It's that time of year again when the Television Critics Association assembles for its semi-annual press tour, this time in Pasadena, and the networks showcase their shows and talent.
The buzz this weekend has been dominated by the Leno/Conan debacle but the CBS family of networks had some news of their own.
During her remarks, CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler dropped a few nuggets.
-The new reality series "Undercover Boss," in which bigwigs at corporations go under cover in their own companies to work at the lower levels, will get the prized post-Superbowl slot.
-Charlie Sheen's recent arrest has had no impact on "Two and a Half Men."
-Her response to the whole failure of the Leno issue was to reiterate her pleasure at what it's meant for CBS' 10 o'clock programming. "We are enjoying success with new hit shows, as is ABC, as is FOX. So I think at the end of the day, it was an experiment that obviously did not work, but for us, like I said, there’s no substitute for just developing and producing and launching great shows."
-Sorry Alex O'Loughlin fans, "Three Rivers" has officially been cancelled.
-"Numb3rs" on the other hand, remains on the bubble.
-"Rules of Engagement" returns March 1 at 8:30 bumping "Accidentally on Purpose" to the new timeslot of 8:30 on Wednesdays.
-The new series "Miami Medical," about trauma surgeons, premieres April 2 at 10.
-The 20th edition of "Survivor," this time a "Heroes vs. Villains" round, premieres Feb. 11 at 8. I talked to "villain" "Boston" Rob Mariano at the "Survivor" tenth anniversary party and he thinks the third time is going to be the charm. Other locally-spawned contestants making it back to the island include Courtney Yates and Danielle DeLorenzo, also villains. And, just an FYI, Rupert Boneham remains as shaggy as ever.
Quote of the Day
The NBC late night isssue so dominated the news that even "CSI" producer and blockbuster movie man Jerry Bruckheimer referenced it when someone asked about the changes he's seen in television over the last decade. "We’re losing a lot more scripted programs. Fortunately, we’re hopefully going to get another hour back –which would be great."
Although there was no Q&A session, entertainment president Robert Greenblatt did make several announcements.
-The network is shooting "The Real 'L Word' of Los Angeles," a reality show following a group of lesbians, for this summer.
-Greenblatt showed a trailer for the new Laura Linney dramedy "The Big C." Linney plays a woman diagnosed with cancer and the series will depict how she, and the people in her life- including husband Oliver Platt and a student played by "Precious" star Gabourey Sidibe- deal with it. The network picked up 13 episodes and the show goes into production in April and is set to air in the fall.
-The highlight of Greenblatt's brief remarks was a video shot for the new comedy "Episodes." The show has a twisty premise: American producers decide to remake a popular British sitcom but make a series of really bad mistakes on the way to production, one of which is miscasting Matt LeBlanc of "Friends" as the lead. LeBlanc plays "himself" in the show. LeBlanc, who is now a bit heavier and a lot greyer, gamely shot a mock video in which he has to actually audition for the role. His worst moment comes when he arrives at the audition and is greeted by a room full of younger actors all practicing the "how you doin'?" line. The clip was pretty funny and the show comes from producers of "Frasier" and "Mad About You." Production starts in late spring.
-Jeremy Irons will star in a new, ten episode series set for spring 2011 called "The Borgias," chronicling the famous Italian family. Greenblatt sees it as a replacement for "The Tudors" which is ending after its upcoming season.
The home of "Gossip Girl" and "Melrose Place" didn't do a formal executive session. Instead, they had panels for the new drama "Life Unexpected," which I will write about in the paper closer to its Jan. 18 premiere, and threw a bloody mary cocktail party with the cast of "Vampire Diaries," all of whom are as dewy and attractive as you might imagine.
*Tall, Not Tall
Sandra Bernhard, who will appear on the funny new Showtime comic's talk show "The Green Room with Paul Provenza" is one statuesque lady; Ditto Toni Collette of "United States of Tara"; Oliver Stone, who will present his secret history of American in a ten episode Showtime series called "Oliver Stone's Secret History of America," was not as tall as I thought he would be. Not short, but not towering; "Tara"'s John Corbett, definitely tall and rocking a bizarre, wispy goatee; Paul Wesley, the vampire Stefan, square-jawed and tall; Ian Somerhalder, vampire Damon, softer-featured and not tall; "Life Unexpected" star Kristoffer Polaha, who was on the short-lived series' "North Shore" and "Miss Guided" and more recently played Carlton on "Mad Men," is the definition of a tall drink of water.
(*For point of reference, your spotter is 5'6".)
About Viewer Discretion
ContributorsKatie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.
Sarah Rodman is a TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.
Meghan Colloton is a Things to Do and Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.