Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Press Tour Postscript: How Others Saw It

Press tour ended days ago--already seems like weeks--but I've been writing like mad for people who pay and there is still so much info I wanted to shake out here.
One of the things I've always found interesting is how other reporters and critics cover this same event, often digging out nuggets I never knew about until I read their columns. Others seize a tid bit from a session and spin a whole column out of it, advancing it well past the original spark. Still others simply give the tour their wry eye and perspective, a glass half full or half emptier than my own.
Midway through the tour I had dinner with my 16mm film collecting pal Leonard Maltin who passed along some scuttle but from an Academy event he had attended--that Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and Lionsgate were still far apart on a deal for him to return for a third season on the award-winning AMC series. The subject never came up at the AMC press tour session, raising further suspicions that Weiner was going to be forced off his own show.
So it was a great relief when Variety and others reported at the tail end of the tour that Weiner had a deal to remain as executive producer through seasons three and four. Occasionally in Hollywood, sanity prevails.
Alan Sepinwall was quick to turn this around on his must read TV blog, "What's Alan Watching." Sepinwall, who I hardly had a chance to speak with last week (everybody had their head down, nose in laptops this truncated tour), continues to deliver first rate reports for his readers at the New Jersey Star-Ledger, despite the uncertain future of that newspaper in this killer economic downturn.
Read Sepinwall's fly-on-the-wall take of ABC entertainment president Stephen McPherson's evasive press tour scrum. Seems McPherson, already known for his short fuse, was in no mood to address reports of cast and creative turmoil on the set of his most valuable property, Grey's Anatomy. You'll find the full report here.
Kansas City Star scribe Aaron Barnhart opened up a can of WTF when he asked Rescue Me cast member Daniel Sunjata about the show`s return to post-9/11 storylines. Sunjata told critics that not only does his character think the attack on the World Trade Center towers was an inside job, he does too. Read about that here.
Mr. TV Barn also dug out a cool little side story about sitcom kingpin Chuck Lorre`s latest--and most brazenly aggressive--rejected vanity card. Those are the two second shout out he posts at the end of Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory. Read what Barnhart calls the "best censored Chuck Lorre vanity card ever" here.
St. Petersburg Times TV/media critic Eric Deggans has one of the best BS detectors in the business. Check out how he deconstructs 24 and debunks Jack Bauer`s Gitmo goon tactics here in "Is 24 still relevant in an Obama-fied nation?"
Prickly TV columnist Lisa de Moraes rips everybody and everything in her press tour posts--including fellow critics--for The Washington Post. She smugly dubbed this the "Think I'll Just Take Some of these Dinner Rolls Home to Feed My Hungry Children" tour.
NBC's a pretty obvious target, and she takes dead aim here, especially for their lame executive session where they ducked the one question everybody wanted answered: Why Leno at 10?
Surviving Canadian TV critics all worked their tails off this tour as well. Sample tour reports from the Toronto Star's Rob Salem here, Canwest critic Alex Strachan here, Toronto Sun colleague Bill Harris here and Globe and Mail veteran Andy Ryan, who brings his cool and detached perspective to Fox's full day and night tour here.
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