Category: TCA Press Tour 2010

TCA Press Tour: 'Lights Out' punches in at FX

LO_20090417_0292 The sport of boxing has been a movie staple for decades, with films such as "Requiem for a Heavyweight," "Fat City" and, of course, the "Rocky" saga.

"Lights Out," FX's drama about a former heavyweight champion who attempts a comeback, may be one of the first series to be based on boxing. The series is scheduled to premiere next year.

"Boxing movies usually tend to be a one-off, with the exception of 'Rocky,' which kept going on and on," said executive producer Warren Leight. "We thought to do a serialized series about boxing would be really great."

The show stars Holt McCallany as a former champion who needs to go back into the ring to help his struggling family. Stacy Keach, who played a boxer in a classic boxing film, "Fat City," plays his manager and father.

Said Leight: "The drama of boxing serves the drama of what his family is going through."

— Greg Braxton

Photo: Holt McCallany in "Lights Out." Credit: Craig Blankenhorne /FX.

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TCA Press Tour: Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James are FX's new 'Terriers'

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Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James like each other so much that they decided to live together in San Diego when they were filming 13 episodes of FX's new drama, "Terriers."

The two actors met on NBC's canceled series, "Life," and bonded over Jack Kerouac's "Big Sur." Later, fate put them in the same room again when FX was casting the pivotal role of Britt Pollack, who is best friend to Logue's character, Hank Dolworth.

"I became a part of the casting sessions for the show... and I remember going to the first set of auditions and a bunch of guys were sitting around waiting to go in," Logue said. "And I saw Michael and we gave each other a hug and you could just see the deflation."

The series about a veteran private investigator who teams up with his younger, hot-headed best friend to launch an unlicensed private investigation business was filmed entirely on location on Ocean Beach in San Diego. 

"My big concern when they told me they were gonna live together was, 'Please don't hate each other,' "said executive producer Shawn Ryan ("The Shield").  In fact, it seems the opposite happened."

But it was their common addiction to carne asada burritos that helped to keep the mutual admiration flowing, Raymond-James explained.

"I think our firendship and the amount of work we did when we weren't working show it really helped the endeavor that we had," Logue said.

"Terriers" is the first TV venture for Ted Griffin ("Ocean's Eleven").  

"These guys aren't really interested in doing the right thing or getting to the bottom of things," Griffin said. "They're just trying to get their ass out of the sling half time. Or what is the most direct line towards what they need or how does the case serve them. They're something, quite like myself, very selfish about these guys."

Logue said he was attracted to the role because he could relate to the stage of life that Hank is in.

"What I liked is that he reached this point in his life when he blew a lot of good things in his life -- his reputation, his marriage," he said. "And there's a certain kind of existential freedom that comes to people who realize that all the things they hold on to that they think defines them, once they're gone, there's this new freedom to determine how you're going to live their life. And that's the point where we meet these guys."

Ryan said he views the story as an investigation of freedom.

"When Ted and I and [FX president and general manager John Landgraf] were going over drafts, Landgraf said something interesting. He said that often times to achieve true freedom, you either have to be really rich or really poor. These guys can pursue this wonderful life of freedom because Hank's lost everything and because Britt hasn't grabbed on to too much. But to see these two guys is a kind of wish fulfillment in that we could choose to spend our days like these two guys. They do what they want."

"Terriers" premieres on FX on Sept. 8 at 10 p.m.

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

twitter.com/writerchica


Photo: Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James in "Terriers." Credit: Patrick McElhenney/FX

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TCA Press Tour: 'Sons of Anarchy' crew doesn't want your Emmy anyway

Soa We’re all pretty familiar with Kurt Sutter’s reaction to “Sons of Anarchy's” shutout from the Emmy nominations. The creator and producer of the FX series, which just happens to be the network’s highest-rated show (and a critical darling), took to his blog to lament the snub after nominations were announced. But what do the (mostly) hard-as-nails cast have to say?

Ron Perlman, who plays rough and tough Clay Morrow — the leader of the outlaw biker gang — kept his response short and sweet when asked about the lack of Emmy love during the TCA press tour.

“Buck ‘em,” he said, cigar in hand.

Charlie Hunnam, who plays Jax Teller, actually wanted to give thanks to the academy, likening the whole awards process to a crock of stew or something to that nature.

“I would just like to say that actually I personally was really happy,” he said.  “I don’t subscribe to Emmys or awards; … I think it’s corrupting. I was happy we weren’t on the receiving end,  … that could change the dynamic that we have. All of that crap I just think is secondary and completely unimportant. “

Tommy Flanagan, who plays Filip 'Chibs' Telford, would have preferred just giving a hand gesture — and we’re assuming it wasn’t a thumb up.

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TCA Press Tour exclusive video: Rico Rodriguez from 'Modern Family' draws Manny from Antonio Banderas


If you've watched "Modern Family," chances are you're in love with lovable Manny, played by the just as lovable Rico Rodriguez.

The Times caught up with the 12-year-old actor at the Beverly Hilton on Sunday when the cast made an appearance  to chat with reporters.

He talked to us about the audition process, how long he's wanted to be an actor, what he did on his birthday (which was Saturday), where he draws his inspiration for his role, his favorite Manny line and how he feels about the show's 14 Emmy nominations.

Over here at Show Tracker, we are demanding that the academy reconsider and nominate the funniest kid on television.

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

twitter.com/writerchica

Video: Maria Elena Fernandez


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TCA Press Tour exclusive video: Cloris Leachman jumps for joy at the Fox party


After a long day of many questions and no answers at Fox's press tour, it was time to retreat to the Santa Monica Pier, where the network's stars mingled with reporters, hopped on some amusement rides and played some games.

No one entertained more than Cloris Leachman (star of the new fall comedy "Raising Hope"), who juggled a little before she "bungee-jumped" to an anxious but happy crowd.

(If you want to begin with the bungee, fast forward 1 minute and 30 seconds).

-- Maria Elena Fernandez
twitter.com/writerchica

Video: Maria Elena Fernandez


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TCA Press Tour: Cloris Leachman is "so sick of Betty White"

TCA Press Tour: Ryan Murphy fuels our 'Glee' fever

GL4-Bleachers_2122_lyF What would Fox’s big day on the press tour be without its massively successful hit “Glee”?

Instead of a love fest with the cast members — who we hope are taking a great rest after a whirlwind of a first season, but we know that’s not true — we got the background players who make the show what it is. 

Ryan Murphy & Co. (which include co-creator and scribe Ian Brennan, executive producer Dante Di Loreto, music producer Adam Anders, choreographer Zach Woodlee and costume designer Lou Eyrich) were on hand to dish behind-the-scenes details and of course share secrets about the second season.

As reporters sipped ‘Glee’ packaged bottles of soda “for the pop star in all of us,” the crew — sans the cast — offered gems to fuel the anticipation for the show’s return, as if it wasn’t there. Here are some of our favorite deets:

1. On the show's lifespan: Murphy admits the writers haven’t quite thought about that. 

“We obviously have to deal with the cast and the show that we hope goes on for years. We’ve sort of mapped out the first four years with this original cast,” he said before joking that Brittney will just flunk every year. “The thing about the show is you have set competitions that are true. There are sectionals and nationals, [but we also] want to go to Copenhagen or Moscow for international competitions.”

2. Weekly themes are there to stay: All of the episodes will have a central theme, much like they did in the first season. Murphy confirmed the first episode back will be called “Auditions,” based on the notion that everyday life — particularly high school — is an audition. The third episode will be about faith, with the kids talking about what God means to them. It doesn’t take rocket science to know this will be the episode that Murphy teased at Comic Con, where Kurt will escort Mercedes to her church.

3. ‘Britney, Britney, Britney’: As you all know there will be a Britney Spears episode, ‘Britney, Britney, Britney’ (another Comic Con dish). Murphy said the tribute episode will be an unconventional one, compared to the Madonna and Gaga fests. Matthew Morrison has previously said in interviews that he hates the idea of doing a Spears episode, so Murphy used that as the part of the plot where Schue will continuously deny the kids they are doing a tribute to the pop princess. 

It won’t be the sole tribute episode next season. Murphy & Co. are in negotiations with a “big” pop artist which will be the episode in the highly coveted post-Super Bowl slot. 

4. Sir Paul goes ‘Gleek’: Murphy got a bit of a surprise recently when a mix tape from the one and only Paul McCartney made it his way.

“It just sort of came out of the blue. It said, ‘Hi Ryan I’d hope you’d considered these songs for Glee,” he said of the two-disc mix tape. “I’ve heard he’s a fan of the show. I was gobsmacked, I love this guy. Of course we’re going to do something.”

5. The kids flex their songwriting skills: One question that has continued to plague Murphy is whether the kids would take on original music — and they will. In the second half of the season Murphy said he plans on the kids taking on their own lyrics. 

“I think it has to be organic,” he said. “It wouldn’t work [before] if they just broke out and started singing their own songs. You wouldn’t get it. I think it has to be an assignment.”

6. About that merchandise – there is lots of it, lots: With greeting cards, video games and a clothing line on the horizon is there anything the gang would say no to? Apparently so.

“I’m very proud of the merchandise that we have. For every two things I accept, I turn down 10,” Murphy said about the oodles of branded merch hitting stores. “We clearly did not write them — we don’t have the time. We’re going to have Jane Lynch’s character write her own autobiography [and of course cross promote it]. That’s an example of a book we’d do together.” 

For “Glee The Beginning,” which is in stores Tuesday, here is a teaser, the opening line of the book:

“Rachel Berry paused outside the door to Principal Figgins’s office just long enough to straighten her kneesocks and smooth down the sides of her corduroy skirt.”

7. No need to save up for soundtracks: After releasing a whopping five soundtracks (three albums and two EPs), Murphy promises they will scale it down. 

“This year we will do less. We’re doing an Christmas episode with Susan Boyle, but I don’t think it will be separate CD,” he said. “We’re going to probably do an EP for the Super Bowl episode, like we did for Madonna.”

Murphy said he hopes to get the soundtracks down to two. But just in case, put a little money in your iTunes account ... just to be on the safe side.

Gleeks, are you ready?

Gerrick D. Kennedy
twitter.com/GerrickKennedy

Photo credit: Fox.

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TCA Press Tour: Cloris Leachman is 'so sick of Betty White'

Leachman_maw_maw Could Betty White fever have gone cold? It has if you’re Cloris Leachman.

“I’m so sick of Betty White,” Leachman joked (we think) while promoting her new Fox series “Raising Hope” during the TCA press tour. “I never liked her.”

Not quite a cougar fight.  More like the makings of saber tooth tiger brawl?

Fans of the funny ladies, both alums of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” don’t have to pick sides. The two share the screen once more in the upcoming Disney film “You Again,” which also stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Kristen Bell.

At the panel session, however, it seemed Leachman was the favorite. Whether she was playing musical chairs on stage, asking reporters to stand while they asked questions or cuddling with co-star Martha Plimpton, the 84-year-old actress' comedic timing was more graceful than any tango routine she did on “Dancing With the Stars.”

“Raising Hope,” which premieres Sept. 21 at 8 p.m., centers on Jimmy (Lucas Neff), a twentysomething male who must raise his infant daughter, conceived by a one-night stand, with the help of his flawed family after the baby’s mother is executed in jail (did we mention this was a comedy?). Leachman plays Maw Maw, Jimmy’s lucid grandmother who parades around in her bra and colorful stretch pants.

Yes, a bra and stretch pants.

Is Betty White about to be dethroned?

--Yvonne Villarreal
twitter.com/villarrealy

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Photo credit: Fox

 

TCA Press Tour: 'Running Wilde' doesn't want to stand in 'Arrested Development's' shadow

Runwilde_kjs39_rJWL_rev1.0F_sdWill Arnett and Mitch Hurwitz know you’re not over “Arrested Development.” And frankly, neither are they.

Since Hurwitz’s critically acclaimed sitcom, which starred Arnett, went off the air in 2006, fans were left reeling over the show’s demise and never held off hope that a cable network, or film, would breathe new life into the show.

But Hurwitz and Arnett, co-creators of Fox’s new comedy “Running Wilde,” hope viewers will tune into the romantic comedy set for fall.

“We love ‘Arrested’ and do miss it, and we still want to do the movie,” Hurwitz said. Fans of the series, which has since garnered a cult following, should at least be pleased to know that Hurwitz is dead set on plans for the film. 

“[The show] was an amazing experience and an amazing opportunity. I look at the climate of television today and I don’t think you could do it [now]. They gave me a lot of room to play. I never had any entitlement or expectation that I could keep that on the air for a long time.”

“Running Wilde” stars Arnett as Steven Wilde, a silver-spooned playboy trying to win – and of course buy – the affections of his true love, Emmy, a staunchly liberal humanitarian who retreated to the rainforest to save a native tribe and raise her daughter, Puddle, who narrates the show.

Arnett already knows what half of the viewers will be thinking once they see the episode.  “Of course we're going to get the comparisons good and bad to ‘Arrested Development. Bad mostly,” he joked.

Hurwitz just hopes viewers will give the show a chance – and maybe keep it around longer than it’s predecessor.

“There is a burden associated with ‘Arrested Development,’” he said. “If we can get a big audience interested in the show, more and more of our subversion will be able to come out. There is real peril in trying to repeat yourself. [‘Running Wilde’] is not exactly ‘Arrested Development.’ But I think it's one that is appealing.”

"Running Wilde" premieres Tuesday, Sept. 21 (9:30 p.m.) on FOX. Check out a quick glimpse of the show below. 

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
twitter.com/GerrickKennedy

Photo: 'Running Wilde' stars Will Arnett, Center, Keri Russell, Left, Stefania Owen, second from Right, and Peter Serafinowicz. Credit: Brian Bowen Smith / FOX.

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TCA Press Tour: 'Lone Star' aims to bring a little 'cable' to Fox

Pg220331James Wolk doesn't know what it's like to be torn between two loves, but he's enjoying pretending he is.

The newcomer to the small screen is the star of Fox's new drama, "Lone Star," the story of a con man who's married to two women and leads totally separate lives in two parts of Texas. One wife is played by Adrianne Palicki ("Friday Night Lights"), and the other is played by Eloise Mumford ("Mercy" and "Crash"). The backdrop is wealthy Texas oil, and the cast includes Jon Voight and David Keith.

Fox went after Wolk when its head of casting, Marcia Shulman, saw him in "Front of the Class," which was based on a true story of a teacher with Tourette's syndrome, met him and instantly wanted to work with him. But getting him wasn't easy. As originally written, the role on "Lone Star" was meant to be older, and Wolk told Fox he was concerned he wouldn't be able to pull it off.

"It was a question of, 'Can I be honest and true in this role? We figured out after a few auditions, we figured out this could work."

Created by new TV scribe Kyle Killen, "Lone Star" is produced by Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman ("Party of Five"). Although they pitched the show to other networks, Killen said they went with Fox because its executives said they'd treat the drama "like a cable show" and allow them to keep their character's imperfections.

They wanted a "show where everybody's gray, where decisions are complicated, where the conflict is not simple," Killen said. "Where the person that you're rooting for is incredibly problematic, married to two people and is a con man, but somehow by humanizing that person, you end up getting behind him."

Still don't know what he means? Think "Dexter" Morgan, Tommy Gavin in "Rescue Me," Walter White in "Breaking Bad" and Don Draper in "Mad Men".

Fox released a new trailer Monday:

--Maria Elena Fernandez
twitter.com/writerchica

Photo: Adrianne Palicki, James Wolk, and Eloise Mumford in "Lone Star." Credit: Dario Cantatore / Picture Group / Fox

Video credit: Fox

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Pilot View: Fox's new drama, "Lone Star"

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TCA Press Tour: 'Secret Millionaire' not an 'Undercover Boss'

"Secret Millionaire" may look at first like a variation of CBS' "Undercover Boss," in which a CEO secretly goes undercover at his firm to see his employees at work.

In the new ABC series, selected millionaires are voluntarily whisked away from their lavish lifestyles and take on secret identities as they spend a week helping impoverished people. At the end of the week, they reveal themselves to deserving people they have met and reward them with money and other offerings.

Producers of the new show want to make it clear: Their show has been running in the United Kingdom for six seasons. "We were around long before 'Undercover Boss,' " said executive producer Leslie Garvin.

Some millionaires said they needed to be convinced that the show's intentions were pure.

"I wasn't going to do it," said James Malinchak, who runs a successful marketing and consulting business in San Antonio, TX. "I see a lot of negativity on TV, and I didn't want to be a part of that." He said he grilled producers for several hours when he was first approached about participating in the show.

Said Malinchak: "I was very worried about people being hurt, but I could tell they were really serious. Leslie really wanted us to have life-transforming experiences. I thought I would be just writing checks to deserving people. But it really brought me down for earth, put my feet back on the ground. It proves that riches are a lot more than money."

-- Greg Braxton

[For the record: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the company is in Gary, Indiana.]

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TCA Press Tour: Maura Tierney winds up in role written for her

Maura tierney Maura Tierney was not supposed to be in ABC's new legal drama "The Whole Truth."

Executive producer Tom Donaghy had written a lead role on the series for Tierney, who is a longtime friend. But the role went to Joely Richardson ("Nip/Tuck"), while Tierney, who was recovering after being diagnosed with breast cancer, had departed from the cast of "Parenthood."

But when Richardson had to deal with personal issues that prompted her exit from the series, Tierney, who was getting better, was hoping to get back to work.

"It was joint events happening at the same time," said executive producer Jonathan Littman. "Joely's life is very complicated, and the timing just worked out for Maura."

Tierney, who has appeared in several series including "ER" and "NewsRadio," was not particularly forthcoming when talking about her return to work following her health scare.

When asked if she had a renewed perspective on life, she replied, "I probably should have more of a perspective than I have. But it's wonderful to know that people care so much." She did add that she had one new priority: "It's a priority to work with people I like and trust. Tom and I have been friends for more than 20 years."

-- Greg Braxton

Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

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TCA Press Tour: Steve Carell's co-stars respond to his exit from 'The Office'

Scarell When this season wraps, the world’s best boss, Michael Scott, will be leaving the Dunder Mifflin office one last time. Steve Carell officially announced last month that he will not be renewing his contract and will be leaving NBC’s “The Office” at the end of this season, the show’s seventh.

The news stunned some fans — who else can make burning his foot on a George Foreman Grill hilariously endearing? What other boss takes his employees for a nice lunch at Hooters? For others, Carell’s departure isn’t too surprising, with some questioning whether the show’s appeal is dwindling.

We caught up with a couple of Dunder Mifflin's star employees, Stanley (Leslie David Baker) and Phyllis (Phyllis Smith), at a TCA after party this weekend to get their thoughts on Carell’s exit and the possibility of Dwight or Andy taking the reins.

Click on it below. (That’s what she said.)

— Yvonne Villarreal

twitter.com/villarrealy

Photo credit: NBC

Video credit: Gerrick D. Kennedy

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