matter, their casting as the comedy's lead almost counts as courageous.
Cracked Lorre, "[T]elevision would normally have cast Chris O'Donnell and Courteney Cox as the people who meet at Overeaters Anonymous."
But, again, "Mike & Molly" isn't a show about weight, or at least that's what Lorre says. And co-star Swoosie Kurtz posits a theory on its universality.
"I think it will help people to feel not so alone," Kurtz said. "We all kind of build these little  self-imposed prisons of loneliness for ourselves, because of our feelings of inadequacy and insecurity, whether it takes the form of weight issues or a million things."
In that respect, "Mike & Molly" is almost old-fashioned, which also isn't a coincidence.
"Chuck and I, very early on, talked about 'Marty' as a template for this thing. And I think, you know, 'The Honeymooners' certainly factors into it.  So I do think it's incredibly cool that we're followed by 'Hawaii Five-0.'  That feels nice and retro too. It's a pretty traditional sitcom.I think we wanted to do a meat-and-potatoes type of multicamera show."
"Mike & Molly" premieres at 9:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 20 on CBS.
<p>CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler</p>

CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler

Credit: CBS

Press Tour Live-Blog: CBS Executive Session

CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler discusses being No. 1 and whatnot

Welcome to the Television Critics Association press tour, kids. Tuesday (July 27) was the official kick-off with a day of set visits, but Wednesday is when things really get rolling, with CBS taking the dais to celebrate being No. 1 (in total viewers and Jerry Bruckheimer procedurals) and to express schadenfreude over the plight of the Lesser networks.

Sepinwall will be writing analysis based on CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler's executive session. I'll be live-blogging, if only as a way of taking notes for Sepinwall. 

Click through for the highlights of TV's least controversial network...

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<p>James Badge Dale of 'Rubicon'</p>

James Badge Dale of 'Rubicon'

Credit: AMC

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 27

Daniel Fienberg and Alan Sepinwall talk Comic-Con, 'Rubicon,' Press Tour and 'Mad Men'


Happy Wednesday, Boys and Girls! Except that it's Monday. Not that the days of the week make any sense anymore.
Following last week's Road Trip Fiasco (WE KNOW!!! WE'RE SORRY!!!), we're in a hotel room recording this week. So Alan sounds perfect and I sound... less perfect, but also less horrible.
In the podcast, we debrief after the events of Comic-Con, provide a Television Critics Association press tour preview, discuss AMC's "Rubicon" and also go into some depth on Sunday's "Mad Men" premiere.
Intro and Comic-Con -- 00:00 - 14:05
Press Tour Preview -- 14:05 - 24:10
"Rubicon" -- 24:10 - 31:35
"Mad Men" - 31:35 - 48:52
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.]
And here's this week's podcast...
<p>Chris Colfer of 'Glee'</p>

Chris Colfer of 'Glee'

Credit: FOX

Comic-Con Live-Blog: 'Glee'

No Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison or Jane Lynch, but plenty of stars hit the stage

If you're Comic-Con, how do you fight off the typical Sunday blahs? By paneling the eternally chipper "Glee," of course. Many of the biggest names from FOX's breakout musical-dramedy hit were absent on Sunday (July 25) afternoon in Ballroom 20, but plenty of GLEEk favorites remained.

Click through for HitFix's live blog of the "Glee" festivities...

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<p>'The Vampire Diaries'</p>

'The Vampire Diaries'

Credit: The CW

Comic-Con Live-Blog: 'The Vampire Diaries'

Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev share vampy secrets

I'm on a late-afternoon Comic-Con live-blogging roll. The "Fringe" panel was fun and it's now time for "The Vampire Diaries," the day's last TV panel in Ballroom 20. Yesterday's late-afternoon vampire-themed Ballroom 20 panel was a packed session for "True Blood." Can "TVD" live up to that standard?

Find out after the break...

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