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Press Tour Diary: 'The Vampire Diaries'

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vampire-diaries_lWHO: Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Katerina Graham, and exec producers Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec, and Bob Levy. MIA: Ian Somerhalder

PREMISE: It’s Supernatural meets Twilight meets Dawson’s Creek. Was totally prepared for this thing to suck. Much to my surprise, it didn’t!

9:18 am/PST: When will the vampire fad go away? “Hopefully not before Sept. 10,” cracks exec producer Julie Plec, referring to the show’s premiere date.

9:23 am: I’m still not clear on why Ian Somerhalder isn’t here.

9:24 am: Kevin Williamson insists Diaries is “not just a high school show. It’s a small town show. Once you get past the vampire premise, we get to telling the story about this town.”

9:25 am: All three actors on the panel claim to have read the books on which the show is based. I believe maybe one of them.

9:26 am: Paul Wesley (Diaries‘ answer to Robert Pattinson) went out of his way not to watch Twilight. “If there are similarities to Robert’s character in Twilight, so be it,” he says.

9:30 am: Williamson initially feared that Diaries would be perceived as a Twilight/True Blood rip-off. “The pilot is tough because there are a lot of similarities to Twilight,” he concedes. “There was no way around it. But we’re switching things around as we get [deeper] into it. We’re not a movie with a beginning, middle and end. We’re a TV series that evolves.”

9:34 am: Even though his character is 150 years old, he’s not some “perv,” Wesley maintains. Glad we cleared that up!

9:35 am: Williamson confirms that he’s writing Scream 4. But with Courteney Cox tied up with ABC’s Cougar Town, “I bought myself a season [to finish it].”

9:36 am: An avid Twitterer, Williamson says he remains puzzled by the 140-character phenom. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to be twittering,” he shrugs. “I get links to weird stuff. I’m sort of exploring [the whole thing].”

9:37 am: Somerhalder is “in every single episode,” Williamson says. “He’s the devil. He just comes to town and makes everyone’s life hell.” Still not clear on why he’s not here.

9:41 am: The entire panel is engaged in a “private” conversation about their recent encounter with True Blood hottie Alex Skarsgard. Specifically, why does he have a Southern accent if he’s Swedish? (I was wondering the same thing when I met him at Comic-Con!) Recalls Plec: “I asked him, ‘Are you Southern?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I’m from Mississippi.'” Mystery solved!

9:46 am: Williamson reveals that a new series regular will soon be joining the cast. “He comes to town with a secret agenda,” he teases.

9:47 am: The panel ends. I’m still not clear on why Ian Somerhalder wasn’t there.

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