EW's managing editor talks about the Fall TV Preview

It’s show time again: while the creative minds of Hollywood put the finishing touches on the new TV season, we at ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY put some brainpower into a production of our own — the Fall TV Preview.

For seven smash years, photographer George Lange has been on EW’s development team, memorializing everything from big duds like Harts of the West to a little show called Seinfeld with some of the most striking images in print. ”We once had to spend an incredible amount of energy explaining our intentions,” says Lange, who, in the past, has gotten stars literally to stand on their heads. ”But it’s like an institution now.”

This year, the new inductee to the institution was stylist Bradley Garlock, the man who conceived the sets and props — our most elaborate ever — that brought the seven featured fall shows to life over four weeks of shooting. ”We thought it’d be great to play up the idea of color and give some character to the environment of each show,” says Garlock, 31, whose past creations for EW include a miniature Hollywood sign demolished by media giant Howard Stern (#369, March 7). So Buffy the Vampire Slayer was placed in a blood red high school wood shop (”making coffins,” explains Garlock), and the romantic comedy Dharma & Greg merited a warm, orangy hue.

”As soon as the actors saw the sets, they responded with an added enthusiasm that lent more spontaneity and energy to the shoots,” says EW’s associate picture editor, Alice Babcock. During Kirstie Alley’s lilac-toned shoot, recalls Garlock, ”Kirstie suddenly remembered a lavender wig she’d seen across town at a lingerie store called Goddess.” He had it on the Veronica’s Closet star’s head within the hour. ”It was perfect.” (For more backstage gossip, plus video and photo outtakes, check out EW Online — ew.com.)

As with the fall TV season itself, though, not all went as planned during the shoots. The Dharma & Greg session was stalled for three hours because the set’s back wall, which was en route from Pasadena, fell off the truck seven times. And when Brandy Norwood and Michael Eisner took time out for our Cinderella shoot (which was set on an enormous soundstage on the Sony lot, where MGM’s The Wizard of Oz was shot), production on The Wonderful World of Disney musical was brought to a standstill for about an hour — costing the film’s producers an estimated $15,000.

Extravagant? Of course. Hard work? Definitely. But the new TV season is an annual event EW can’t get enough of. Says Garlock, ”I’m already thinking about next year.”