BC Beat


With Melissa Grego, Stephanie Robbins and John Eggerton

For more BC Beat, go to www.bcbeat.com.

Zingers Fly Fast and Furious at TCA Tour

Broadcast and cable networks come to the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour to spread some industry news. But like any Golden Globes ceremony worth its salt, TCA is also good for making news. Gather that many TV people at one time, and fur tends to fly.

There is, however, no catfight yet between friendly Fox American Idol judges Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi. But questions about tension did bring a typically offbeat response from Abdul: "[DioGuardi] was a stranger I met in New York and moved her into my home in Los Angeles. She was the best roommate I ever had. She walks in her sleep…We're great friends. We have a great history. And it bothers Simon to no end."

Similarly, CBS' Craig Ferguson used some panel time to beg a little leniency for new NBC rival Jimmy Fallon, who's taking over Conan O'Brien's late-night spot on March 2. (Conan departs Feb. 20 to inherit The Tonight Show on June 1.) "Give Jimmy a month before you review him," Ferguson said. He's the reverse Barack Obama. He hasn't done anything yet, and everybody is commenting on his performance."

For his part, Fallon was miffed that a few people were exiting his own session last Thursday. Granted, it followed back-to-back sessions that came without a break (and nature does call), but the ex-SNL star was having none of it, shaming the first guy who got up into staying put. "That's right, sit down," Fallon said. As one woman left the room, Jimmy said: "There's another one. She doesn't like the word 'genre.' It's too French."

Fallon shouldn't engage CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler in a geography battle. When asked whether the success of Canadian series Flashpoint will lead her to more foreign content, Tassler replied, "Well, Canada isn't that foreign."

Fox's Entertainment President Kevin Reilly was asked about the Jay Leno moves by NBC, the network that fired him in 2007. "It's a smart strategic move for them," he said, though he's more concerned with rebuilding Fox's live-action comedy brand "methodically," adding that Fox will "not be leading with our chin." Perhaps with tongue-in-cheek instead.

The same can be said for Amy Poehler, and a question of whether she's jealous of ubiquitous former "Weekend Update" mate Tina Fey. "Amy," a reporter asked, "do you ever get up in the morning and think, 'Tina Fey, Tina Fey, I'll show her?'" Poehler nodded and said, "And then I turn around and wake her up, and we have breakfast together."

Now, that would be news. And for more quips, comments and news, go to http://www.broadcastingcable.com/TCA.

'House' Call

How about this plot for an all-new episode of House: The curmudgeonly doctor (Hugh Laurie) dreams he's actually a TV character, only to wake up and find that a new, real Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital is being built nearby.

It may sound like a sweeps stunt, but U.K.-based architectural firm RMJM has been enlisted to design a new teaching hospital facility for Princeton's University Medical Center, which is moving to, of all places, Plainsboro, N.J. RMJM says the move was pure coincidence rather than, say, Princeton's attempt to gain free publicity.

"Even the sardonic Dr. Gregory House would approve of the new hospital, as it will feature high-tech facilities to streamline the patient's experience from admission to discharge, including self-check-in kiosks," said RMJM in a release. One can certainly see the misanthropic House applauding self check-ins.

So is Fox taking pride in trend-setting for the Ivy League school? Well…some. "I am very impressed," said network Entertainment Chairman and Yale alumnus Peter Liguori, adding, "I would say my colleagues at Princeton are a far cry from the caliber of my colleagues at Yale."

Perhaps, but "Dr. Eli" doesn't have the same ring to it.