Live Press Tour Diary Day 1: Fox!
9:02 am: Get it? Prison Break… fast? It’s a breakfast… with the stars of Prison Break! Genius!
9:05 am: Where are the friggin’ egg whites! Fox promised me egg whites, and all I see is stale pastries, boxed cereal and a chilly William Fichtner! Heads are gonna roll.
9:09 am: Fox publicist Kim Kurland just stormed the kitchen and demanded the chef make me some damn egg whites. OK, she wanted some herself, but still, it’s the thought that counts.
9:12 am: Mmmmm…. egg whites.
So You Think You Can Dance panel
9:16 am: Big news! It’s announced that contestant Jessica King has suffered an injury and has been replaced by the recently eliminated Comfort Fedoke. EW’s Alynda Wheat informs me that this is “big news.” Oh, wait, make that “really huge deal.” (Sorry, still not watching SYTYCD.)
9:29 am: Exec producer Nigel Lythgoe refuses to elaborate on the specifics of King’s injury, saying only that her recovery will take “four to five weeks.”
9:32 am: Mary Murphy is going on about some “hot tamale train.” I ask Alynda if that’s a specialty division of Amtrak. She shoots me daggers.
9:40 am: A reporter essentially asks Murphy if she’s aware that half the population can’t stand her. “For dancers, I’ve always had enthusiasm,” she responds. “I’ve been like this my whole life. My laugh has been like this my whole life. My laugh is actually kind of toned down on the show.”
9:50 am: Crikey, Alynda is foaming at the mouth! What’s wrong?! “Courtney’s with Joshua this week!” she squeals. I proceed to slap her. She slaps me back. A Fox page pulls us apart.
9:51 am: The panel concludes.
10:09 am: Entertainment president Kevin Reilly is taking our (so far mostly boring) questions.
10:11 am: “24 is going to come back rockin’ and rollin’,” Reilly enthuses. “The two-hour prequel we’re doing in November is going to be a really cool piece of business.”
10:12 am: A critic asks if Ozzy and Sharon had to audition for their forthcoming variety show. “They didn’t have to,” Reilly responds. “They are who they are.” Another reason: The show has their last name in the title.
10:14 am: Reilly defends Moment of Truth thusly: “This is Fox. We never give up our DNA.”
10:17 am: In addition to being a really cool piece of business, the 24 prequel is both a self-contained movie and a precursor to the new season.
10:22 am: Good news: No end in sight for The Simpsons!
10:28 am: Regarding TV’s current comedy crisis, Reilly concedes, “A lot of confidence has left the creative space.” That explains Do Not Disturb. Never heard of it? Consider yourself lucky!
10:30 am: Fox is developing a sitcom that Reilly describes as “The Office in space.” In related news, I’m developing a tummy ache described as “too many chocolate-covered pretzels.” (Damn you Fox and your free snack bags!)
10:31 am: I just sneezed all over my new MacBook Air. And not just any sneeze. A loud, violent, messy sneeze. The kind of sneeze that makes you wish Steve Jobs had invented a windshield wiper application.
(For more on today’s Fox exec session, check out Lynette Rice’s recap over in the Hollywood Insider blog.)
The Fringe Panel
10:55 am: The cast, including Joshua Jackson and JJ Abrams’ latest female find, Anna Torv, is being beamed in via satellite from the show’s New York set. Abrams and his fellow producers are live on stage.
10:59 am: Torv is discussing how thrilling it was to fire a gun for the first time. Heck, she’s being do darn cute about it that I kinda want to shoot a gun, too!
11:10 am: Breaking news: The cow in the pilot has been recast!
11:18 am: Abrams name-drops my buddy (and his) Greg Grunberg! Discussing programs with complicated mythologies, Abrams recalls watching an episode of Alias at Grunberg’s house a few years ago and being completely lost. “I was so confused,” he says, eliciting chuckles from the crowd. “I was like, ‘I know I should know this… but who is that?'” The moral of this story: Fringe will be more accessible.
Do Not Disturb Panel
2:45 pm: Fox is calling this “sitcom,” starring Reno 911‘s Niecy Nash and Carpoolers‘ Jerry O’Connell, a “workplace comedy set at one of New York City’s hottest and hippest hotels.” I call it the most excruciating 22 minutes of my life. (I mostly blame the God awful laugh track, which wasn’t so much a laugh track as it was a recording of O’Connell’s publicist, agent and manager earning their 15 percent.)
2:57 pm: Series creator Abraham Higginbotham, deflecting criticism that the show’s token gay (played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson) is stereotypical, insists the character will be fleshed out in future episodes. In other words, in addition to being bitchy and obsessed with large penises, he may also be a synchronized swimmer!
3:10 pm: “I heard a rumor that it was coming back,” Nash says of Reno 911. “But right now, I belong to Fox.” Unfortunately, the session ends before I can inquire about the status of Clean House.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Panel
3:38 pm: Scoop: Garret Dillahunt has been made a series regular. “I was really happy to be asked back,” he says. “I think it’s going to be a great year.” In other news, Summer Glau looks stunning.
3:40 pm: Thomas Dekker reveals that he worked with a trainer to get in shape for this season.
3:43 pm: Newcomer Leven Rambin (All My Children) describes her character as a “normal, high school, regular girl [who is] intrigued by John.”
3:46 pm: For all you stalkers out there, Glau says fans most often approach her “at the pharmacy, produce section [of the supermarket] or the airport.”
3:52 pm: Dekker hints that a lot of John’s innocence “dies this season.”
3:56 pm: Executive producer Josh Friedman says he has four seasons of the show mapped out. And “he has ideas about how it will end, but I hope it doesn’t for a while.”
4:01 pm: “It’s a very big, very ambitious episode,” Friedman says of the David Nutter-helmed Season 2 premiere. “Almost every character goes through a major change unexpectedly.” If he were to attach a theme to the season, it would be “evolution.”
24: Exile — Coffee Break
5:05 pm: Kim Bauer may be coming back! 24 exec producer/director Jon Cassar just revealed to me exclusively that there have been preliminary discussions about bringing back Jack’s much-maligned daughter this season. “We have talked about it,” he confirms. “But anytime we talk about Kim, we immediately say, ‘Let’s not do anything with her that will result in the audience hating her.'” I also got some intel on the “return” of Martha Logan and the status of that long-rumored 24 feature, but I’ll have to save that for later since I’m racing off to cover Fox’s all-star party at the Santa Monica Pier. More scoop to come! Promise!
Coming up Wednesday: ABC!