From the TV networks' winter press tour, the scoop on a ''Smallville'' death, some ''Idol'' flirtation, and Ellen DeGeneres' life as a dog

By Tim Stack
Updated January 18, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST
Credit: Smallville: Sergei Bachlakov

Tiresome nitpicking from reporters (e.g., arguing about the plausibility of 24: ”Couldn’t they take a minute and have a sandwich?”). Awkward network presentations (The WB’s communications director, Keith Marder, walked on stage to the sound of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s ”Baby Got Back”). Bizarre promotional swag (Nip/Tuck facial tissues, anyone?). Yes, dear readers, it’s time for the 2006 TCA Winter Press Tour! Held at Pasadena’s Ritz Carlton Hotel, the semiannual Television Critics Association conferences allow the networks to trumpet their new and returning shows for a conference room full of often-cranky TV writers — like me. Here are the highlights and the lowlights from Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 16 and 17, featuring panels from The WB and Fox.

Super-sized hype After screening a teaser for Smallville‘s pivotal 100th episode, airing Thursday, Jan. 26th, the room was abuzz (and a little misty eyed) over the news that a major character will bite the dust. I’ve seen the episode in its entirety — anyone out there want to know who dies? Okay, I’ll tell you: It’s [redacted by editor for Tim Stack’s safety]. How sad is that?

All the news that fits on a spice rack? During the panel for The WB’s new Ally McBeal-ish dramedy Pepper Dennis, starring Rebecca Romijn, one reporter asked the producers why they chose to name Romijn’s character Pepper and not Salt. Seriously. That said, I think Paprika Dennis does have a nice ring to it.

Hey, it works for Family Guy The WB’s entertainment president, David Janollari, announced that Ellen DeGeneres and her brother Vance are developing a sitcom from the perspective of a family’s pet dog — and Ellen herself will voice the dog. No word on whether Fido will like to dance.

Best case for making Brokeback Mountain 2 After enduring many questions about American Idol‘s rules concerning fraternization between contestants and judges — and about the convenient absence of scandal magnet Paula Abdul, who was said to be suffering from an eye infection — Randy Jackson admitted that he was no longer allowed to touch Simon Cowell and then asked, ”How do I quit you, Simon?” So that’s why Paula sits between them — she’s a sexual-tension buffer.

Episode Recaps


American Idol

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.

  • TV Show
  • 16
  • 574
  • ABC