That was a fun panel for "24," even if there was zero news.
Now? It's time for "Under the Dome." Last year, the show was a smash hit for CBS.
This summer, ratings have been plummeting on a weekly basis.
Don't expect anybody to care about those ratings, but expect much concern about The Pig Flu and Yearbook Girl and other recent twists.
On to the live-blog.
11:19 a.m. We're kicking things off. Many, many people left the room after "24." And the moderator wants to call this "a runaway summer hit." sigh.
11:21 a.m. "We know the end of this season, but we won't tell you," teases Neal Baer. They just finished production. Baer promises we're going to see more meanness from Big Jim soon. Yay? First? Clips from Episode 7).
11:23 a.m. The first clip is Big Jim threatening Awful New Science Teacher Character, the worst of several awful new characters this season. It's kinda like the showdowns between Hank and Walter White, only if Hank were acting opposite somebody who couldn't act.
11:24 a.m. The second clip? SPELUNKING! It looks hilarious.
11:26 a.m. Are we going to see more characters die? "Of course they are. No one is safe under the dome," Baer says. They have "heaven" on the ceiling of their office with pictures of departed characters. He says that they've kept the body count low to start the season so they can rev it up. "It's tough. You grow so close to that person," Koch says of saying good-bye to actors. He was the one who worked most with Britt Robertson, so he misses her. And can people come back from Heaven? Jolene Purdy came back. "When you're dead you're dead, but that doesn't mean you can't be an avatar at some point and come back," Baer says, hinting there's a possibility departed faces might return.
11:28 a.m. "Once of our characters might get out of the dome this season," Baer teases. "Literally," Vogel says. Vogel adds that they've come up with interesting ways to broaden the world. Lefevre notes that the characters would still be wrestling with demons and relationships even outside of the dome.
11:30 a.m. "I read the scripts and go, 'Oh. Better him than me,'" Cahill says of people dying. He's enjoyed joining the cast this season.
11:30 a.m. Will we find out what Angie saw in the locker before she died. "We will definitely find out what's in that locker this year," Baer says. "I don't know. Yeah. We will find out who the killer is," Koch says of Angie's killer. "She's young and pretty. I got jealous," Lefevre jokes, presumably. "Revenge might be taken," Koch promises.
11:32 a.m. Will Big Jim and Junior ever get along? "I keep trying, but he's a tough kid to raise. He didn't have a great father," Norris says, adding that their story is fueled by "the difficulty of trying to raise a psychopath." "That's the pot calling the kettle psychopath," Lefevre says. "Don't judge, man. Just because you don't understand me," Norris adds.
11:32 a.m. Will we have a love triangle for Sam? I don't especially care. And nobody wants to answer.
11:35 a.m. What has the evolution of Barbie been like? "I think we see more of what makes Barbie tick. He may have some violent tendency in how he gets there, but he really is there for the people," Vogel says.
11:37 a.m. Joe wants to know who kills his sister. Ford that this is part of Joe's transition from young man to adult and that he's using Barbie as a role model. "He also spends most of the show running around with a tablet trying to get emails," Lefevre says. Baer says they have a digital character working out of HoundsofDiana.com and trying to communicate with Joe and then that character will be introduced in Episode 8. There are multiple jokes about the show's product plugs.
11:39 a.m. How have fans been responding? Koch says people have started recognizing him. "It's great, though. Everyone has such a great positive response to the show," Koch says. Ford likes that they've been filming in a smallish town and that returning to work with the same crew was great.
11:40 p.m. How important is Stephen King's involvement? "He's such an icon and a legend. It's great to see him on the set. It's great to know that he has a voice in what happens," Norris says.
11:41 a.m. Do they still have a four or five season plan? "We have great adventures ahead. I don't know that we even know what those are yet," Baer says. "We have a lot of stories yet to tell and we can tell them in some cool ways," Baer says, teasing that the tunnels will become important.
11:42 a.m. "I feel like my personality is a little bit more balls-to-the-walls, so it's nice to be able to play that," Lefevre says of her character becoming more like her this season. "It was really cool to play a character who was more contained and then to be able to slowly let her out," Lefevre. She says this season is about dividing lines.
11:44 a.m. Is anything jaw-dropping coming up? I dislike moderators who try to get spoilers they're never going to get. Sigh. Vogel says that we're going to come face-to-face with Barbie's father "in a new and open world" and we find out that Barbie could have been a trust fund baby, which explains the life he chose to live in the military. "We find out some other familial secrets as well towards the end of this year," Barbie says. "There are reasons behind Sam's actions and motivations," Cahill says. "He's not just a crazy psychopath is what he's trying to say," Baer says. "Big Jim publishes a book of poetry," Norris jokes. Lefevre says that we're going to get our first glimpse at how people in the outside world have viewed the dome.
11:47 a.m. Our first crowd question is for Koch. What's more important to Junior: Learning about his mother or learning who killed Angie? "I think he's a person who craves love and affection and approval so much... " he says, but he wants to find out who killed Angie first, because he can't worry about Mom until he gets out of the dome.
11:49 a.m. Will Junior ever get reprimanded for what he did with Angie last season? "I think, in a way, Angie's death is one way he's reprimanded," Koch says. "Yeah, it really hurts you that she died," Norris says. Koch promises more pain for Junior.
11:50 a.m. Who would they choose to be trapped under a dome with in real life? Ford would take his best friend Garrett. "I would tie my kid to my wife and try to take them both," Cahill says. Koch would take Dean. "I'd take Britney Spears," Norris says. "I was going to take my dog, but if he's taking Britney Spears, I'm taking Clive Owen," Lefevre says. Vogel takes Chuck Norris. And Baer would take CBS. Sigh.
11:52 a.m. What will Stephen King's involvement mean now? Baer says that King writing the premiere this season was about his imprinting his permanent involvement. "We wanted Stephen to do the first episode this year, so that he could lay the groundwork for this season," Baer says. "We talk to Stephen all the time," Baer says, adding that King wants them to kill more characters and that he looks at every script. Baer says that Spielberg and his Amblin group, they're also involved. Vogel calls King "disturbingly normal."
11:54 a.m. Questioner asks Lefevre to deliver a Victoria line from "Twilight," specifically "I'm the one with the wicked curveball." Oy.
11:54 a.m. "I don't think you can ever really run away from your first love, so I don't think he will," Ford says of Joe and his affections for Norrie.
11:57 a.m. Last Question: Why should Brazilians watch "Under the Dome"? "I think the show is a parable for our times," Baer says. "Our show is really about how do you get along when resources are short?" he says. And the moderator makes fun of the Brazilian soccer team. Ouch.
That's all, folks...