Where to be and what to watch...
By Mark Lasswell -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/24/2005 8:00:00 PM
Monday, July 25
CTAM (known only to its mother as Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing) has adopted a boxing theme for its 2005 summer summit Philadelphia, or “World Cable Heavyweight Conference.” They're also calling it The Thrilla' in Phila'. But Round One of the gathering yesterday turned out to be one round … of golf. Today at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, keynote speaker Jon Bon Jovi (“Musician, Actor, Sports Owner”) chats, presumably, about sports on TV and his co-ownership of the Philadelphia Soul in the Arena Football League. The athletic motif continues tonight with the Disney/ESPN party at the Electric Factory. A CTAM badge will get you in. You don't need no stinkin' badge to watch the premiere of Laguna Beach's second season on MTV (10 p.m. ET). We don't care if you call it a dramality or realama, we can't wait to find out how the pampered LC handles the course load in her first year of college. Oh, wait, we meant: how she handles her romantic entanglement with Stephen.
Tuesday, July 26
It's ABC's turn, today and tomorrow, at the Television Critics Association's summer tour at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. The buzz is good about the network's new fall show Commander-in-Chief, with Geena Davis as the CIC, so the panel session should be reasonably chummy. But five bucks says some crank brings up The Geena Davis Show and a puff of frost wafts across the room.
Wednesday, July 27
FX launches the first-ever drama about a U.S. military conflict while it's still in progress: Over There (10 p.m. ET) focuses on a unit of American soldiers in Iraq and on their families back home. Producer Steven Bochco's NYPD Blue might have been filmed on the streets of New York, but he's not nuts: Over There is made over here—around L.A. and the explosives-free desert terrain near Lancaster, Calif.
Thursday, July 28
Here's how tightly reality TV has wrapped its scaly claws around the throat of contemporary programming: David E. Kelley, once a fantastically productive storyteller (L.A. Law, Chicago Hope, Ally McBeal, etc.) is executive-producing NBC's The Law Firm (premiere, 8 p.m. ET). The flackography: “Trial attorney and legal analyst Roy Black will manage 12 actual lawyers competing against each other while trying real court cases with judges and juries, resulting in outcomes that will be final, legal and binding. Each week, one legal eagle is eliminated, and the top attorney will receive a prize of $250,000.” Which comes out to about 500 billable hours.
Friday, July 29
After three weeks, the TCA summer tour finally draws to a close. Sure, attendees are notoriously testy by the end of it all—and scheduling Pamela Anderson's Fox show Stacked as one of the last panels probably sloshed some gasoline on the fire—but as they pack up, the critics no doubt will already be thinking fondly of the gathering. One luscious buffet after another, endless schmoozing with network talent in the Hilton's Stardust Lounge, dinner by the pool, the CBS Stars Party at the Hammer Museumand dining with Les Moonves at Il Cielo—ah, the memories. On the plane home, newspaper writers from midsize cities calculate how many more three-week trips to L.A. they can score before their publications finally shuffle off into media obsolescence.—Mark Lasswell
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