<p>Stephen Lang in &quot;Terra Nova.&quot;</p>

Stephen Lang in "Terra Nova."

Credit: FOX

Press Tour: FOX offers a tiny glimpse at 'Terra Nova'

Footage looks expensive, but can Brannon Braga run a good sci-fi show?

FOX's "Terra Nova" is more than four months away from premiering, and we have more than eight months until the second episode airs. Between the long lead time and the amount of special effects involved in creating a world where humans have traveled back in time millions of years to live among the dinosaurs, it's understandable that FOX didn't have much to show the critics at press tour beyond a three-minute sizzle reel.

Still, I have some absurdly preliminary thoughts on the footage (and you can see some early publicity stills of the show), but mainly on what was said at the press conference afterward, coming up after the jump...

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<p>JJ&nbsp;Abrams hopes &quot;Fringe&quot;&nbsp;does okay on Fridays.</p>

JJ Abrams hopes "Fringe" does okay on Fridays.

Credit: FOX

Press Tour: JJ Abrams on 'Fringe' embracing serialization

Loves FOX, worried about Fridays

JJ Abrams is a busy, busy man. He has three pilots in development for next season, including "Alcatraz" at FOX, plus another one currently being shopped, is directing the movie "Super 8," and doing early work on the "Star Trek" sequel.

He's so busy that he long ago passed on day-to-day responsibilities for running "Fringe," but he still feels such passion for the show that he keeps coming to FOX's press tour events to preach the gospel and keep the show out in the public. (In comparison, he didn't come to any ABC press tour events after the first one for "Lost.") He knows he'll gather a crowd, and that in among the questions about "Star Trek" and all his other projects, he'll be able to sing the praises of the little sci-fi series that could. So he came to FOX's party at this tour relatively early, and stayed well past closing time, surrounded at all times by a throng of reporters.

Earlier in the day, FOX president Kevin Reilly had said that the show's move to Fridays (which happens next week) wasn't automatically a bad thing - "I beg you to not write the eulogy prematurely" - and that if the bulk of the show's Thursday audience followed it to Friday, the show could run "for years."

Reilly had also noted that the show's appeal had become more insular as the writers began focusing more on serialized stories, but that he and his fellow executives had accepted A)that the show's audience was going to be the show's audience, and B)the show was much better this way.

So when I got into one of the scrums with J.J., I asked him about how and why the writers accepted that this is what the show should be like. A quick transcript after the jump...

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<p>Holt McCallany and Catherine McCormack in &quot;Lights Out.&quot;</p>

Holt McCallany and Catherine McCormack in "Lights Out."

Credit: FX

'Lights Out' - 'PIlot': Breathe in, breathe out

A very strong start to the new boxing drama

FX's boxing drama "Lights Out" debuted tonight. I already offered a general review over the weekend, and posted a long interview with showrunner Warren Leight yesterday. Now I have some thoughts on the revamped pilot episode coming up just as soon as I buy a biography of Eleanor Roosevelt...

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<p>John Noble on &quot;Fringe.&quot;</p>

John Noble on "Fringe."

Credit: FOX

Press Tour: Fox execs on 'Fringe,' 'American Idol,' 'Terra Nova' and more

Why Fridays may not kill 'Fringe,' and why sci-fi is expensive

The last few times FOX execs Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly appeared before the press at the Television Critics Association press tour, there was some obvious story dominating the day, usually involving the "American Idol" judging panel.

But the judging panel is now firmed up and at work, and had just appeared right before the FOX executive press conference, and so Rice and Reilly wound up being quizzed on a whole bunch of topics, including the future of "Fringe," the cost of "Terra Nova," the failure of "Lone Star" and, of course, their hopes for both "Idol" and the Simon Cowell-starring "X-Factor."

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<p>The cast of ABC's &quot;Off the Map.&quot;</p>

The cast of ABC's "Off the Map."

Credit: ABC

Review: ABC's 'Off the Map'

A Shonda Rhimes protege makes a very Shonda Rhimes show

"Grey's Anatomy" creator Shonda Rhimes can dazzle, and she can infuriate, and often the two extremes come from the same emotional place. Sometimes, her fondness for melodrama will give you the riveting Super Bowl bomb episode; other times, it gives you Katherine Heigl having sex with a ghost. When you go for broke, sometimes you get rich, and sometimes you just get broke.

The new medical drama "Off the Map" (Wednesday at 10 p.m. on ABC) is produced by Rhimes but was created by "Grey's" writer Jenna Bans. Not surprisingly, it feels like a very accurate imitation of what Rhimes does, but with many of the rough edges sanded away. In the two episodes I've seen, there aren't any particularly wince-inducing moments, but nor are the various grabs for the heartstrings as successful as they are when "Grey's" is at its best. No lows, but no highs, either.

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<p>Joe (Ray Romano)&nbsp;takes the guys golfing on the &quot;Men of a Certain Age&quot;&nbsp;mid-season finale.</p>

Joe (Ray Romano) takes the guys golfing on the "Men of a Certain Age" mid-season finale.

Credit: TNT

'Men of a Certain Age' - 'Let the Sunshine In': Mid-season post-mortem with Mike Royce

On the brief, truncated season, Ray Romano's mind bets, Andre Braugher's weight and more

"Men of a Certain Age" wrapped up the first half of its season tonight, and the end came so quickly that a lot of us (myself included) were a little shocked to realize we'd only be getting 6 of the season's 12 episodes now, with the rest coming in the summer.

So when I got a chance to talk to the show's co-creator Mike Royce during an afternoon at press tour, I asked him about the odd scheduling, and he said he and Ray Romano take the full blame for it. In lieu of a review of the mid-season finale - which I thought had some funny moments at the hotel (particularly Owen's heater) and then some fine acting from all three leads in the final scene - I'm going to run the full transcript of my conversation with Royce, which covered the scheduling, TNT's feelings about the show, the stories told so far this year, and even a few hints about the back half of the season. Some very mild spoilers, but "Men" is a show that's kind of spoiler-proof, no?

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<p>Brittany Snow in &quot;Harry's Law&quot;</p>

Brittany Snow in "Harry's Law"

Credit: NBC

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 54: Press tour, 'Lights Out,' 'Off the Map' & 'Harry's Law'

Dan and Alan mix in reviews of new shows with anecdotes from the TV critics' tour


It's the most wonderful time of the year for the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast! I'm in California for the TV critics' press tour, which means Dan and I get to record a few podcasts in the same room. No technical issues, no guessing at the other's body language - just briliant damn insight and hilarious comedy. (Maybe) 

This week's first episode (there may be another later in the week) is a mix of press tour anecdotes and reviews of shows debuting over the next week-plus. The run-down: 

Press Tour - 00:00:00 - 00:21:10
"Off the Map" - 00:25:40 - 00:35:50
"Lights Out" - 00:36:00 - 00:50:05
"Harry's Law" - 0051:20 - 01:01:30 

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, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.

And as always, feel free to e-mail us at sepinwall@hitfix.com and/or dan@hitfix.com if you have questions you want answered on the show. Please put the word "podcast" in your subject line to make it easy to track them down amid the hundreds of random press releases we get every day.

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<p>&quot;Cougar Town&quot;&nbsp;was one of six ABC&nbsp;series to get an early ABC&nbsp;renewal today, courtesy of network president Paul Lee.</p>

"Cougar Town" was one of six ABC series to get an early ABC renewal today, courtesy of network president Paul Lee.

Credit: ABC

Press Tour: ABC president Paul Lee wants 'smart with heart'

Renewals and philosophy talk, but no concrete vision yet

Back in August, Paul Lee appeared at press tour on literally his first official day as president of ABC entertainment. He had had nothing to do with any of the new shows being previewed that day, or the schedule on which they had been placed, or really anything about the network of which he was now in charge. So he mostly sat around and talked about the kinds of programming he enjoyed, and might one day bring to the network. (In my favorite moment, he lamented the fact that "The Middleman" didn't work out during his tenure at ABC Family.)

Five months later, Lee has actual tenure on the job, has been responsible for canceling some shows ("The Whole Truth") and the rescheduling of others (postponing the Dana Delany crime drama "Body of Proof" from fall to spring). And today at press tour, he announced the renewal of six ABC series: "Castle," "Cougar Town," "Grey's Anatomy," "The Middle," "Modern Family" and "Private Practice."

But because those shows were, again, all developed and greenlit by his predecessors, and because we're still many months away from seeing the actual new shows Lee chooses to place on the network, the ABC executive session was still largely devoted to hypotheticals and philosophical questions.

(You can read Fienberg's exhaustive live-blog of the event here.)

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<p>Holt McCallany and Catherine McCormack in &quot;Lights Out.&quot;</p>

Holt McCallany and Catherine McCormack in "Lights Out."

Credit: Frank Ockenfels / FX

Interview: 'Lights Out' showrunner Warren Leight talks boxing drama

FX brought him in to fix the pilot, kept him around to run things

Warren Leight is not necessarily the first writer you'd think of to run a boxing drama, but he's the man in charge of FX's excellent new series "Lights Out," which debuts Tuesday at 10 p.m. (You can read my review here.)

A Tony-winning playwright (for "Side Man," a play about his jazz musician father), a showrunner for several seasons of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," and the showrunner on the second season of HBO's psychiatry drama "In Treatment," Leight is a small, cerebral guy. (Back in the summer, he appeared at a press tour session alongside his hulking leading men - Holt McCallany as retired heavyweight champ Patrick "Lights" Leary, Pablo Schreiber as his manager brother Johnny and Stacy Keach as their father - and thought, "One of these is not like the other.") But he had a childhood passion for the sport, and when FX felt the original version of the "Lights Out" pilot was having creative problems, they brought in Leight to get it back on track, then left him in charge when they picked up the series.

I talked with Leight last week about the changes he made when he took over, his own history with boxing, what he learned from the coterie of ex-fighters who came in to meet the writing staff, dealing with the expectations of fight movie fans, relocating the series to Tony Soprano country, and more. As with a lot of these showrunner interviews - and just like the one I did with Leight at the end of his "In Treatment" stint - the answers are long but, I hope, interesting.

I've seen the first five episodes of the season - which deal with Lights' increasing problems in retirement and his desire to get back in the ring despite the objections of wife Theresa (Catherine McCormack) - and I feel comfortable that none of what we discuss is any kind of significant spoiler. (I even deleted a few specific references made by one or both of us, while leaving in the larger point that brought us there.)

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<p>Dick Winters watching Steven Spielberg give an Emmy acceptance speech for &quot;Band of Brothers.&quot;</p>

Dick Winters watching Steven Spielberg give an Emmy acceptance speech for "Band of Brothers."

Credit: AP

RIP, Dick Winters: Hero of D-Day, central character of 'Band of Brothers'

A quiet, self-effacing, inspiring leader of men

Dick Winters, World War II veteran, winner of the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism on D-Day, and the central character of HBO's "Band of Brothers" miniseries, has died.

If you watched the miniseries (which I reviewed on my old blog a couple of summers ago), or read Stephen Ambrose's book on the exploits of Easy Company that inspired the miniseries, or watched the various documentary tie-ins, then you know that Winters (played in the miniseries by Damian Lewis) was a calm, selfless, inspiring, exceedingly decent man, and the very model of what Tom Brokaw dubbed The Greatest Generation.

After the jump, three clips: one involving real members of Easy Company singing the praises of Winters (he's the first man who speaks), one featuring Lewis at the end of the D-Day episode of "Band," and one the "Band" recreation of the assault on the German guns at Brecourt Manor on D-Day that won Winters his biggest medal:

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