Bullz-Eye's 2011 Winter TCA Press Tour Blog
Winter 2011 TCA Blog

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Twice a year, the Television Critics Association brings broadcast and cable networks together to put on a dog-and-pony show wherein they present attendees with the details on many of the television series which will be hitting the airwaves over the course of the subsequent six months. It lasts around two weeks, it's regularly described as "a death march with cocktails" (free drinks generally help the dregs of the programming to go down a bit better), and even though Will Harris has been attending the tour on Bullz-Eye's behalf since 2007, it still never fails to be a highly fascinating and thoroughly surreal experience. Don't believe us? Just read his blog.



Bullz-Eye’s TCA 2011 Winter Press Tour Wrap-Up: Kneel Before Oprah!

The TCA Winter Press Tour is an event which never quite seems to live up to the TCA Press Tour...but, then, that stands to reason, as the mid-season series rarely match the ones which hit the airwaves in the fall, right? Still, the experience never fails to be one which I enjoy, mostly because you never know what's going to be around the corner, and Day 1 really set the stage for that: during the course of 12 hours, I interviewed Betty White, Henry Rollins, and Bruce Jenner, and, thanks to National Geographic, I wore a giant snake around my neck. Not a bad way to begin things...

It felt like there was more star power on hand than usual for a winter tour...but, then, having Oprah in your midst kind of skewers your perceptions on that sort of thing. I suppose it's a testament to how many famous people I've met over the years, though, that one of the biggest reasons I look forward to the tour is not because of who I might interview but, rather, because I'll get the chance to hang out with the friends I've made the TCA. All told, it was another great time, but, as ever, when it was over, I was more than ready to get back home to my family and share my memories with them...and with you, too, of course.

Well, let's get on with the reminiscing, shall we?

Oh, but one word of warning: if you followed , then a couple of these stories will sound strikingly familiar, but please rest assured that the majority of the material has not been copied wholesale and is, in fact, 100% new. Swear to God.

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Not being a foodie, I wouldn’t have known José Andrés prior to his kick-off of PBS’s first day at the TCA tour if he’d been standing next to me…and, even then, I wouldn’t have known that I was supposed to care who he was. After several minutes of clips from the first season of “Made in Spain,” however, I was already in love with the series, and when Andres himself took the stage, it was impossible not to be charmed by him. He’s a sweetheart of a guy for whom food truly is life, but he’s also a hoot.

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I was seriously bummed when I heard that no one from “An Idiot Abroad” was going to be in attendance for the show’s panel, but I figured, “Okay, at least they’ll be there via satellite.” In retrospect, there’s no way they could’ve been funnier if they’d actually been onsite. Naturally, just being in Karl Pilkington’s presence was enough to inspire Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant to dissolve into a fit of giggles, but they were utterly warranted this go-round.

Here, see for yourself:

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Between Kara DioGuardi handling a question about "American Idol" about as poorly as she possibly could have - - and Jewel dropping names like they were hot potatoes (“I was talking to Steven Spielberg…”), I'm hard pressed to think of any panel that left a worse taste in my mouth.

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It wasn’t entirely surprising that a panel consisting of Lily Tomlin, Jo Anne Worley, Ruth Buzzi, Gary Owens and George Schlatter would be able keep things moving along without any of the critics in attendance actually needing to ask a question, but they kept passing the conversational ball back and forth until someone in the crowd finally had to stand up and ask if it was okay to ask a question. Schlatter instantly shot back, “We’re trying to talk here!” Laughter ensued, as did plenty of questions about the history of “Laugh-In.” “Are you guys having fun?” Schlatter asked later. “Because we're having a ball!” Must be what keeps them looking so young: you’d never in a million years believe that Worley - that's her in the feathered boa, in case you hadn't guessed - is 73 years old.

:

The only person not in attendance was Chevy Chase, who was described as being “very under the weather,’ but his co-stars more than made up for his absence. If I tried to tell you about it, though, you’d probably just stare blankly at me. Some of the funniness came from the giggling of the various panelists, some it involved one-liners which would require a lengthy amount of set-up for you to appreciate, some of it was totally visual, and…well, you get the idea. But it really was hilarious, I swear. The most easily-translatable moment is probably Donald Glover’s story about how they had to teach Betty White the lyrics to Toto’s “Africa” on the set. “I assumed she knew ‘Africa,’” he said. “I was, like, ‘Everybody knows that song!’ But, like, that song was out when she was already old. She was already 50-something.”

: When I approached Jack McBrayer (“30 Rock”) to ask him a question, he agreed, but then he looked down at my recorder and said, “Oh, my! You’re not going to record this, are you? I’d rather you didn’t.” At this point, he performed a perfect mock aside, holding a hand to his mouth and whispering, “I’m a little bit tipsy!” So I turned off my recorder. Kudos to you, Mr. McBrayer. Would that more actors had that blend of good humor and common sense.

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I am at a loss to understand why this vaguely pretentious-sounding query suddenly became the must-ask of the tour, but I’m sure I heard it asked half a dozen times, maybe more.

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Even without knowing the subject matter of the film (it’s about the whole Lehman Brothers financial saga of a few years ago), just seeing the list of cast members is enough to make the title seem apropos. Dig these names: William Hurt, Paul Giamatti, Topher Grace, Billy Crudup, James Woods, Bill Pullman, Matthew Modine, Tony Shaloub, Cynthia Nixon, Michael O’Keefe, Dan Hedaya, Kathy Baker, and Ed Asner as Warren Buffett. Seriously, how can this thing go wrong?

:

One of the critics asked, “Do you remember Rocco’s DiSpirito’s TV show, ‘The Restaurant’?” I do not. And I won’t remember to watch this one, either. Who cares?

:

It could’ve backfired horribly on me, but given that it’s one of my all-time favorite commentaries (and given how thoroughly amused he seems to be throughout the proceedings), I had to lead with this unique piece of praise. As it happens, his eyes lit up immediately as he informed me that he’d wanting for years to do a one-man show about his experiences working on the film, assuring me that he’d saved a few stories for just such an occasion.

: We were talking about the character of Jackie Chiles, which Morris played on “Seinfeld” and has recently revived for FunnyOrDie.com. Morris - now on TV One's "Love That Girl!" - was trying to explain how Jackie’s delivery was what made the character funny, but while trying to come up with a name, he kept saying, “F. Lee…F. Lee...” F. Lee Bailey? “No, I mean, uh, Buckley.” Before he could clarify that he meant William F. Buckley, I laughed and suggested that he might be referring to Lord Buckley. At this reference, Morris raised his eyebrows and launched into a perfect impression of the mustachioed hipster comedian, which just about knocked me backwards. “Come on now, how often do you get to break that out?” I asked. Morris burst out laughing and offered a fist bump, praising me for “digging deep,” but I dare say the same praise could be lavished on him as well.

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I’ve got to go with Mr. Labine on this one. I met him during my first TCA tour in 2007, back when he was pimping the premiere of “Reaper,” and between Facebook, phoners, and further TCA events…well, I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to say we’re friends, but we’ve definitely built a comfortable rapport when it comes to our conversations. As such, his first words involved apologizing for the fact that we couldn’t kick back and drink scotch this time (that’s what we did when he was promoting “Sons of Tucson” for Fox) because he had to be back on the set in a few hours. Still, he’s a nice guy, he’s got a nice beard, and, once again, we had a nice – if woefully alcohol-free – interview.

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Everyone warned me. They said, “He’s not a good interview, he hates doing press, and if you’re not planning to bring your A-game, then you might as well not come at all.” But, dammit, it’s Tommy Lee Jones. How do you turn down the chance to sit in the presence of that guy? Better yet, I’d watched and really enjoyed his adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s play, “The Sunset Limited,” which he’d directed for HBO and starred in as well, along with Samuel L. Jackson. Sure, I was intimidated, but I’d done my research, I had my questions, and I was ready to roll.

As it turns out, Mr. Jones was everything I’d been promised and more, but while I had gotten out without having any of my questions insulted or dismissed, my original perception of the experience was heavily colored by one of my fellow journalists being informed at one point, “You know, I’ve already said that. I’ve already answered that question.” Listening back to the recording, though, I actually did better than I’d recalled: of the three writers who were there, I was the first to get a halfway decent answer out of him, and if I never really hit any out of the park, at least none of my questions resulted in a full-fledged swing and a miss. Still, if there’s such a thing as a badge of courage for TV critics, I feel as though one should be sent my way post-haste.

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When he swaggered into the evening event which was held by the OWN Network but encompassed all members of the Discovery Channel family, I thought, “Okay, I work for a guys’ website: I have to talk to Mike Tyson.” I approached him and asked him a question revolving around how he’s suddenly a media presence again, first with “The Hangover” and now with this new series. Before he could answer, one of his “handlers” ran up and said, “Hey, Mike, I found ya some food!” At this, Tyson grabbed himself something to eat and walked away, my question unanswered.

Later in the evening, it had become de rigueur to go up to Tyson and ask if he’d be willing to let you take your picture with him. I restrained myself at first, but then I finally decided, “Well, maybe I’ll just try again with my question, then someone can take a picture of me while I’m talking to him.” So I approached him once more and said, “Hey, Mike, can I ask you a quick question about the new show?” He glanced at me…and said, “Nah.” No less than 10 seconds later, he was taking more photos with people. That’s what I get for trying to work.

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Yeah, I know, Henry Winkler hasn’t been the Fonz in decades, but he’ll always be the Fonz to me. I’m thrilled for him, though, that the work offers are coming in fast and furious: he was at the tour as a cast member for both Adult Swim’s “Childrens Hospital” and USA’s “Royal Pains.”

I’m pretty sure this means I’ll never get cancer!

Wood was at the Fox party to promote his new FX series, “Wilfred,” and when I found a chance to chat with him, I said, “First, I’ve got a photo I want to show you.” I broke out my iPhone and showed him a shot I’d taken of him at the turntable at Amoeba. “Oh, yeah,” he said, “I was DJ’ing that day!” “Yeah,” I replied, “and you were also totally blocking the bargain bin. I only get there once, maybe twice a year, dude. That totally sucked.” He laughed, but he still looked appropriate chagrined, and he apologized. Given how much of a music geek he is, I think he probably even meant it.

. What can I tell you? She’s .

Let it never be said that I’m not up for a challenge.

I don't keep up with the Kardashians and don't plan to start anytime soon, but I do enjoy the chance to ask people about projects that they haven't been given the chance to talk about in awhile. And that is why I have 20 minutes of anecdotes from Jenner about serving as a defacto replacement for Erik Estrada on "CHiPs" for several episodes, working with Harry Belafonte, LeVar Burton, and Dennis Haysbert on "Grambling's White Tiger," and, of course, all the dirt he cared to dish on the experience of working with Valerie Perrine and the Village People on "Can't Stop the Music." The only time his family's TV series came up was when one of his daughters called to tell him that they'd won the People's Choice Award for Guilty Pleasure...and it didn't even occur to me to ask which daughter!

How could this not be on here? He's The Dude, for God's sake.

:

I admit that it took me a little while to get past my general indifference to the first season of this show, but having devoured the Season 2 set and quickly moved on to the six episodes of Season 3 that were sent out to critics in advance of the tour, I was psyched when I heard that we'd be visiting the nerve center of the Pawnee government. I was bummed that Chris Pratt wasn't in attendance, but I was part of the group which was toured around the set by Adam Scott and Michael Schur and given up close looks at the offices of Lesley Knope and Ron Swanson, along with some of Pawnee's most (in)famous murals. Plus, I...well, at the moment, if I told you that I had my picture taken with Li'l Sebastian, it wouldn't mean anything to you, but I promise you that when the time comes for the episode revolving around the Harvest Festival, you'll be all, like, "He got his picture taken with Li'l Sebastian! Sweet! That dude is !" Or, at least, that's what Tom Haverford would say, anyway.

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I guess "awesome" might be overdoing it a bit, but I'm a big Conan fan, so it was just cool to be able to check out the set. Unsurprisingly, Conan himself - flanked by longtime pal and producer Jeff Ross - had lots of funny stuff to say, much of it self-deprecating. But, then, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

: If you were to ask my daughter, it'd probably be the game of Jenga that was offered up during Fox's "Raising Hope" breakfast, which, although she'd never played it before I brought it home, has taken to it like a duck to water. Frankly, I thought she'd like the Mickey Mouse ears with her name embroidered on it more. Just goes to show that fathers don't know the first thing about their daughters. For my part, it been the Greendale Community College shirt, except that it was a large rather than the XXL that I'd need to ever wear it in public. (Note to network publicity departments: given that you're dealing with a group of individuals who spend the majority of their day sitting in front of their television sets, it wouldn't be the craziest idea in the world to upgrade the sizes you send out. I've been a member of the TCA since 2007, and I think I've been able to fit into maybe two of the 50+ promotional shirts I've gotten in that time. On the other hand, my daughter has a lot of really awesome nightshirts.) In the end, though, I've got to go with the bloody bathmat left in front of the tub for us by Fearnet. Thank God I was given advance warning that it was waiting in the room for me...

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At the end of 2010, I pulled together a piece which featured my favorite quotes of the year. After doing so, I sent the link to all of my interview subjects who were on Facebook, thanking them for being a part of the piece and wishing us both the best in 2011. Paul Provenza immediately wrote back, saying, “Thank you! Let’s do other stuff.” A few days later, I received an invite to attend tapings for the second season of his Showtime series, and since the dates happened to be in the heart of the TCA tour, I took him up on his kind offer, bringing my friends Christine Becknell and Eric Field with me.

What an incredible evening: free food, an open bar (I don’t mind telling you that the Newcastle was going down smoooooooth), and some seriously funny people, including Lewis Black, Ron White, Kathleen Madigan, Jamie Kilstein, Richard Lewis, Margaret Cho, Jeffrey Ross, and Kumail Nanjiani. Other comedians, including Rick Overton, Doug Stanhope, and David Feldman, were in the house, as were Sugar Ray Leonard and Ron Jeremy.

I think my personal favorite one-liner came when Ron White denied being an alcoholic, explaining, “I only drink when I work,” then adding, “But I am a workaholic.” What I’ll inevitably remember most, though. All in all, though, it’s hard to top Ron Jeremy repeatedly falling asleep during the taping of the second episode. Like that wouldn’t be embarrassing enough, but the poor bastard did it directly in front of Jeffrey Ross, who ripped him to shreds every time he caught him. (“Hey, look, Ron Jeremy must have an erection! He’s passed out from all of the blood rushing to his cock!”) Good times, to be sure.

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PBS really did right by us on this tour. For the first of their two evening events, they provided us with a performance from Harry Connick, Jr., who blew the roof off the joint in suitably jazzy fashion. Ultimately, though, he couldn’t hold a candle to David Foster, who opened with the love theme from “St. Elmo’s Fire,” followed with a medley of his biggest hits, along with clarification as to which of his ex-wives owned the rights to them, and then brought out a couple of friends to join in the fun. Although Charice – you may recall her from her appearance on “Glee” – knocked Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself” out of the park, she still couldn’t defeat Donna Summer, who minutes earlier had turned the Langham into a discotheque with a breathtaking rendition of one of her signature songs, “Last Dance.” Damn, that woman’s still got some pipes!

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It’s so weird: during the summer, it feels like Fox goes out of their way to put us in the loudest, most distracting environment possible (the amusement park on the Santa Monica pier), thereby making it almost impossible to conduct decent interviews. This is the second winter tour, however, where they’ve rented out Villa Sorriso for their evening function. Why can’t they do that in the summer, too? Sure, it’s crowded, but it’s a hell of a lot more conducive to conversation. Plus, they’re not afraid to offer up 12-year-old Macallan’s, which, as it turns out, is pretty damned conducive to conversation, too.

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I know the cool kids can't in good conscience admit to watching either the Hallmark Channel or its sister movie network, but I don't mind telling you that they know how to throw a classy party. It was a sit-down affair - the only one of the tour - where the food was delicious and the wine only stopped flowing when we walked out the door, at which point we were handed a bottle of Brut champagne as a parting gift!

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I understand that the networks don’t feel the need to go quite as all-out with their winter tour functions as they do during the summer, but the ABC and CBS network families took cost-cutting to a depressing low. Okay, I understand why ABC would only offer up talent from their mid-season shows, but given that most TCA members only get out to the west coast twice a year, it was depressing not to have the chance to interview cast members from their other series. Meanwhile, CBS didn’t even have a party. Well, not really, anyway. Instead, it was all, like, “Oh, hey, we sent home everybody who was here to promote their new CBS and Showtime series, but here are the people who were just onstage for the panels for The CW, so stand in the lobby and ask them questions!” Yeah, but…they were just onstage. Oh, well, at least it gave me the chance to have a pleasant conversation with Sara Rue, right?

Oh, wait, I forgot…

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I love Sara Rue. I think she’s as cute as can be, I’ve thought so ever since she was starring in ABC’s “Less Than Perfect,” and her guest appearances on three different CBS comedies (“Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory,” and “Rules of Engagement”) have only cemented my appreciation of her work as a comedic actress. As such, you can understand why I gravitated toward her during The CW’s post-panel cocktail party in an attempt to grab a brief one-on-one interview with her about her new gig as the host of “Shedding for the Wedding.” The good news: Ms. Rue herself was as sweet as could be. In fact, from what I can tell, her only real fault would seem to be her taste in personal publicists.

The publicist was standing outside of Rue’s line of vision when the tapfest began. Frankly, since I was focused on my interview subject, I only half-realized what I was seeing at first. In fact, I pretty much convinced myself that it couldn’t have been what I was seeing, and I kept right on with another question. About 30 seconds later, however, the tapping resumed, this time more furiously and now accompanied by a look which hovered between annoyance and anger. Having little choice in the matter, I wrapped the interview and thanked Rue, who seemed to have enjoyed our short time together, but my plans to do a full-length piece offering a look at “Shedding for the Wedding” as well as an exploration of Rue’s earlier career had been shot all to hell.

What happened? Best guess: the publicist didn’t know me, wasn’t familiar with Bullz-Eye, and only gave me the time she did because she was in a room filled with CW executives and couldn’t get away with refusing me altogether. Next TCA tour, though, I’m thinking about wearing a t-shirt to all press events which reads, “Just because you don’t know me doesn’t mean I suck.”

Okay, last time I ended on my most annoying moment of the tour, and it felt woefully anticlimactic, so this time I’m going to end with a few laughs and offer up…

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“I got a little bit nervous when they told me that I had to be speaking in front of TV critics. I knew I was coming here to share time at PBS, but all of a sudden it’s, like, ‘The room is going to be full of TV critics.’ Great: all my life dealing with food critics one by one, and now I’m going to have to be dealing with an entire room of TV critics…?” – ,

“What is this Betty White business? This is silly. Really, it is very silly. You’ve had such an overdose of me lately. Trust me. I think I’m going to go away for a while. It’s hard for me to say no to a job because you spend your career thinking if you say no, they’ll never ask you again, and if you don’t take the job, you know, that may be the end of it, but my mother taught me to say no when I was a girl, but that wasn’t about show business. So the result is I’m trying to cut down. I really am.” – ,

“Betty White is in the building. Did you hear that? I hope I get to touch her. I just had cataracts, and I’m still adjusting, but what I see is looking pretty good.” – ,

“The one note we did get (for ‘Children’s Hospital’), it was from Warner Brothers…I hesitate to even tell you this, but when we turned in our first script for the web series, Warner Brothers called us up and said, ‘Um, do you think you could cut the shot where we actually see the Twin Towers burning?’ And we were like, ‘Yeah, do you know what? That’s a great note.’” – ,

“My opinion don’t mean nothing. I’m here to talk about pigeons and stuff. Anything other than that, I’m a schmuck.” – ,

“If Oprah would have asked me to ride a unicycle naked and backwards at night, I would have asked her, ‘Where do I sign up?’ It’s Oprah.” – ,

“I wanted to be a substitute for Joan Lunden. And the agent at the time told me there weren’t going to be any more black people on network television. He said, 'They’ve already got Bryant Gumbel.' And I said, 'But that’s another channel.' And he said, 'No, no. They’ve already got Bryant Gumbel. That’s not going to happen.'" – ,

“I think the expectation that women be attractive as well as funny has just always been there. We even need attractive news anchors who are telling us about death and destruction and they still need to be pretty. I don’t know why it is. Some sociobiological level. We need to look at females and think, ‘I would hit that.’ I think that the gentlemen may need it.” – ,

: Are you going to have to put Steve on a five second delay on (’American Idol’)? : Fuck, no. I question whether I should have done that just now.

“‘The Good Wife’ was always meant ironically. I think it’s actually very descriptive. I think the comment I made was it would have been nice to be ironic and call it ‘The Sexy Wife’ or ‘The Sexy Wife Whose Husband Goes Down On Her’ or something like that. That might have brought in more people.” – ,

“Do you guys ask questions for a profession? You’re pretty good. You don’t look like much as a group, but…good questions.” – ,

A Chat with Rizwan Manji, Parvesh Cheena, and Anisha Nagarajan ("Outsourced")

A Chat with Ben Rappaport ("Outsourced")

it.

: () That’s so great!

: I did not! My aunt works in a call center, but that’s it. I knew nothing about them…aside from, y’know, occasionally contacting one. () But, you know, I didn’t know what was behind them, what was on the other end of that phone. It’s an office, and they have their own office politics and culture there.

: I think it’s evolved big time! I mean, you know, the term “outsourced” was a way for us to get to India, and now I think everybody’s gotten to know our characters and the relationships and the dynamics. It’s stories about what’s happening between these characters. It’s not political. There’s no agenda there. It’s not sarcastic in any way. We’re just telling a story of people in India.

: () It was kind of quick, wasn’t it?

: Yeah, but while it was quick, I think there’s still lots of places to go with it. I mean, I think part of the story might be that it was too quick.

: () My point exactly! So we’ll see. We have a long way to go, in terms of fleshing out that whole situation.

: I think so, too. I wasn’t necessarily surprised that people embraced it, because I really believed in it when I signed on. I mean, when I read the script, I just laughed out loud. Like, just true gut laughter. There’s a lot of time where it’s polite laughter, but it’s just true, honest laughter. And I think it’s…you know, we’re in a place now where we’re able to watch a TV show that takes place in a different country, about a completely different culture, and still accept it into our homes every week and relate to it.

: The Skype scenes? Those are funny, because we’re just doing it to a blank screen, and then they superimpose it. But what’s great about it is that we have very generous actors on our show, so usually the actor will be in the room with you, reading the other text so that you’re not having to pretend to hear them or something. It makes it a lot easier.

: It was, and since then it’s grown even more. I mean, we’re family. It’s like going to summer camp every single day when you’re going to work. (Laughs) I wish I were joking, but I’m not! We hang out together outside of work, and we live close by to each other. I know a lot of casts that don’t quite bond like we do, but the way I feel is that if we’re having fun, then the audience will have fun watching us have fun.

: Well, you know, they don’t… () I can tell you a couple of episodes that are coming up. Our first episode coming back next week, it’s January 20th and it’s at 10:30 PM, which is our new timeslot, after “30 Rock” now on Thursdays. That one starts off with a big Bollywood dance number.

: Yeah, there’s a little clip that they just released on the internet today, and there’s a lot of stuff going on there. I get to play guitar, Anisha (Nagarajan) gets to sing, you see Parv (Cheena) dance…it’s a big way to start, so I’m really excited about that.

: Oh, yeah. Why throw it all out there at the beginning? Might as well draw it all out and save the best for last.

: Not that I’m aware of, no. They don’t really tell us that kind of stuff as of yet.

: Well, you know, it’s not really…I don’t think it’s that bad. I mean, we used to follow “The Office,” and now we follow “30 Rock.” And “30 Rock” is on par with “The Office” in terms of the quality and the people who watch it. It was an honor to follow “The Office,” and it’s an honor to follow “30 Rock,” so we’re happy. And I think this three-hour comedy block is really cool, and I think it’s a unique…you know, people haven’t tried comedy in this hour for, like, what, 15 years or something like that? And I think our show is the show to pioneer or experiment with that, because our show is such a new idea, and that timeslot is such a new idea. Hopefully, it’ll work out.

Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: Day 11 – or – The Day The Tour Ended

Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: Day 10 - or - The Day Will Hit the Wall

The TCA tour lasts for about two weeks. That's two weeks away from your family where you're spending the majority of your time sitting in a hotel ballroom, listening to panel after panel about upcoming TV shows. Don't get me wrong: I'm enough of a TV geek that I enjoy it from start to finish, but at a certain point, you find that your enjoyment begins to be regularly supplanted by the desire to just grab your shit and go the hell home. As a professional, I do my best to rise above this, which is why I invariably stick it out 'til the very last panel of the tour, but when you start considering the shit-grabbing and home-going more often than you find yourself thinking, "Say, this show sounds pretty good / awful," this is what is known in TV critic parlance as "hitting the wall."

And, baby, I have hit it.

When I woke up on the morning of Day 10 of the tour, I had a headache. It was the first time I'd had one since arriving in Pasadena, and, of course, I took it for what it was: a sign that both my body and mind were ready to return to Virginia. Little did I realize that it was really more of a portent of the evil that would cross my path on this day...but we'll get to that. With a job to do, I popped a couple of Motrin, swigged some coffee, and entered into the day's panels, which consisted of shows from the CBS family of networks, which includes, of course, CBS ("Chaos," "Mad Love," "The Good Wife"), but also Showtime ("The Borgias," "Shameless," "Californication," "Episodes") and The CW ("Shedding for the Wedding"). There were also executive sessions for the various networks, as well as one for the "Kick Ass Women of The CW," featuring stars from "Hellcats," "The Vampire Diaries," "Nikita," and "Smallville."

Looking at the talent list for the various panels, there were certainly people I wanted to chat with, but I've always had trouble picking up interviews for Showtime series, a fact which all but killed my chances with many of the most interesting actors in attendance, including Jeremy Irons, William H. Macy, David Duchovny, and Matt LeBlanc. Heck, I couldn't even pull a one-on-one with Colm Feore, although I did end up chatting with him later in the evening while pretending to be Canadian. (Don't ask.) But I did at least make it into post-panel scrums for Irons, Macy, and the ever-gorgeous Carla Gugino, so there's that, at least. And amongst the cast of CBS's "Mad Love" is the always amiable Tyler Labine, who I've been interviewing at TCA since my first tour, when "Reaper" debuted, so he and I got in a good one-on-one.

Most of my afternoon, however, was spent in a funk. Maybe it's because I'd hit the wall, but I found myself getting progressively grumpier about the way various actors' personal publicists were acting. One assured me that I could do a walk-and-talk with their client, who was in a rush to get to another appointment, only to promise the same thing to another writer moments later and leave me in the dust. Another deigned to let me do a one-on-one with her client, then - outside of her client's line of vision - starting tapping her watch ferociously before I'd even had two minutes of conversation. (This was particularly infuriating because the writers before and after me had neither a time limit nor been "chaperoned" during their interviews.) It was also a major bummer that the evening event was an hour-long cocktail party where the attendees were limited to the shows on The CW which were represented on the network's panels.

Despite my relatively grouchy attitude throughout the day, there were still some highlights on the panels that are worth mentioning, so here they are...

: Given Charlie Sheen’s antics over the weekend, how would you characterize your level of concern about him, and what is the network doing to help him? : Well, I really didn’t expect question this morning. So I’m just...I’m really taken by surprise. Look, obviously, we’ve thought, and I personally have thought, a lot about this, and we have a high level of concern. How could we not? But I have to speak to this personally first. On a very basic, human level, concern, of course. This man is a father. He’s got children. He has a family. So, obviously, there’s concern on a personal level. But you can’t look at it simplistically. Charlie is a professional. He comes to work. He does his job extremely well. We are taping tonight, and it’s...it’s very complicated, but we have a very good relationship with Warner Bros. I have a tremendous trust and respect in the way they are managing the situation. So, on a personal level, obviously concerned. On a professional level, he does his job, he does it well, the show is a hit, and...that’s really all I have to say.

: Jason, what about your character (in "Mad Love")? : Without giving too much away, obviously, I have sex with a sheet cake in the second episode. : We weren’t going to reveal that! : Way to . : I don’t know if that's a spoiler alert. Sorry, guys. : That’s the cake we used for what’s her name’s birthday? Just kidding. : Yes. Yes, it was. : I had a piece of that! : No. There are some situations. I wouldn’t say they are exactly, you know, akin to some of the I mean, let’s be honest. Those were very R rated, and some pushing NC 17 scenarios. : He loses his pants in Staten Island. : But I do lose my pants in Staten Island. So you do see me pantsless, which I think is what my fans demand of me in general and but yeah, there are some I mean, Matt has written, for all of us, some kinds of crazy situations. I mean, it’s inherent to this format, I think, is to create situations that are quite comical and kind of crazy. And for someone who can the person that does it right, they are funny, but they are also grounded in reality somehow, and they are with characters that you like and all that good stuff. And I feel like that’s what’s happening here. So, among those situations, which I believe there are some in every episode, one of them I lose my pants in Staten Island. The other one I have sex with a sheet cake.

: Freddy, describe what happens when you read a script that says, “Next, Rick eats a scorpion.” What was that like? And when you filmed it...I’m sure you didn’t eat a scorpion, but whatever you were holding... : How are you so sure? Q: It realistic. You were holding that was wiggly and scary. Just describe what it was like when you heard you were going to do it and what it was like to do that scene. : Well, to be honest, I wasn’t sure what it was going to be when I got there. And when I got there, if you remember, Tom... : Oh, I remember.

: ...it a real scorpion. I had a slight anxiety attack, to be honest, right? And then I got over it. And then I asked Brett Ratner to hold it. I would do it if he would hold it, and he refused, and we had an exchange. And after a while I got over it, and it was fun. I mean, when I read the script, there were so many great things that my character was doing in the pilot that I had to be involved even if it had to do with holding a scorpion. It was a real scorpion. I think they put Krazy Glue on the stinger, (but), yeah, it was real. : What does it look like to see that thing wiggling in front of your eyes? : Scary. It’s scary. : It peed on him. : Oh, yeah, it did. At one point in the night, it just...I didn’t the experience...it started peeing on me. And I didn’t know what it was. I just thought it was, like, spraying me with some sort of poison or...I wasn’t sure what it was, but it was urine. : Are you it was urine? : Yeah, it was urine. Gave me golden sunshine, I guess.

"Thank you for coming out, and thank you for showing the interest in the show. Michelle (King’s) and my moms keep sending us emails linking to great complimentary articles and reviews of ('The Good Wife'). So we’re very aware of what support we get from the critical community...and our moms are very aware of it, too." -

"I wouldn’t say they (CBS) ever ask us to make things more morally clear. I mean, sometimes cases need to be made clear. And in terms of what we can do on broadcast versus cable, I think we can pretty much do it all except say 'fuck.'” -

"(The title) 'The Good Wife' was always meant ironically. I think it’s actually very descriptive. I think the comment I made was it would have been nice to be ironic and call it 'The Sexy Wife' or 'The Sexy Wife Whose Husband Goes Down On Her' or something like that. That might have brought in more people." -

I read something about Pope John the Pope John Paul, is it, the Polish Pope. And it was from a Catholic theologian who said he wrote, actually, 'Habet duos testiculos et bene pendentes.' He said, 'This man is well hung. That’s why he deserved to be Pope.' Now, certain things the Vatican will not reveal to all of us, but there is a chair, apparently, a Porphyry Chair, with a large circular hole in it to so these examinations can be made. Now, many people will deny that, but I’ve read I read reputable historians who says it happens, okay? Perhaps no longer, but then it did." -

"I think (Rodrigo Borgia) is a pretty good guy just doing the best he can. I mean, power corrupts, you know. It was a time quite unlike the time we live in today. There were murders in Rome every night, poisonings most weekends. There was incest here and sodomy there. You know, it was a good old rolling, rollicking society. And if you’ve got to try and run that, which the Pope attempts to do, then, of course, you’ve got to play by some of the games, by some of the rules that society follows. I didn’t judge him at all. I just tried to hang on by the hang onto the position and do what he wanted too. I think it’s up to the audience to say what is good, what is wrong, what is right, and then think how much wonder how much has changed as you look at present day Italy or present day almost anywhere of power. I think there are huge parallels about what people get up to in order to hang on to power and in order to get their way. I don’t think anything has changed, and perhaps those thoughts will go through our minds when we judge these people. I played him. I thought I was quite a good guy. But George Bush probably thought he was quite a good guy, too." -

"As a director, ('The Borgias') is a nightmare because (the actors) all come with the books about their character. 'Hang on, I didn’t do that. Look, it says here he did this. It says here he did that.' Stop, please.” -

: You know, I think we’ve always had great luck, first and foremost, (getting guest stars for 'Californication.') But as we go along, it seems we attract more people. You know, we get a lot of calls of, like, 'So and so would love to do the show.' This year that didn’t happen. We had to actually go out and aggressively find people. But we had Carla (Gugino), who I told her when we first met that I was a fan for a long time. And I don’t know if she believed me, but that was very true. And it was so awesome to get her. Rob Lowe was a complete accident. We went after him. His agent told us he was unavailable. Then David’s hairstylist somehow made it happen. : That’s Hollywood for you. : It’s a long story, but my hairstylist can make a lot of shit happen. : It’s really more of a hair ninja.

"It sure is fun to play someone who is toasted all the time. In my whole career, I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time speaking for the little guy, the disenfranchised. And whether you like it or not at this moment, perhaps in this room, but certainly all across the country, a lot of people are really toasted right now, drunk as skunks, and I speak for them. I am the spokesperson for people who like to start the day with a couple of brewskies." -

Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: 9 Memorable Moments from Day 9

Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: Top 13 Quotes from Day 8

No proper panels today, but we did a heck of a lot of driving around. It was TCA Day, which meant that we went to this studio and that, visiting the sets of various shows and meeting their casts and creators. It started bright and early with trips to "Lopez Tonight" and "Conan," then it was over to 20th Century Fox, where we were treated to panels featuring stars from "Glee," "How I Met Your Mother," "Raising Hope," and "Modern Family," divided up into men and women, with Jimmy Kimmel moderating the panel for the guys. After that, we hit the sets of "Cougar Town," "Parks & Recreation," and "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior." Good times all around, especially for someone like me, who lives in Virginia and rarely gets to enjoy these kinds of experiences. After that, I headed over to the Vanguard for the taping of two episodes of Season 2 of "The Green Room with Paul Provenza," which was phenomenal. How can you go wrong with an evening that includes appearances from Ron White, Kathleen Madigan, Lewis Black, Margaret Cho, Richard Lewis, Jeffrey Ross, and others? Can't wait to see the final cut of the episode. (They run 30 minutes, but the taping's more like an hour and a half.)

But I know, you're wondering, "Why 13 quotes?" It's a weird number, so it's a valid question. Originally, it was going to be 15 quotes, but for reasons unknown to me, we have yet to receive a transcription from our trip to the "Parks & Recreation" set, which contained at least two more solid quotes. Oh, well.

"I’ve said it before and I sincerely mean it, in the modern landscape of television there is only a few ways to stay on TV, and one of them is to be, you know, lucky as shit and have a huge giant hit, and everybody in the world watches you, and the other is to cultivate a loyal and hopefully intelligent audience that follows you around, and that is in no great part due to people that champion the show if they like it. First and foremost, I wanted to say that for those of you that don’t like the show, fuck you guys. But those of you who have really taken the time to champion the show and write about it and say nice things, I’m grateful. It’s not just for ego reasons, in this day and age it really means something." - , "Cougar Town" (ABC)

"On April Fools’, I was talking to Usher, and I said, 'You have three kids.' He said, 'No, I don’t.' I said, 'Yeah.' He goes, 'No, I don’t. Don’t you have research people that tell you?' I mean, and he looks at the audience, and he says, 'You would think that a host would do his research and know facts about a guest before he asks a question.' And then he said, 'April Fool's.' He got me, yeah." - , "Lopez Tonight" (TBS)

"I’ve never considered myself particularly interested in media. I mean, I’m someone who likes to come in and do my job, and then I like to go home and play with my kids. I wasn’t used to being a media story. It was never a goal of mine. So the strangest thing about immediately after the (end of 'The Tonight Show') was my wife decided the next morning, early on, we should just drive up to Santa Barbara and check into a hotel and decompress for three days because she thought this guy needs to decompress. He needs to. So we got up really early in the morning. We got in our car, and we pulled out of our house, and two cars followed right in behind us and followed us all the way to Santa Barbara and then just hung outside the hotel for three days. And, you know, I’m not Brad Pitt. I’m not George Clooney. You know, I’ve been blessed with their DNA, but I just thought, 'Who are they following?' So that was weird.

"And there were a lot of highs. I walked into a restaurant that day, and everybody in the restaurant applauded. And I thought, 'Well, that’s nice. This is weird. And, also, this isn’t a living. I don’t see how to do this as a job, walk around and get applauded in restaurants.' So there was an initial sort of high, but then I went back to my house, and we had a lot of stuff to figure out. And one of the first things I did was...you know, this show and these shows have been the organizing principle of my life for such a long time that I thought, 'I’ve got to call my assistant and get to work.' So I called my assistant, Sona, and I said, 'We should get together and go over all of the things we need to do.' And she said, 'Okay. Where?' And my wife wanted me out of the house, and so I said, 'Okay,' and we decided to meet at a Marie Callender’s pie restaurant.

"I’m not kidding. I hosted 'The Tonight Show.' I think the last show was a Friday. I hosted that 'Tonight Show' on a Friday, and on Monday, I’m in a Marie Callender’s pie restaurant, and my assistant has a laptop, and we are sitting there. And there’s two other customers in the place, you know, stabbing at a pie at 11:00 in the morning, and this was now my new headquarters. And I pass this Marie Callender’s a lot, and I think about that shocking...I mean, it was just the juxtaposition of these insane images of 'Tonight Show,' iconic, Marie Callender’s restaurant, meeting / office. This is where I work now. And that kind of summed up the madness, I think, a little bit of that time." -

"I think the expectation that women be attractive as well as funny has just always been there. We even need attractive news anchors who are telling us about death and destruction and they still need to be pretty. I don’t know why it is. Some sociobiological level. We need to look at females and think, 'I would hit that.' I think that the gentlemen may need it." - , "Modern Family" (ABC)

"The guy is usually like the star of (sitcoms). The show is usually built around the guy and (you) sort of feel like...you know, even from Jackie Gleason on, his wife on the show, Audrey Meadows, was very beautiful, but she was sort of his foil. She’s sort of his straight man. And that’s usually the role of the woman in the traditional sitcom or comedy thing: the woman is there to have the guy bounce the comedy off of. She’s there to make him look like an ass. In a good way that makes us laugh." - , "Raising Hope" (Fox)

"Especially in late night, people focus on female writers, and I will say that from my perspective, when we started the show, we got about 120 submissions from writers to be part of the show, and of those 120, two of them were women, and we hired one of those two women. So there just aren’t as many women female writers. They’re just really aren’t as many and you don’t want to get in a situation where you’re hiring people just because of whether they have a penis and/or vagina or not." -

"Everybody is asking about not playing the girlfriend roles. I have played the girlfriend roles for years and the finger-shaker and the one that’s like, 'Oh, fill-in-the-blank comedian, when you’re done with your crazy little adventure,' and I find it a relief to finally get to play a mom. It’s like, 'Wait, so you like something about me other than you might want to bang me?' I mean, I want to get old in this business - and by 'old,' I mean old, like, saggy old and the face old and real things drooping down into my socks old - and there’s a handful of women who have done it. Betty White. Cloris Leachman. I’m sure you can name many more, but very few women. And it’s a terrible river to cross when you’re crossing it because you’re not sure if you’re going to get to the other side. So finally playing a mother of teenagers makes me feel like I’ve got a shot. They like something about me other than prospective bangability." -

"I was talking to a guest last night about the idea (how) on talk shows now you have to be funny. It doesn’t matter. You could bring Dr. Kevorkian out there. It’s like, 'All right, what anecdotes does he have to share with us?' And I think it’s because it’s going to go off that path every once in a while, but really I think for the comfort of the guest, it’s nice to have an area you know you can go to to be funny and some people are better at it. Some of these stories, it’s like doing a little sketch with somebody and you’re pretending you don’t know the story. You’re like, 'Really? Wow, you went to Africa, tell me about that,' and it’s bullshit." -

"A 'Buffy' movie without Joss (Whedon)...? I would crap on that." -

: We film ('How I Met Your Mother') like it’s a big multi‑camera show, and yet there’s no audience there. You have to do this like quasi‑heightened reality as if there’s people laughing audibly at your jokes. It changes, kind of, the tempo of what it is we do. It’s a unique sort of weird hybrid style. : Because there’s no audience, so you have to hold for a laugh that’s not there. You get to guess how funny your joke is. 'I’m going to give this one four seconds.' And then you see the episode, and then there’s, like, the canned laughter for three seconds, and then three second of silence. We’re all just sitting there. : I think I’m going to start opening the door and then waiting for entrance applause. Start my line and then hold. Say the line, look out, finish the line.

"I personally think that (my character and I) dress completely differently. You might disagree. I think that we do. I can tell you that I have found some really cool dresses that I have gone to walk out the door and gone, 'Uh-uh. I look like Penelope. I’ve got to go back upstairs and change,' because she dresses really good. They borrowed in terms of...like, I think we both let our freak flags fly. I like dressing how I like to dress, and I look like a little art statement. And I think she likes to dress like that, but I think she makes her own art statement, and I have a glam squad that definitely does that. I think the part that they borrowed from is, like, 'Oh, she can pull this off because, in real life, she dresses like a seven-year-old pirate from space.'" - , "Criminal Minds" and "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior" (CBS)

"I love getting to know actors, and Kevin (Biegel) does, too, and seeing what their real personalities are like and stealing from them. And one of the first things that I noticed when I met Courteney Cox is she pours herself a healthy glass of wine. She pours herself like the type that you could do wrist curls with. What did our prop guy say you could fit in (Jules's glass) officially? A bottle-and-a-half of wine per glass. And she drinks maybe five or six in one show." - , "Cougar Town" (ABC)

An Open Letter to Kara DioGuardi

Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: Top 10 Quotes from Day 7

: Are you going to have to put Steve on a five second delay on ('American Idol')? : Fuck, no. () I question whether I should have done that just now.

: So how does it feel to be a Latina on ('American Idol')? : I don’t know how it would feel to be anything else.

"Having done 'The Shield' and 'The Chicago Code,' I’d feel much more comfortable being pulled over by the Chicago PD than the LAPD at this point." -

: Can you talk about how you find the voices for new characters like this? Do you work with the producers and they say, “We kind of want this sound,” or do you look at the character sketch and say, “Hey”? How does that work? : We went on a year long walkabout, and then it came to us. : Trying to go get in touch with our, like, spirit animals. Like mine’s a tiger, and I studied tigers for a year. : That doesn’t answer your question at all. We played around in the studio over a period of probably year and a half or two recording and rerecording stuff for this pilot, and sort of, with both us and direction from Loren and FOX, sort of, I think, found the tone and voice, but also I have a spirit animal too. : What is it? : I’m not telling anybody. No one cares. : Sounds like a turtle. : It’s a “minx,” if that’s an animal.

Welcome Back, "Wipeout" - A Chat with Jill Wagner and Matt Kunitz

Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: No Quotes from Day 6? (Well, not many, anyway...)

The greatest mystery surrounding ABC's day of the TCA press tour is why they chose to make so little of it. Given that they had ABC, ABC Family, Disney Channel, DisneyXD, the outgoing SOAPNet, and the incoming Disney Junior to work with, it's absolutely unforgivable that there were only the entire damned day. Day 6 began on a decidedly solemn note, as the giant screens in the ballroom aired the national moment of silence to commemorate the tragedy in Tucson, and, perhaps appropriately, things shifted directly into the introduction of new ABC News president Ben Sherwood. Next up, Paul Lee, the president of ABC Entertainment, took the stage for his executive session. After that, we had a "Winter Wipeout"-themed cocoa break, then came back into the ballroom for two more panels: one for the return of ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars," the next for the new ABC medical drama, "Off the Map." Then came lunch revolving around the new Disney Junior animated series "Jake and the Never Land Pirates," followed by a panel for the new Disney Channel movie, "Lemonade Mouth," which - beyond the music playing during the trailer - only held my interest when the very cute and very British actress Naomi Scott opened her mouth.

And that's it.

Well, it wasn't it. We had a cocktail party at 5 PM which was ostensibly "Off the Map"-themed (they offered a trio of tropical cocktails, but I am hard pressed to recall any hors d’oeuvres that had any particular South American flair), but it only featured stars from ABC's mid-season shows, and even then there were several notable names missing from the guest list, the two most notable being Matthew Perry from "Mr. Sunshine" and Dana Delaney from "Body of Evidence." Now, admittedly, my experiences with Mr. Perry during the summer tour make his absence neither surprising nor overly upsetting, but it was kind of a bummer that Ms. Delaney wasn't there, as she's always been a real sweetheart.

What I want to know is, why didn't ABC offer panels for one or two of their existing shows, like CBS and NBC are doing with "The Good Wife" and "Community," respectively?

I'll give us them credit for setting up a "Cougar Town" set visit for us - that's happening on the 12th - but I would've loved a panel for "Castle," "The Middle," or any number of current ABC series.

And why not have an evening function featuring folks from of their series rather than just their midseason material? I'm not saying I didn't enjoy the fleeting chance to speak with Allison Janney about "Mr. Sunshine." I'm just saying that the whole day felt like one big missed opportunity.

You know, I was originally going to try and offer up the top 6 quotes from Day 6's panels, but it would feel forced, so I'm not going to waste your time or mine. I will, however, offer at least one which made me laugh...

-

Hmmm. Come to think of it, that may just be funny because I was here last year for Paul Lee's appearance. Oh, well.

Speaking of Lee, though, he did offer a few moments that might be of interest to you, so I'll offer those, at least:

* The three Dunphy kids try to bring their parents breakfast in bed as a wedding anniversary present, only to find Phil and Claire in the throes of their own celebration. Luke gets the best line, observing that he's not sure what game his mother and father were playing, "but it looked like Dad was winning."

* There's a character-driven procedural from Shonda Rhimes ("Grey's Anatomy") and two comedies, one from Chris Moynihan ("100 Questions") called “Man Up” and one from Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen ("Friends") called “Smothered.”

* "Look, does the position after 'Modern Family' provide for us a great launch pad for what we consider to be strong comedies into the future? Yeah, of course it does," he admitted. "I mean, otherwise we wouldn’t have put the Matt Perry show ('Mr. Sunshine') there, and we think that’s a good place to put it. In the long term, do we have ambitions that 'Cougar Town' could on its own start an hour? We would love to see it do that. Nevertheless, nobody looks at our Wednesday at 9:00 and 9:30 and doesn’t feel that’s a great hour of television, and those are very good ratings."

* . "I for one am thrilled that we have Marvel within our family," he said. It’s a superb opportunity for us. And 'Jessica Jones,' which we have Melissa Rosenberg doing, and 'The Hulk,' which Guillermo Del Toro is helping us with, these are A list showrunners that we think is critical. I mean, if you’re going to bring back a franchise, I think, it’s easier to launch a well known franchise. You have the following wind of a well known name. But what really distinguishes the one that survives are the quality of the shows, so that’s why a Barry Jossen at the studio — and we have done as much as we can to really get what we consider to be A list showrunners for that. So, yeah, we’ve got a little glint in our eye that we would love to make a Marvel franchise work on the network, and we’ll see how it goes. We don’t necessarily have to do it on cycle. We certainly would like to do it with a huge amount of support and, you know, this is one of the things I think our company does better than other companies that I’ve worked for in the past, is that you can get the whole company behind an idea and that if it works, you can then make that idea live in theme parks and in retail stores and beyond. So I definitely have a glint in my eye that I would love to make that happen, and we have the properties to do it. And they probably won’t be the only two Marvel things that we do going forward."

Beyond that, though, I really can't say as I have anything to offer you of interest about the other panels. I had a nice chat with Jason George, late of "Eli Stone," who hails from my home area of Hampton Roads, so for his sake, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that "Off the Map" turns into a mid-season success. I also had brief conversations with a few "Wipeout" folks, including co-host Jill Wagner and executive producer Matt Kunitz, so look for those to turn up in the near future. Otherwise, though, I got nothin'.

See you guys tomorrow for Fox. Trust me, it'll be .

Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: Top 5 Quotes from Day 5 (+ 1 Great Anecdote)

Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: Top 10 Quotes from Day 4

Not all of the critics who attend the TCA Press Tour care a lot about PBS's days of the tour, but I always try to attend as many of their panels as possible. For one reason, I'm a longtime Anglophile, so it's like shooting fish in a barrel to convince me that I ought to check out a new episode from one of the "Masterpiece" shows. For another, I'm a former record store clerk and music critic, so the concerts are always an easy sell. And then, of course, you've got the retrospectives of various actors, films, and televisions series. Basically, there are any number of reasons for me to get excited about PBS...and, as usual, they gave me several this tour.

Breakfast came with an introduction from and a short Q&A with Jose Andres, host of "Made in Spain," a show which I now feel like I need to watch just because he was so darned charming. After that, we got an update from PBS Kids which was surprisingly unexciting, but I stuck it out because I didn't want to feel guilty about strolling out with the "Dinosaur Train" and "Super Why" toys that were on table. (My daughter's going to them...) From there, we shifted into the big ballroom and spent some time with Jeff Bridges as he talked about his upcoming "American Masters" special, then back to the small ballroom for the "Masterpiece" presentations on "Upstairs Downstairs" and "Zen."

Back to the big ballroom again for "Bears of the Last Frontier," but although I was fascinated, I had to slip out early in order to do a one-on-one with Rufus Sewell about his work on "Zen." Thankfully, I made it back in time for the long but wonderful panel for "The Best of Laugh-In," featuring Gary Owens, Jo Anne Worley, Ruth Buzzi, Lily Tomlin, and creator George Schlatter. Sadly, I missed most of the next two panels, "Forgiveness: A Time to Love & A Time to Hate" and "Independent Lens: Artists Profiles," but on the other hand, it's because I was able to help my buddy Brian Sebastian on interviews with Owens and Tomlin, even getting a few questions in myself.

The evening event was a performance by Harry Connick Jr. in conjunction with his "Great Performances" special, and I thought it was fantastic, if unabashedly jazzy. But, really, if you were expecting anything else, then you clearly haven't been listening to the man's music very much. All I know is that he tore the roof off the joint, and I loved every minute of it.

Okay, time for your top 10 quotes of the day. You'll note more repetition of shows this go-round, but all I can tell you is that there were fewer panels and less instantly memorable moments in some of them. I think you'll still get a few good laughs from this bunch, anyway, though. See you tomorrow!

"I got a little bit nervous when they told me that I had to be speaking in front of TV critics. I knew I was coming here to share time at PBS, but all of a sudden it’s, like, 'The room is going to be full of TV critics.' Great: all my life dealing with food critics one by one, and now I’m going to have to be dealing with an entire room of TV critics...?" - , "Made in Spain"

"There’s an element in making movies, the collage, that you give all your stuff and then the director cuts it up and makes a different piece out of it. Seeing myself as this young guy (in 'Tron: Legacy'), it rubbed my fur a little bit the wrong way. You know, it was a bit like...remember the first time you heard your voice on a tape recorder, how weird it sounded to you? Early on in my career...I don’t know if we have time for kind of a long story. You feel like a story or not?

"My first film was called 'Halls of Anger.' The movie was about busing white kids into a black school, and I was the white kid who was supposed to be, you know, trying to integrate into the sports and all these things. And the black kids keep beating me up. So now this is the scene here; what I’m going to describe is the climax of the film. And Calvin Lockhart, wonderful actor, is playing the boys’ vice principal. And the scene is; I’ve been beaten up, and now I’m there, and I say, 'I’m quitting.' And I’m in tears and everything. He says, 'No, you got to stick.' I say, 'I’ve had it. I’ve had enough,' you know. So we started shooting the scene, and we did Calvin’s side first. And all my emotion came, and I was thinking, 'God, I hope I have it when we come back to my side.' Then they shot all the coverage of all the people’s reaction, and I was there. And then they came to my side, and I kicked , man. I was so...it was like fresh, and I got applause from the crew. And I was, like, 'Oh, man, maybe I should do this acting thing. I’m pretty good!' Now we cut to Watts, and it’s the premiere of the show, and I’m sitting there with my brother on one side and my father on one side. And I’m saying, 'Wait till you guys see my...' Well, you know, not saying it to them, but I’m saying it inside. And here comes the scene. And here it comes. And now they’re on Calvin. Yeah, Calvin, the boys’ vice principal. Yeah. Cut to me. Cut to . Why aren’t you cutting to ? And now they cut to me...and my face is something like (a grimace). And the entire audience laughs...and I just about had a bowel movement. And if you listened, it was the perfect reaction that I wanted from the audience.

"That was like a real crossroads for me with the acting, because I thought, 'God, how do you protect yourself?' And you don’t. You just have to be willing to lay it out there and put yourself in some director’s hands." -

"(My performance tonight) was really weak. You know what it is, man? Like, I resorted a little bit of trickery. I haven’t sung a song in four months. I haven’t sat at a piano in four months because I was doing this dolphin movie. I’ve been a veterinarian for the last four months. So it’s unfair in a sense. But you guys didn’t pay to get in here, so I don’t feel that bad about it." - , "Great Performances: Harry Connick, Jr. in Concert on Broadway"

"Lady Bellamy (on 'Upstairs, Downstairs') was played by Rachel Gurney in the first series. The truth of the story is she came into a great deal of money. Her mother died and left her a lot of money. So she went to John Hawkesworth and the other producers and said, 'Sorry, I’ve got to go, I don’t want to do this anymore.' So she went down on the Titanic, as you’ll remember, Lady Bellamy did. And either (Rachel) ran through the money, or she got bored, and she wanted to come back, so she went to John Hawkesworth and said, 'Could you please write me back in, darling?' And he said, 'Rachel, the only person who could write you back in is Jacques Cousteau.'” - , "Masterpiece: Upstairs, Downstairs"

“'Upstairs Downstairs' premiered in England in 1971, it went on for five years, there were probably 68 episodes, and about 15 years ago, Jean Marsh and I were at a reception with Princess Margaret, in England. Princess Margaret was notorious as a party girl, as you all know, and there were great gaps in her own personal history. So Jean...I probably shouldn’t be telling the story, but it’s too late now...Jean was introduced presented to Princess Margaret, who was there in the dress, with the handbag. And the equery sort of whispered in Princess Margaret’s ear and said, 'Jean Marsh, the creator of the very popular television series ‘Upstairs Downstairs.’' Blank, nothing. Shakes hand with Jean, and the equery says, 'You remember, the one about the Bellamy family at Eaton Place.' And Princess Margaret said, 'Oh, yes. The one about the classes.' Now, Jean’s a very feisty piece of work, and it doesn’t go down well, things like that, with Jean. So Jean is shaking her hand, curtsies, whatever you do, whatever you people do over there, curtsy. And she said, 'How do you do, ma’am.' Jean said, 'Did you see it?' And Princess Margaret said, 'No, I was away.' And Jean said, 'For five years?' That’s our Jean." -

: Rufus has been Tom (Stoppard’s) surrogate son for about the last 20 years. I’m working through a lot of issues, actually, about this at the moment. : This is a breakthrough. : Yeah, and you’re all here. It’s like an intervention. Rufus, as I’m sure you’re aware, starred in 'Arcadia' in 1993. So I would have been 19. I remember going to see it — 18, 19 — and I remember going to see it and sort of slightly having a crush on him, really, truth be told. Have I not told you this before? : No.

: Okay. Don’t print that. But basically thinking, “This is..." That was certainly one of those moments in my adolescence where I thought, 'This is something I’d like to do.' So I kind of knew Rufus from afar, and we’d sort of bumped into each other once or twice over the years. But, you know, Caterina was quoted in an interview I noted where she was asked, 'What first attracted you to this project?' And she said, 'Rufus Sewell.' And I kind of felt...I mean, that was also sort of pertinent to me. The idea of working with Rufus was...I was about to say very attractive. That’s not what I want to say at all, but...you know what I mean. : More of a breakthrough than we need.

: I must admit, (getting Richard Nixon to appear on 'Laugh-In') was my biggest mistake, and I've had to live with that ever since he announced that that may have gotten him elected, but Paul Keyes was his closest friend, and I said, 'Let's do something. What about Nixon?' He said, 'We'll go talk to him.' So we went over to CBS, and Paul said, 'Mr. Nixon, we want you to say, 'Sock it to me.' He said, "What is 'sock it to me'?' I said, 'Just say that.' He did say that. So we got a camera. Now, his guys are still, 'He can't do it,' and we're in there, and we say, 'Just say, 'Sock it to .'" "Sock it to me." "No, no, Mr. Nixon. If you could say, like, 'Sock it to .'' 'Yes, I've got it. This comedy is new for me, you know. Sock it to .' So we took six takes to try to get the one you saw, and we were out of there like a porch climber and put it on before anybody really knew what we were doing or knew the effect that it would have. Then we chased Hubert Humphrey all over the country trying to get him to rebut it...and he said that cost him the election.

: Well, you know, I was with Humphrey that particular day. He was doing "Meet the Press" that same day that Nixon came on "Laugh In," but not together. So I knew Humphrey from my days in the Midwest, so I said, "Let's go down and talk to him." Well, he can't do anything except say, "No," and at this point, he says, "Well, I'm just starting to do 'Meet the Press.' Can you guys come back in maybe an hour and a half, and I'll ask my advisors what I should do." Well, of course, we're waiting around thinking he would do it, and his advisors told him that he'd have his pants sprayed with seltzer and fall through a trap door... : Not a bad idea... : ...which, of course, you wouldn't have done. But, so, anyway, his advisors told him not to do "Laugh In." : They passed a special bill in Congress that would...they had an equal time provision, a special bill that allowed a political candidate, if it was a nonpolitical statement, under five seconds to appear on a variety show so that Nixon could appear. And I've had to live with that.

"I tried to resist...creating a strong persona because of my father, you know, with 'Sea Hunt' and Mike Nelson and all that. I saw how frustrated he was, because he was a very versatile actor, and because he was so successful as Mike Nelson. He got offered a lot of skin diving scripts. That’s about it for quite a while. So I went about not developing a strong persona, and now The Dude has sort of materialized as that. And I’m not so I’m not so stuck on not developing a persona. I figure now my persona is going to be whatever it is, and I’ve got enough material around The Dude that the filmmakers know I can do other things, so I’m not as worried as I once was about that, and I love 'The Big Lebowski.' It’s one of my favorite movies. I’m partial. I’m in it. That’s one reason. Even if I wasn’t in it, it would still be one of my favorite movies. It always hooks me. You know, I’m one of the guys who clicks on the TV, and if 'The Godfather' comes on, I’ll watch that. I get hooked. I say, 'I’ll just watch a couple of scenes,' and I get hooked. And 'Lebowski' is like that with me too. I’ll watch a couple scenes, and I’m a goner." -

"I remember asking Brian May, the guitar player with Queen, 'How much did Freddie (Mercury) know...like, know...about music?” And he said he had a third grade piano education, which is fascinating to me because, when you think about the stuff he did like on any song, like 'Death on Two Legs,' whatever song you want to pick, 'Bohemian Rhapsody' would be the obvious choice, and there’s a lot of stuff going on there. You know, what I dug about him so much is he was completely uninhibited as a performer. He just didn’t care. Like, he would just go out and wear what he wanted, even with his sexuality and with the way every nothing mattered. I mean, he wasn’t afraid of anything. As a young performer, that’s what you aspire to: to be able to not care. And the more you sort of restrict yourself with the confines of established art form like jazz and when you start to become successful at it, it becomes more and more difficult to be uninhibited because you like the success, you like what’s happening to you. So you would destroy it by doing anything contrary to that.

"I experienced that when I did these funk records. People you know, they come to my shows to hear me singing 'It Had to Be You,' and then we’re playing really weird New Orleans R&B, and so it’s difficult. But Freddie Mercury was one of those guys who didn’t care. That’s extremely rare, I think, to be able to do that, and you couple that with his musical abilities, I wouldn’t say he was the greatest piano player in the world, but he’s certainly intensely musical, and his vocals...like, there’s a guy I wouldn’t want to have a cutting contest with as a singer. Like, I mean, he just...that’s just...it’s, like, silly ability. That’s unbelievable to be able to do that, and even when you listen to his vibrato, it’s erratic. You know what I mean? That’s just talent, straight up talent and creativity. That’s ridiculous. Imagine what he would have been able to do had he been trained. Like, it wouldn’t have affected his spontaneity or creativity at all, I don’t think. I think that’s a big myth when you you know, when you become educated, it takes away from the soulful part. Imagine. I mean, that’s just, like, once a century talent, I think."

"You know, some of (the talk show hosts) are great eaters. Charlie Rose is. Conan O’Brien is. But this is entertainment at 1:00 a.m. If you have anyone at 1:00 a.m. awake, don’t talk to them about the future of humankind through food, you know? When I go to these shows, I know I make a clown of myself. They never sit me in the sofa. I’m, like, 'What the heck?' Because I’m an immigrant? They make you cook. You know, they don’t invite Frank Gehry and they put him to make little buildings in the middle of the room. But with chefs, they still make us cook. Like, 'All right, give me a break.'" - , "Made in Spain"

Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: Top 10 Quotes from Day 3

Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: Top 10 Quotes from Day 2

The first half of the second day of the Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour belonged solely to the Turner networks, who had been notably MIA from the summer tour. Although there were unconfirmed reports that they were not entirely thrilled with the dates that had been set for that tour, as most of their summer programming had already premiered by the time the tour kicked off, but during the opening remarks, we were assured that "we ask for time on the critics tour schedule when we can make it worth your while." Fair enough, then.

After an "Adventure Time"-themed breakfast from Cartoon Network, Adult Swim brought on a plethora of panelists for "Childrens Hospital" (everyone in the above photo was in attendance, plus executive producers Jonathan Stern and David Wain), TNT followed with "Franklin & Bash," "Falling Skies," and "Men of a Certain Age," then HLN and CNN wrapped things up by getting real and presenting the new talk shows from Dr. Drew Pinsky and Piers Morgan, respectively. Given that I ended up pulling one-on-one interviews with Malcolm McDowell, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Breckin Meyer, Garcelle Beauvais, Ray Romano (and Jon Manfrellotti), Scott Bakula, and Henry Winkler, I am hard pressed to have an unkind word to say about the Turner experience...except, that is, the fact that I diligently and politely contacted publicists for both networks and studios in an effort to nail down interviews in advance but was still ultimately left to fly by the seat of my pants and spend the morning in catch-as-catch-can mode.

Our working lunch was brought to us by the unlikely tag-team of BET ("The Game," "Let's Stay Together") and Playboy TV ("Brooklyn Kinda Love," "Swing"), and from there it was on to the Discovery family of networks: Animal Planet ("Taking on Tyson," a look into Mike Tyson's love of pigeons...yes, seriously), Science Channel ("An Idiot Abroad," with Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and title character Karl Pilkington), Investigation Discovery ("The Injustice Files"), and the mothership, the Discovery Channel ("Gold Rush - Alaska" and "Kidnap & Rescue").

By then, the excitement / cynicism in the room was palpable: it was time for the OWN Network presentations. We'd been promised a welcome from Oprah, but we didn't get one. Instead, we got an introduction from network CEO Christina Norman. She's a very nice lady, but it wasn't quite the same, and she admitted as much when she came onstage after a lengthy series of clips featuring Ms. Winfrey, saying, "I know: after all that Oprah, I am a massive disappointment to all of you." Her Majesty did indeed deign to participate in a Q&A with us, but not until after we sat through panels for "Your OWN Show" (10 finalists compete to get their own series on the network), "The Gayle King Show," and "Our America with Lisa Ling." After Oprah held court, using what my esteemed colleague Bill Harris of the Toronto Sun referred to as the George W. Bush Technique, which involved offering incredibly lengthy answers in order to minimize the number of questions actually asked.

After the Q&A came to a close (and you can believe that it only ended when Oprah wanted it to end), we were all invited to attend the evening event which, although it was ostensibly brought to us by the OWN Network, nonetheless featured attendees from shows throughout the Discovery family of networks. This resulted in my having close encounters with Mike Tyson, , and...well, I didn't actually get to to Oprah, but I did stand very close to her (along with Carson Kressley and Nancy O'Dell, hosts of "Your OWN Show") and breathe the same as Oprah, so my understanding is that I will now never get cancer...which is nice, of course, but, damn, I could've used a new car.

I know, you wish I'd gotten a new car, too. Don't be sad, though, as I'm already sad enough for both of us. Besides, I'd much rather you read my selections for the top 10 quotes of Day 2 and leave me wallowing in my own car-less misery. No, don't worry about me, I'll be fine...just as long as you don't forget to come back for my coverage of Day 3.

"The one note we did get (for 'Children's Hospital'), it was from Warner Brothers...I hesitate to even tell you this, but when we turned in our first script for the web series, Warner Brothers called us up and said, 'Um, do you think you could cut the shot where we actually see the Twin Towers burning?' And we were like, 'Yeah, do you know what? That’s a great note.'” -

"I actually improvise all my own parts. I don’t know why they hire writers. I enjoy ad-libbing greatly, because I...basically, I can’t remember what the hell I’m doing. What’s the show called?" -

“My wife is saying, every time she sees me doing a kissing scene, she says, ‘This is bullshit. We have enough money.’” –

“My wife says, ‘Keep kissing.’” –

“I have been talking to teens continuously for 30 years and so, but for the grace of God, I understand what they’re saying. I understand their culture. I’m part of their cultural landscape. I’m going to welcome them over to HLN. I would be delighted if they followed me over there. I’m going to hope they do, but no, I don’t have trouble (talking to them). If I had not been speaking to them continuously and I was still listening to Deep Purple and The Doobie Brothers like I would had it not been for the fact that I know personally Slightly Stoopid and bands like that now because I have been in their culture for so long, I would have no idea what the hell they were talking about. But I do understand it quite vividly now.” – , “The Dr. Drew Show” (HLN)

“I don’t really care if (Madonna) knows who I am. I’ve got a vague idea that she knows who I am. She’s kind of been an irritant in my life for 20 years, so I had to ban her from the show. It’s probably quite childish, but it made me feel better. A bended-knee apology on CNN might swing it. Other than that, it’s a lifetime ban. Lady Gaga is half her age, twice as good looking, twice as talented, and twice as hot. I mean, why would I bother with Madonna, seriously?” –

"We decided because each episode (of 'Swingers') is about a different couple, so there really wasn’t sort of a through-line. I suppose we could have flown them in, but they’re probably busy having sex with people. So we really couldn’t get them on a plane. Ann and I, we were like Dian Fossey living amongst the swingers." - , "Swingers" (Playboy TV)

"My opinion don’t mean nothing. I’m here to talk about pigeons and stuff. Anything other than that, I’m a schmuck." -

"I think when people watch ('An Idiot Abroad'), they will realize that I am not a diff. They’ll see themselves in me, I think. Most normal people who, you know, travelers who go to foreign places, it is a shock to the system. And I think they will see themselves in me. But it does get on my nerves with – you know, they’re always annoying me. And I know always sort of people say, oh, it must be great being mates with Ricky (Gervais), but it isn’t. I will tell you what it is like. It’s like when you get a dog, and it seems like a good idea at the time. You go, it will be great to have a dog around the house, and then you realize it’s a pain in the ass, and it’s shitting everywhere, but everyone is going, 'Oh, what a cute dog.' The people who come around love that dog, but they don’t know what it’s like, the ins and outs of having that dog. And that’s what it’s like having him as a mate." - , "An Idiot Abroad" (Science Channel)

"If Oprah would have asked me to ride a unicycle naked and backwards at night, I would have asked her, 'Where do I sign up?' It’s Oprah." - , Your OWN Show (OWN)

"With a lot of ('Children's Hospital'), it’s so ridiculous that it would be silly to be offended by it. I feel like, if you are offended by that, you are not watching TV properly, like, you don’t understand how to sit there and watch television, I think." -

James Ellroy weighs in on Ronni Chasen's murder

Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: Top 10 Quotes from Day 1

The death march with cocktails begins anew!

The Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour kicked off on January 5th with the MTV family of networks offering up panels from TV Land ("Retired at 35" and "Hot in Cleveland"), CMT ("Working Class"), Spike ("Coal"), and Comedy Central ("Onion SportsDome" and "Tosh.0"). From there, it was on to a working lunch, where we learned of the TV Guide Channel's new reality series, "The Nail Files," while indulging in a grilled chicken salad and, to ruin any possible health benefits, followed it with a cupcake. With our bellies full, we moved on to the National Geographic sessions: "Beast Hunter," "Explorer," "Alien Invasion" and "Area 51 Declassified," and "WILD on Snakes." Next, we got a look at two new TV One shows, "Love That Girl!" and "Way Black When," took a gander of Peter Lik's new series for The Weather Channel, and the whole thing wrapped up with ESPN's presentations for "Year of the Quarterback" and the BCS title game.

No, wait, I forgot: after all of the panels had concluded, the Comcast networks threw us a cocktail party which was attended by folks from E!, G4, and Style series. By then, though, I was running on fumes, so all I really did was enjoy the food (petite filets, buttermilk mashed potatoes, turkey sliders, and deep-fried mac & cheese balls...), throw back a few bourbons, listen to Chris Gore rant about how awful "Tron: Legacy" was, and talk to Bruce Jenner for 15 minutes about his acting work, including "Can't Stop the Music." Indeed, the only time "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" came up was when one of his daughters called to tell him that they'd won Favorite TV Guilty Pleasure at the People's Choice Awards. (He applauded me for "going retro" with my questions.)

Also, somewhere in between all of those panels, I had a chance to ask Betty White a couple of questions, share an interview with Jane Leeves, and do one-on-ones with Wendie Malick, Henry Rollins, Phil Morris, and the anchors and executive producer of "Onion SportsDome." Arguably my most impressive accomplishment, however, was talking to Jerry Rice, asking a question provided to me by David Medsker (and tightened up slightly by Anthony Stalter), and having him seemingly believe that I know something about sports when I absolutely do .

I'll be revisiting some of the individual panels on a case-by-case basis as time allows, but in the meantime, here are the top 10 quotes from Day 1 of the tour. Hope you enjoy them, and see you after Day 2!

"What is this Betty White business? This is silly. Really, it is very silly. You've had such an overdose of me lately. Trust me. I think I'm going to go away for a while. It's hard for me to say no to a job because you spend your career thinking if you say no, they'll never ask you again, and if you don't take the job, you know, that may be the end of it, but my mother taught me to say no when I was a girl, but that wasn't about show business. So the result is I'm trying to cut down. I really am." - , "Hot in Cleveland" (TV Land)

"Betty White is in the building. Did you hear that? I hope I get to touch her. I just had cataracts, and I'm still adjusting, but what I see is looking pretty good." -

"That mine (in Westchester, West Virginia) is a very complicated mine. It's not as easy as it looks on TV. It's 40,000 tons of steel, and it can run over you, and it can be on you in a heartbeat. Because I've been mashed by one before. And you really got to know what you're doin' working a coal mine. I mean, seriously, you really gotta know what you're doing to be a coal miner. That's the biggest thing. People think we're ignorant. 'They've got to work the coal mines because they can't do nothing else.' Well, me, I can do about anything. I can weld. I can...you know, I can do anything. But we're not ignorant. We choose that life because we like to live in an area, and we want to make good money for our family, and that's the reason we're there." -

"I don't know why I get away with some things. But I'm not a misogynistic, racist person. Yet I do find those jokes funny, so I say them. And I try to say everything kind of in a good spirit. I'm not up there preaching, by any means. They're not my beliefs. So...I don't know. I've done standup solidly for 15 years, and I've always kind of said whatever I wanted on stage. And the audiences have been pretty receptive. My goal certainly has never been to offend people, but I just...I'm not going to hold back because I think, 'Oh, that might upset somebody.' There was...the transgender group was upset with us for a joke we did for a while, but then I gained them back by...I don't know what I did. I did something that made them love me, because I love transgender people in general. I think that's a good organization. Are they here? Which table are they at?" - , "Tosh 2.0" (Comedy Central)

"The whole thing about (the man in New Jersey who was eaten by his pet Nile monitor lizards), if you know kind of the 'behind the scenes' on that, it’s actually still thought that he had a heart attack. And those animals were left without food, and they will feed on carrion, and then they depredated him as a food source as a last resort. So my thoughts on that are you should probably keep those animals locked up. But dead is dead, so if he died from a heart attack and then he was consumed, I think Disney would say that’s the circle of life." - , "Python Hunters" (Nat Geo WILD)

"Hollywood’s getting it wrong. There’s a lot of waste, not that I want to undercut anybody’s check, but there is a lot of fat that could be trimmed that brings these projects to market a little bit more economically, a little bit better creatively because you don’t have so many hands in the pie telling you what your vision can’t be. And I think that’s why the cable outlets are jumping on board. People want this. The audience aren’t the ones that didn’t want sitcoms. I think it was just the networks, and their paradigm was no longer appropriate for the dynamic, but audiences, especially African-American audiences, they want the whole ride. They want to laugh, cry, scream, shout, love. And shows like our show give them an opportunity to see themselves and feel that way. -

"That is a total guy question (to ask if celebrities actually notice each other’s fingernails and toenails). Not to like point you out in the room, but it’s the guy in the middle right there, waving around his unmanicured hand. But it’s true. People are saying, 'Oh, what is this? Is this going to be like a show where you just watch people’s nails dry?' I’m, like, 'It’s not like that.' Nails are an accessory. It’s a six-and-a-half-billion-dollar-a-year industry, and it’s looked at like the black eye. And this is L.A., and I’m, like, 'Why can’t it be fabulous? Why can’t it be like the hair salons, the boutiques, the restaurants? Why is the nail salon like the little dump in the corner where you just run in and you pay your 20 bucks and get yelled at, and then you’re kicked out?' I think I can change that, and it’s definitely been working, and now we do have men. I mean, men aren’t afraid to come in. Granted, we do have free Jack Daniels. So if you’re going to have a free glass of whiskey, you’ll come in and get your feet rubbed for 20 bucks." - , "The Nail Files" (TV Guide Channel)

"Speaking specifically first and foremost to the TV One audience, parts of ('Way Black When') were, like, really cool. Sometimes you did have guests that that everyone don’t know who they are, (but) black folks know. On our 'New Jack City' program, we had...and his name escapes me for the moment, I apologize...we had the dude that shot Nino Brown at the end (Bill Cobb). Every black person knows who that is. 'You’re that dude that shot Nino Brown!' Come to find out, this dude’s been in, like, 100 movies. You’ve seen him in a gang of things. So we get to celebrate. It wasn’t like it was huge part of the film, but very, very memorable and something that I know the TV One audience will really gravitate towards. 'That’s that dude that shot Nino!'" -

"I was in diapers collecting jars filled with bees and getting stung over and over because I wanted to see what they felt like. I raised venomous snakes in my basement and lied to my mom about what they were. Yeah, it’s every mom’s dream, right? She expertly handles calls from the hospital." - , "Beast Hunter" (National Geographic)

"Do you guys ask questions for a profession? You’re pretty good. You don’t look like much as a group, but...good questions." -

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