And thus it has begun. The semi-annual dog-and-pony show that is TCA, wherein network executives and talent (and copious handlers) commingle with the faithful corps of television critics from around the country. Ensconced in the Spanish villa-style surroundings of the Pasadena Ritz Carlton, the critics hunker down for up to three weeks of panels with actors from upcoming shows, banking interviews for future articles with often…demanding…questions. While you can find the event’s nuggets of news on our website at broadcastingcable.com, my L.A. colleagues and I will dish out some of the more fun/fluffy stuff for you here on our newly redesigned blog, BCBeat.
Today's first day of the tour, which ushered in a week of presentations from the cable networks, was quiet. Disney/ABC kicked things off with presentations for their new ABC Family and Disney Channel shows. All in attendance were well-behaved, with nary a contentious critic question asked or talent snafu made. ABC Family’s panel looked like things could have taken a turn for the ugly side when one critic started asking Tom Sniegoski, the author of the angel-themed The Fallen books that the network has turned into the original movie Fallen,if he meant for them have religious overtones. The questioner seemed appeased by the answer – that they were more religious than Michael Landon on Highway to Heaven, but not out of the bible or anything.
Disney’s panel was, like, so Raven, with the star and her Cheetah Girl friends on hand to push the upcoming sequel to their first musical movie. The very adult and VERY serious 20-year-old Raven walked the doting critics through why she mysteriously dropped her last name and then readopted it (something about not wanting to confuse the network’s younger viewers at first with two names?), whether being an executive producer on her recent work has changed her (no) and whether she still talks to Bill Cosby, her co-star from her toddler days on TV’s Cosby Show (“I heard through the grapevine he watches some of what I do, but I don’t talk to him as much as I should. We’re all very busy in this industry.”).
Other than that, smooth sailing, said the ABC Family team over some post-panel drinks. They were tickled that the biggest bump in the road was clothing-related: Sam Murphy, a compact actor from the channel’s original series Three Moons Over Milford (which premieres tonight), requested a suit from the show’s wardrobe department be sent to the Ritz for his panel, only to be sent one from avuncular-ly oafish Spin City alum Richard Kind, who had just taped a guest appearance on the show. A wardrobe malfunction that reminds me of the TV Guide party with fashionistas Joan and Melissa Rivers is going on now. Off to check it out.
By Anne Becker