<p>ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee</p>
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ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee

Credit: ABC

Press Tour '11 Live-Blog: ABC Executive Session

Paul Lee meets with the Television Critics Association

It's Sunday Morning! After a late night for the Television Critics Association Awards, reporters are gathered in the Beverly Hilton hotel ballroom for ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee's opening press conference...

Click through for the excitement, which is sure to include a "Desperate Housewives" announcement and more...

9:00 a.m. The "Desperate Housewives" announcement arrives before Paul Lee. This will, indeed, be the final season of what was, indeed, briefly a landmark series. I'll inevitably write up a full story on this in a bit. Lee will almost certainly have more to say anon.

9:05 a.m. Paul Lee has been at this gig for a year now and he calls it "a crazy job." He says ABC has "a hell of a lot to brag about." The bragging begins with "Modern Family" and with "Grey's Anatomy" and "Dancing with this Stars." He also celebrates "Body of Proof," the network's first new drama hit in years. He admits, though, that ABC "has a lot of work to do."

9:07 a.m. Lee is the latest exec to SWEAR that their network is all about programming year-round. He's throwing around a lot of pretty empty jargon. He's new referred to both "Revenge" and "Apartment 23" as "underrated." But who the heck has been rating anything? 

9:10 a.m. Paul Lee says he'd had doubts about "Once Upon a Time" as an ongoing story, but he's seen three scripts and, "I'm now fully confident we can sustain it for three episodes."

9:11 a.m. On "Desperate Housewives," Lee says, "It is an iconic show and we're so proud of it." 

9:11 a.m. What does ABC get out of nostalgia-driven shows like "Pan Am" and "Charlie's Angels"? "It does have a built-in audience," Lee says of "Charlie's Angels" with its many generations of recognition, but he adds "The proof will be in the pudding." Of "Pan Am," Lee says "there's nothing cheap, glossy and silly about this show." Lee has now mentioned his background as a director twice. 

9:13 a.m. How do these comedies represent Paul Lee's comic philosophy? It's a network about empowered women and the plight of men around them. Lee repeats that ABC is a network that guns for affluent women and these shows reflect that. And what about the reviled "Work It"? Lee admits, "I'm a Brit. It's in my contract. I have to do a cross-dressing show every year."

9:15 a.m. There was a whole process of script and conceptual evolution that brought "Once Upon a Time" to air. He thinks the "Once Upon a Time" "changes the rules" and will be "appointment television."

9:15 a.m. Much praise for Jane Levy, the young star of "Suburbatory." Of their overall message, ABC plans on opening out a "wider" and "Heartland" brand of comedy on Tuesday night. "Empowered women is definitely a theme of the network. It's one of the reasons we do so well with affluent women," he says. But he adds, "In the end, it's all about emotion."

9:16 a.m. Lee says that Castle will have a really cool storyline involving a Marvel character. "We're extremely excited by having Marvel in the fold," Lee says, adding that they're aggressively developing properties with The Incredible Hulk and Jessica Jones.

9:20 a.m. "No," is Paul Lee's answer to my question about whether the network is worried that the Mancession doesn't actually exist anymore and that the network is working two years behind the Zeitgeist. Oh well. 

9:21 a.m. "Certainly those are not the projections that we see," Lee says in response to projections that ABC could slip into fourth place for next season. "We think we're well-positioned."

9:22 a.m. What are ABC's plans for the newly added Hallmark Hall of Fame? "The truth is, it's an illustrious brand and I think we're a great environment for them," Lee says. Up first is "A Leap of Faith." He thinks TV movies can still be appointment viewing. The deal is for three movies a year.

9:23 a.m. Lee is happy with "Shark Tank." 

9:24 a.m. A critic asks if there have been thoughts about moving "Rookie Blue" into the regular season. This critic hasn't actually looked at the ratings. Lee says he's proud of "Rookie Blue" and wouldn't rule out airing it in the seasons.

9:26 a.m. ABC's internal guys are very enthusiastic about "Revenge." 

9:26 a.m. Is there any future for "Hallelujah"? "I love that idea and we've started to redevelop it," Lee says of the Marc Cherry pilot.

9:27 a.m. If "Mad Men" can't draw ratings, why will "Playboy Club" and "Pan Am"? "'Pan Am,' when you watch it, is a much brighter and broader canvas," Lee says. He says it's time to "take some risks in broadcast," citing "The River" as the kind of show we haven't seen for a long time. "The fun of these chairs is to start taking risk," Lee says of his position. Lee says that the second episode of "The River" has "so much heart to it." He also says that "Steven Spielberg is really engaged in this one."

9:29 a.m. It's implied that many of the midseason shows are better than the fall shows. Why? Lee says that January, April and June can all be great months to launch shows. "What we don't want to do is have all of our shows together," Lee says.

9:30 a.m. If ABC values women, why cancel those two beloved soaps? This isn't Paul Lee's job and he's perfectly happy to pass the buck.

9:31 a.m. Regarding "Work It," a critic asks, "Seriously? Come on, Paul." He says "Sometimes you pick up a pilot because it makes you cackle with laughter." Lee grins and adds, "We didn't think this room would like it. And there's some pleasure in that." ABC: Taking Pleasure In Programming Trash. Excellent.

9:33 a.m. Out comes Marc Cherry to discuss the end of "Desperate Housewives," a topic that actually didn't draw a single question during the panel.

9:35 a.m. "I think the only thing harder than creating a hit show is knowing when to end it," Cherry says. "I wanted to go out while the network still saw us as a viable show, while we were still doing well in the ratings, while we were still a force to contend with."  Cherry says that the end-date discussion began in his first discussion with Paul Lee. "We decided that this was the right time and I feel so good about it," he says. The show will have a whole year to "reflect on how lucky we all were, what an amazing ride this has all been." He repeats that they're going to "end this in the classiest way possible." Cherry had a close relationship with Steve McPherson, but he's also been close with Lee.

9:37 a.m. Questions for Cherry. How did the stars react when they heard? He's spoken to over half of the cast. "It was bittersweet and lovely, because the women knew it was a possibility, but they didn't know," Cherry says. "People said some very lovely things to me about how I changed their lives and careers and I said it back to them," he says, calling the actors family. "I love my cast," Cherry says.

9:40 a.m. Cherry had said he might have enough for a ninth season. "If we were going to go nine, I have no idea what that was going to be," Cherry says. "The mystery of what's going on this season harkens back to the first season," Cherry says, going back to the mystery of Mary-Alice. Part of the consideration for Cherry is that he's wanted to do some development. "It was really like a back and a forth and we all kinda made the decision together," Cherry adds of his creative team.

9:43 a.m. Any possibility for a spinoff? "I'm just going to put you in a van and have you solve mysteries," Cherry says he told Eva Longoria, who he loves more than life itself. Cherry reminds us that he came out of comedy and "Desperate Housewives" was his drama-type thing and it has made him a better writer and "I don't want to be one of those guys who just repeats himself constantly."

9:45 a.m. "We'll see what happens with that," Cherry says evoking memories of the Edie Britt character.

9:46 a.m. Marc Cherry wanted more time to fix "Hallelujah," which he says he only got half-right. "You kinda have to get it perfect. It's a big swing," he says of timing for the redeveloped pilot. 

9:46 a.m. Will it be an extra-long season? "I never want extra episodes. This is so hard," Cherry says. "The network has come to me at times wishing they could get more episodes, but this is such a complex show to write," Cherry says.

That's all, folks...

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Press Tour '11 Live-Blog: FX Executive Session
Credit: FX

Press Tour '11 Live-Blog: FX Executive Session

John Landgraf meets with the Television Critics Association

It's the final Saturday (August 6) of the Television Critics Association press tour and we're getting sleepy. And by "getting sleepy," I mean "have been nearly comatose for three or four days now." Before the TCA Awards this evening, though, we have an action-packed day of FX panels with favorites including "Sons of Anarchy," "The League," "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and much more.

But first... 30 minutes with FX President and General Manager John Landgraf.

Click through...

9:02 a.m. We begin with the news that Landgraf has renewed his contract for another three years. That's a lot. And Landgraf justifies his new contract by talking about FX's 17 percent year-to-date increase in ratings. He had kind words for "Justified," "Archer," "Wilfred" and more.

9:05 a.m. First piece of news: "Wilfred" renewed for a second season.

9:06 a.m. More news: "Louie" has been renewed for a third season.

9:06 a.m. MORE news: FX has formed FX Canada. That's cool, eh?

9:07 a.m. EVEN MORE NEWS: FX has ordered "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" for two additional seasons. This will make "Sunny" the longest running comedy in basic cable history, apparently.

9:08 a.m. Does FX envision "American Horror Story" as a close-ended 13? "It's designed to go multiple years. Some aspects of the show will be close-ended each season," Landgraf says. He adds that while some elements will be close-ended, but other elements -- certain characters and aspects of the core haunted house -- will be part of an ongoing mythology.

9:10 a.m. Landgraf says that his time as a producer, specifically working on "Reno 911!" inspired FX's approach to comedy, specifically shooting cheap and fast. "When I got to FX, I had a strong ambition to take what I'd learned as an executive producer and bring it to basic cable," he says.

9:13 a.m. Is FX still The Flawed Male Network? "We've really tried to broaden," Landgraf says, referencing "Dirt" and "Damages" and "The Riches" as examples of the network's commitment to female characters. He suggests that Katey Sagal is every bit a "Sons of Anarchy" lead. "If you look at FX as a channel, it's 52 percent male and 48 percent female, so it's very closed to balanced viewership," Landgraf says, suggesting that FX is actually more balanced than the general TV landscape as a whole. "I think what it does is it provides contrast between FX and other channels," Landgraf says, saying that between Turner and the networks, most of TV is female skewing. He references his wife -- that'd be Ally Walker -- as a woman who finds most of TV's female-centric programming to be too soft.

9:16 a.m. FX is very happy with its Big 12/Pac 12 sports package. It's part of what allows FX to be in the conversation with the bigger cable networks like TNT and USA. FX still wants to get up to seven comedies on-air. It's up to five. "We're not quite done yet," Landgraf says, adding that FX also has a strong focus on drama. He references "Powers" and "Outlaw Country," two drama pilots that were made in the same development cycle as "American Horror Story." "So far, what I've seen from 'Powers' and 'Outlaw Country' looks real good," he says.

 

9:19 a.m. FX also has an option to pick up a 10th season "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." He teases that "Sunny' Season 7 is the show's funniest season. He says that the "Sunny" team is trying different kinds of stories as they move forward. With dramas, FX wants to "find an optimal balance" in telling the whole saga, making sure they get to end, whenever possible.

9:21 a.m. What did FX like about "Powers"? Well, they liked the comic, of course. "It's a really, gritty, edgy, very real, very dark cop show. It also happens to have superhero elements in it," Landgraf says. "What we saw is the possibility to do a really different, interesting take on a cop show," Landgraf says, pointing out that FX hasn't had a cop show since "The Shield." He thinks "Powers" has the emotional weight to have a seven-season run, saying it has the potential to be "a 90-hour movie." He points out that most TV superhero shows have be 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. shows, but "Powers" "aspires to be a serious drama." When will FX be making a decision on it? Well, he's only seen dailies. FX will see the pilots within a month or six weeks, so a decision will be made in two months or three months.

 

9:25 a.m. Will this be a back-to-basics season for "Sons of Anarchy"? "I think that the audience will be really satisfied with the fourth season of 'Sons of Anarchy,'" Landgraf says, point out that this season's primary conflicts are internal to the club. Landgraf argues that "The Shield" had seasons that were more favored and less favored "but they're all necessary to the telling of the whole saga." In that vein, Landgraf had no conversations with Kurt Sutter about focusing the drama and bringing it back in this season. "If we clamp down on our showrunners and say 'We are the arbiters of what the audience wants...' we're going to miss out on some tremendous experiments," Landgraf observes. He says that his definition of leadership is the willingness to let people experiment and sail ships into uncharted waters. "I can't abandon that philosophy towards our showrunners," he says.

9:29 a.m. Is FX looking for different things now than maybe five or 10 years ago? "Terriers" and "Lights Out" are finally invoked. Can just character dramas succeed? "To some extend," Landgraf admits. He says it's getting harder and harder for original dramas to even get awareness, much less to get people to watch." Landgraf says that FX still aspires to be both literary and populist. He says "The Shield" and "Rescue Me" are examples of shows that check both boxes.

9:33 a.m. "I don't think it will," Landgraf says, though he agrees that there may be arguably too much scripted programming on TV. "I think when the consumer can't even differentiate how much product there is, there's probably too much," he says. He points out that in this landscape, "renewal" or "cancellation" no longer can be equated to "success" or "failure." He suspects that "American Horror Story" is going to be a breakthrough piece of television, but "American Horror Story" couldn't exist if "Terriers" and "Lights Out" don't get canceled, but that doesn't mean the canceled shows weren't successes on some level.

 

That's all, folks...

 

 

 

 

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<p>Dinosaurs!</p>
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Dinosaurs!

Credit: FOX

Press Tour '11 Live-Blog: FOX's 'Terra Nova'

Dinosaur talk from FOX's new big-ticket drama

FOX's "Terra Nova" is shooting in Australia, so it's a bit of a roll of the dice which stars are going to be liberated for public appearances.

Two weeks ago, Stephen Lang was the star capable of escaping production Down Under for Comic-Con promotion.

This week, the Television Critics Association press tour is lucky enough to get Jason O'Mara and Shelley Conn.

We're also getting producers Brannon Braga, Rene Echevarria and John Cassar.

Let the live-blogging good times roll...

3:39 p.m. PT. The first question refers to some really awful changes that were made after the pilot was first screened for a small group of critics. "It was our desire to engage you in the Shannon Family story," Rene Echevarria says of the Act I exposition that cripples the show. 

3:40 p.m. "It gets easier," Jon Cassar says of progress on shooting since the long-delayed pilot. He adds that the weather has been cooperating.

3:40 p.m. Shelley Conn is very pretty. She's playing Elisabeth Shannon, wife to Jason O'Mara's Jim. She's basically just reciting her bio, which is basically what she was asked to do. "It's a dream come true for me, really. I never imagined I would be sitting here with these people," Conn says. It's an honor to be sitting next to Brannon Braga. 

3:42 p.m. Jason O'Mara is asked about getting back into the time travel business. Darnit. The American "Life on Mars" wasn't about time travel. They were on a rocket ship. To Mars. To have a gene hunt. A GENE HUNT. "I was aware of the similarities when I read the script, but the differences are so overwhelming I can't really compare the two," O'Mara says.

3:43 p.m. Ray Bradbury's name is invoked for some reason. Brannon Braga compares it to "The Sound of Thunder." Braga raves that their visual effects team is doing advanced things with motion capture dinosaurs and motion capture animals. "We're creating things as we go along to make it possible," Braga says. Echevarria said that several visual effects houses rebuffed them and said it wouldn't be possible and that even five years ago, this show wouldn't be possible.

3:43 p.m. A critic says it was hard for him to act in front of a green screen and asks the actors how they prepared. "I think experience is probably the best thing," O'Mara says. He adds that his biggest advantage is that he gets a second take. O'Mara also singles out Stephen Lang's experiences on "Avatar" as a big plus. "I've had several personal interactions with these creatures. They weren't there on set, but I felt them on me, taking chunks out of me, ripping my clothes," O'Mara says. 

3:48 p.m. "It's not record-breaking," Brannon Braga says of the number of executive producers, noting that it's fewer than there were on "24." Echevarria says there are many executive producers for a variety of different reasons and that many of them are "creative partners." Steven Spielberg has weighed in on visual effects, concept art, casting and scripts.

3:49 p.m. Our perception is that this is a difficult undertaking. Where are they in production and in the series? They're currently shooting episodes 8 and 9. They're in post-production on 3-through-5, but also a bit on the second part of the pilot. "It has its challenges. Australia, it's almost like time travel itself. It's morning there tomorrow. You have to have special calendars and you always have to double-check like, 'Is it Tuesday here or Tuesday there?" Echevarria says. "There's lots of whiz-bang, but it's not about that," Echevarria adds. Braga insists that their proudest accomplishment is the cast, rather than the dinosaurs. "We're also cheaper than the dinosaurs," O'Mara cracks. 

3:52 p.m. "Absolutely," Echevarria says on whether they'll be able to get the visual effects completed on time every week. "There's a pipeline," he says, admitting that there was a learning curve. He promises that in episode two, we'll meet Slashers, which are like nothing we've ever seen before.

3:53 p.m. The new pilot has eased over the Butterfly Effect by saying it's an alternate time-line. "They're colonizing another time period," Echevarria says. 

3:54 p.m. "Dudes in animal suits" are doing MoCap dinosaurs, specifically the aforementioned Slashers. 

3:57 p.m. Marital difficulties between the main couple have also been smoothed over between the original pilot and the current pilot. Nobody on the panel wants to say "testing" was the reason for these changes.

 

3:58 p.m. Brannon Braga says that Steven Spielberg has been involved from day one, that he's wanted to add verisimilitude, to make things feel real. O'Mara says that Spielberg has even been directing performances, albeit through intermediaries. "His movies have probably had more impact on television than his television," Braga says of Spielberg. Jon Cassar calls Spielberg's TV work as "daring."

4:00 p.m. What's gonna be happening in the future as we go along? "The happenings in 2149 will figure into our storytelling," Braga says. There's a conspiracy in the future with people who have a different vision for "Terra Nova." The fringe group in the past is called The Sixers, which raises the ire of a Philadelphia-based reporter.

4:02 p.m. "We write it as an adult show," Braga says, but adds that they hope it will become a family show. "It's not 'Jurassic Park.' This is an entire ecosystem of weird creatures," Braga notes, adding that there isn't a certain number of dinosaur sightings required each episodes.

4:05 p.m. What's it like being in Australia? Conn's a fan. "There's a sentiment in Australia to make sure that they do take care of the natural beauty," she says. "It makes our job easier as actors," O'Mara says. Cassar praises the technical community and says that while the acting base in Australia isn't what you'd find in New York or LA or Vancouver, it'll do.

4:10 p.m. For Cassar, differences and similarities to "24"? "To me, it's very much the same," Cassar says, reminding us that "24" was really about Jack and his family, while "Terra Nova" is really about Jim Shannon and his family. "From my end, as a director, that's how I'm concentrating my efforts to make sure that works better than anything else," he says.

4:11 p.m. "Would probably need to start production in the early spring," Braga says of how much time they'd need from FOX to get to work on a second season, in the event of a renewal.

4:12 p.m. Producers stumble when asking if there are any stakes for the people in the future if they're not in the same time-line and there's nothing they can do to fix the future. "This is very much the beginning... these are the pioneers," Braga says. But an early episode will deal with the first murder in Terra Nova.

4:14 p.m. Yes, it's a family drama and it's not about the dinosaurs, but will science fiction fans want to watch? Braga says yes and compares this to the family (crew) focus of "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

 

That's all, folks...

 

 

 

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<p>Kevin Reilly</p>
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Kevin Reilly

Credit: FOX

Press Tour '11 Live-Blog: FOX Executive Session

Kevin Reilly -- no Peter Rice -- meets with the TCA

The past few TCA press tours, FOX Entertainment President Kevin Reilly has shared the dais with FOX Chairman Peter Rice, whose greatest contribution has been attempting to prove that he does, in fact, watch television. On Friday (August 4), it's only Reilly.

Let the inevitable fireworks begin...

11:34 a.m. Kevin Reilly says that, alas, he cannot confirm anything about Jennifer Lopez on "American Idol." He warns us that this won't be a newsy session, but that FOX is proud of its shows this year. He predicts that FOX is going to have success in every genre this year. That means that he's optimistic about "New Girl."

11:35 a.m. First question is about "Glee" and cast morale. "I was extreme upset myself to learn about this on Twitter... I'm kidding," Reilly says, saying it's taken on a little bit more heat and momentum than it actually. "This show is such an undertaking and the management of the whole enterprise..." he begins to give us an impression of the overall scope. "It's a big management undertaking," Reilly says. "I think that Ryan and his group of associates there do a phenomenal job of managing that," he says. He adds that the possible spinoff is still in the wind. He promises this will be a back-to-basics year on "Glee." He says, "'Glee' is an incredibly creative enterprise," adding that the worst you can say is that it's "too much of a good thing." 

11:40 a.m. "Those guys get along really well," Kevin says, adding that "Ryan [Murphy] is who he is and that's why I love him." He continues to emphasize that there are no problems on "Glee." He ignores my question about whether or not there's a perception problem, even if there's no actual problem. "I think it's really going to play itself out when you see the work this season."

11:42 a.m. "The history of FOX has been a patchy fall," Reilly admits. FOX is looking forward to the ALCS this year, hoping that the Red Sox and Yankees might boost the network. Yes, he has high hopes for "The X Factor," but he looks across the week and feels good about the other nights. "I want to be a year-round network," Reilly swears. "We've got multiple shows that could work. We know about the noise that 'Terra Nova' is going to make," he says, even threatening that "we're going to be a force in comedy this year." He salutes "Raising Hope" and "New Girl." He makes no mention of "I Hate My Teenage Daughter." For good reason.

11:44 a.m. Will the "Glee 3-D" movie boost the show? "I think it's neither here nor there for the series," Reilly says.

11:45 a.m. What's up with Seth MacFarlane's "Cosmos" and why are they doing it? "This is a very unique property. It really doesn't feel like a natural properly on FOX," Reilly admits it. He values the property and says that in addition to people loving the original "Cosmos," it had an ancillary benefit in drawing people to TV. "There's something about the brand that I think is enduring," Reilly says. Oh right. NatGeo is a sister network. He adds that "there's talk about a feature component" to "Cosmos" and that it will have "a long tail."

11:47 a.m. There will be a few weeks in which potential sixth or seventh games of baseball may force FOX to push "X Factor" to Tuesday nights, but otherwise it will be "pretty manageable." Most of the baseball will be over the weekends.

11:48 a.m. Poor "America's Most Wanted." Why has it been reduced? "We have some real legacy shows and that was one of them," Reilly says, calling it "an unsung hero." But apparently the show was surprisingly costly and "AMW" had become a financial loser. "We don't want to just reduce the show down to a nub," Reilly says. "That real estate... we're not going to be in the repeat business anymore," Reilly says of the need to get encores onto Saturdays. There will be specials and John Walsh is looking for a new network home.

11:50 a.m. What's happening with "Breaking In"? FOX still plans on going to a four-comedy block for the spring. They still have "Little in Common" and "Teenage Daughter" for the spring. "I liked 'Breaking In.' We all like 'Breaking In,'" Reilly says, calling it "a judgment call." Reilly says "Breaking In" still has a shot to be part of that four-comedy block. "Stranger things have happened," Reilly says, but he also clearly says that they haven't ordered anything, merely extended the option on the actors.

11:51 a.m. Is FOX confident "Terra Nova" will be able to deliver weekly episodes? Reilly has seen five episodes now. He admits that expectations were so elevated that they didn't want to put anything out premature. It sounds as if the special effects are going to push every episode to the last second. "They're right on schedule to where they need to be," Reilly swears. As for what "Terra Nova" brings to FOX, Reilly says he hopes this will be a show that demands the attention of viewers. "Every drama is a big bet. There is no inexpensive drama on television and that includes cable," Reilly says. "Terra Nova" has already been sold well internationally and because of amortized costs, it isn't such a big bet. He claims that even more than the concept and the effects, he likes the cast. "I think we've got a real shot with this," Reilly says.

11:55 a.m. The reality competition genre isn't cheap anymore, but in terms of the real estate they take up on the schedule, "The X Factor" and "American Idol" are still good value and that they are still highly profitable as far as advertisers are concerned. Reilly doesn't doubt, by the way, that a scripted show will be No. 1 for a season again someday. 

11:57 a.m. What are FOX's expectations for "Fringe" on Fridays? "One of the good things about having a strong network is that you can support creative shows that deserve to be on the air," Reilly says, calling "Fringe" one of the great victories for FOX last season. "I don't expect 'Fringe' to grow. It's a pretty complex show," Reilly says. "If 'Fringe' can do exactly what it did last year, we're going to be very, very happy with it and we'll see what happens in May," he adds.

11:59 a.m. And what about the future of "Bones"? "I think the producer would like to keep it going and we'd like to keep it going," Reilly says of possible future seasons for "Fringe." "We've been pretty darned happy with the performance of 'Bones' on Thursday night," Reilly adds.

12:00 p.m. What impact will "American Horror Story" on "Glee"? "Even if I had the talk, he wouldn't listen anyway," Reilly says of Ryan Murphy and the need to manage time. Reilly points out that up til this point, "Glee" has been written by three people and three people only and that this season will have a full staff. Reilly repeats that there won't be any big guest-star-driven episodes -- that means no Gwyneth -- or big theme-driven episodes. The fall "Glee" episodes will have a clear arc, with a graduation at the end. 

12:03 p.m. Will "House" be in its last season this year? "I can't confirm that it's the last season. We've talked pretty publicly about the potential for that," Reilly says. They're going to talk with Hugh Laurie and the creative team. "They want to go out strong, so we're going to revisit this later in the fall," Reilly says. FOX's only decision is whether this will be the last "House" season on FOX. Universal will still be able to pitch the show to other networks (NBC, duh).

12:04 p.m. "Million Dollar Money" drop is dead. Duh.

12:05 p.m. "It's the shows that bring them in," Reilly says of whether or not viewers still have brand loyalty for individual networks. FOX has research proving that viewers do, indeed, see FOX as being somewhat different.

12:06 p.m. "I thought it went pretty well. I loved it," Reilly says of the "X Factor" panel. He raves about "the dark charm" of Simon Cowell. "You can't resist him," Reilly says of Cowell. "I love the composition and electricity of this panel," Reilly says of his "X Factor" team. If he's referring to electricity," he may have missed Nicole Scherzinger's comatose mumbling.

 

That's all, folks... 

 

 

 

 

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<p>Rachel Bilson of 'Hart of Dixie'</p>
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Rachel Bilson of 'Hart of Dixie'

Credit: The CW

Press Tour '11 Live-Blog: The CW Executive Session

Mark Pedowitz meets with with TV critics for the first time

This will be our first executive panel with Mark Pedowitz at the head of The CW. We're accustomed to a certain brand of non-answers after years with Dawn Ostroff at the podium. Will Thursday (August 4) morning's Television Critics Association press tour panel be any different? 

Click through...

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Press Tour '11 Live-Blog: Showtime Executive Session
Credit: Showtime

Press Tour '11 Live-Blog: Showtime Executive Session

David Nevins meets with the Television Critics Association

Showtime Entertainment President David Nevins has met with the press before, but he's only beginning to put his executive stamp on the network. I'm not sure if anything exciting will happen at his conference, but just in case it does, I'll be live-blogging.

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<p>This picture is from Nina Tassler's January TCA appearance.</p>
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This picture is from Nina Tassler's January TCA appearance.

Credit: CBS

Press Tour '11 Live-Blog: CBS Executive Session

CBS Entertainment boss Nina Tassler talks Charlie Sheen and more

CBS has been TV's most-watched network for most of the time I've been covering this beat, a reliable fact that has reduced the drama quotient for CBS executive press conferences with the Television Critics Association.

In addition to being good, CBS has also been a little bit lucky. When we met with CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler back in January, Charlie Sheen had become a minor embarrassment to the network and to "Two and a Half Men," but he hadn't yet bloomed into the show-stopping problem he would become just weeks later, so Tassler received a couple Charlie Sheen questions and was able to move on with an otherwise uneventful panel.

Tassler can probably expect another few Sheen questions during Wednesday (Aug. 3) morning's TCA chat, but otherwise things should be mostly smooth.

Or will they? Click through for a full live-blog.

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Press Tour: 'Playboy Club' is about empowerment, not exploitation apparently
Credit: NBC

Press Tour: 'Playboy Club' is about empowerment, not exploitation apparently

Stars and producers explain why their drama isn't too hot for TV
I don't have a Benjamin Moore paint sample sticks handy to list the myriad different colors that Television Critics Association press tour panels can come in.
 
Without going into the rainbow of shadings, there are certain obvious favorites that pop up several times per tour:
 
There's The Panel That's Funnier Than The Show It's Promoting.
 
There's The Panel Of People We Love Promoting A Show We Hate.
 
There's The Confusing Serialized Show Panel Where Only The Creator Gets Questions.
 
The Monday (August 1) morning panel for "The Playboy Club" was a prime example of The Battle Between Critical Frustration and Panel Talking Points. In this type of panel, the critical populace has a collective bee in its bonnet and the publicists on the respective show have done an expert job warning in the stars and producers which questions are coming. The result is a delicate tap dance wherein we attempt to circle the same question from a dozen different angles looking for a crack in solidarity or, at the very least, an approach that doesn't trigger an auto-response in the same way you'd try tricking an artificial intelligence robot. It's a TCA version of the Turing test.
 
In this light I can only salute the cast and producers of "The Playboy Club," who came into the Monday panel with a determined message and stuck to it with dogged enthusiasm from all fronts. It leaves me with no choice but to report this apparently unimpeachable fact: "The Playboy Club" is all about empowerment, just as The Playboy Club was all about empowerment back in the 1960s. That's their story and they're sticking to it. [And they may even be right!]
 
Specific statements of empowerment after the break...
 
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<p>Jack Passion of 'Whisker Wars'</p>
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Jack Passion of 'Whisker Wars'

Credit: IFC

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 87

Dan and Alan talk Press Tour, 'Whisker Wars' and much more

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls. It's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast time, doncha know.
 
We're at the Television Critics Association press tour, so that's what most of our conversation is about this week, but we also reviewed IFC's "Whisker Wars," chattered about this week's "Breaking Bad" and, after a week off, discussed the first season finale of "Twin Peaks."
 
The breakdown:
"Whisker Wars" 01:45 - 11:20
Television Critics Association Press Tour - 11:25 - 53:50 
"Twin Peak" - 53:50 - 01:02:45
"Breaking Bad - 01:02:45 - 01:12:40
 

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 the podcast...
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<p>NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt. This picture is from NBC Upfront in May, but we assume he's going to look fairly similar.</p>
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NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt. This picture is from NBC Upfront in May, but we assume he's going to look fairly similar.

Credit: NBC

Press Tour '11 Live-Blog: NBC Executive Session

Robert Greenblatt meets the press in his new job

When the Television Critics Association met with NBC back in January, Robert Greenblatt had yet to be formally installed as NBC Entertainment Chairman, which left us with an executive-free press tour session.

Monday (Aug. 1) morning represents Greenblatt's first time meeting with us in his current job, but he has many years of Showtime panels under his belt. That makes him far better prepared to illuminate NBC's ongoing difficulties for reporters than several of his less media-savvy predecessors. 

Let's see if it makes a difference as Greenblatt sits down to chat about subjects inevitably including "The Voice," "Playboy Club" controversies and the evergreen topic of Jay Leno.

Click through...

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