Joshua Jackson, Patricia Heaton, James Lafferty, Frenchie Davis, Ben McKenzie, Michael Richards: What do they all have in common? They’re all stars of hit Warner Bros.-produced TV shows, and they were all at the Paley Center for Media on Thursday night.
Executives and cast members from more than 30 past and present TV shows gathered at the Beverly Hills museum to celebrate "Television: Out of the Box," a new exhibition featuring props and costumes from Warner Bros. shows.
Walking a multi-colored carpet resembling TV color bars, the stars talked to reporters before passing a gathering of fans at the end of the press line. Teenage girls in the crowd were fanning themselves after meeting "The Vampire Diaries" star Paul Wesley. But many of the biggest TV fans at the event were the guests of honor themselves, including "The Big Bang Theory" actress Melissa Rauch.
"When I started on the carpet, I saw a 'Family Matters' cast member, and I have to say, I shouted out 'Eddie Winslow!' like a junior high fan girl from the 1990s,” Rauch told Ministry of Gossip at the event.
Rauch, who plays Bernadette on "The Big Bang Theory," was eager to see items in the exhibit from "Friends," "Gilmore Girls" and "Wonder Woman." She was also pleased to hear that a memorable prop from her sitcom made it into the show’s display: the giant portrait Amy gave to Penny (depicting the faces of their real-life counterparts, Mayim Bialik and Kaley Cuoco) earlier this season.
"The three of us –- Kaley, myself and Mayim –- they unveiled it to us at the same time. We could not stop laughing," Rauch said of first seeing the painting on set. "We all wanted copies for our home, so I’m happy it ended up here so we don’t have to do a tug of war over it."
"Southland" actor Dorian Missick said visiting the exhibition was "kind of a throwback to my early days as an actor in the '80s," when he frequently visited the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City.
"I’m excited about [this exhibition] because I'm a fan. I still look at the shows as a fan. I watch our show as a fan," Missick said.
McKenzie, whose shows "The O.C." and "Southland" are represented, looked forward to seeing the display from "The Dukes of Hazzard."
"The Mentalist" actress Amanda Righetti said, "I grew up watching the Looney Tunes. I know it sounds really silly, but I'm really curious to see some of the animation work.” A section devoted to WB cartoons features original animation art.
Items from shows including "Gossip Girl," "ER," "Full House," "Entourage" and "Supernatural" are also on display. As for props that didn't make it up front, fans should rest assured that the Paley Center has plans to routinely rotate in new items from Warner Bros.’ collection.
But of course, there are props that now live in the homes of various actors –- Lafferty told Ministry of Gossip that he has a few Ravens basketball jerseys from "One Tree Hill" mounted on his wall, and Richards said he took home Kramer's shoes from "Seinfeld."
A long timeline now covers one Paley Center wall, tracking the history of Warner Bros.' TV shows. Knowing that "One Tree Hill" has a place there and in WB history, Lafferty said, "there’s a sense of pride that comes with that. … It’s one of those things that you always hope to be a part of."
— Emily Rome
Photo: "Fringe" star Joshua Jackson, left, Warner Bros. Television President Peter Roth, Warner Bros. Chairman and Chief Executive Barry Meyer, "The Mentalist" star Amanda Righetti and Warner Bros. Television Group President Bruce Rosenblum. Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.