This time around at TCA things got a little bit different. And we all know how this group deals with change! In the past, NBC-Universal has taken up two days, the first for NBC and the second for their various cable networks, like Bravo, Syfy, and USA. But this particular TCA, the cable portion was canceled, leaving a free day. Since so many members of the TCA fly in from all around the country on their companies' dimes for this two-week event, a free day is not a good thing. TCA worked super hard to line up panels in the morning (including offerings from the Reelz Channel and some fascinating compilations that ranged from a director's panel to one with those who made their names in TV now migrating to the web to produce original content). The second half of the day was a peace offering from NBC-Universal: free tickets to Universal Studios Theme Park for a rare afternoon of pure fun, front of the line passes, and food vouchers. That was technically Day 5, but my Day 5 was really Monday's uber-long CBS day.
I originally planned to go to the "TV to web" panel because 1) Usually those panels are usually the other way around and 2) As someone actively trying to get funding for an online series, I thought there would be some great insight developed. I woke up not feeling super well, though (so much so that I fell asleep in the bath), so I ended up just watching the feed in drips and droves and snark via Twitter, getting a glimpse of the "Hey, that sounds interesting, I wish I had the whole quote" feeling my followers must experience every day of these two weeks. I spent the rest of the day catching up on screeners on my couch so that I would be back to normal for the onslaught of networks that were about to start on Monday.
Normally CBS (aside from the party which includes talent from CBS, Showtime, and The CW) is pretty light for me. Let's face it, I'm just not really their demographic or target audience, and every season, their new shows are often my least favorites of the bunches. This time, though, they actually were delivering one of my favorites: Hostages (co-production from Warner Bros. Television). More than that, though, knowing that a number of the panels there were presenting were ones I would not be writing up in the room, I scheduled a number of one-on-one interviews with various CW talent that day instead. And then of course Showtime decided to toss their Homeland panel on the end of this day instead of alongside the rest of their schedule the following day. It was because of the schedules of the actors or something, but I chose to believe it was their way of rewarding us for sitting through CBS.
Les Moonves stepped in for Nina Tassler, who had to leave town at last minute for a personal matter, and he was very charming and suave and clearly completely loves being in front of a crowd. He pointed out that he had "never seen some of us before" since he doesn't usually come to Press Tour, and he was honest about not being as "up" on CBS' programming as Tassler. So some of the answers he gave were a little odd-- like calling Under The Dome a "soap opera set in the future." I'm not sure he watches Under The Dome, which is okay because the show pales in comparison to the book, but he did renew it, so maybe he should start...
My one-on-ones during the day ranged from the newest Amell (Robbie) to join The CW's line-up, to a woman who I wanted for my own pilot when I was pitching in 2006 (Peyton List), to Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) himself-- which created a moment for Pellegrino to unpromptedly begin justifying Lucifer's actions-- to a reality show host with "shark diving expert" on his resume and bio (Luke Tipple). Jared Padalecki's wife Genevieve (nee Cortese) was randomly and upsettingly hanging out in the lobby bar while I was doing my one-on-ones-- upsettingly because I look more pregnant than she does!
The day was a lot of bouncing in and out of the main session room, scarfing bites of food whenever I could get them, and fighting with iMovie and YouTube to "go faster" so I could have some of my videos turned around for the next morning. It was a lot.
When I was driving into the NBC TCA day on Saturday, construction had already begun on the CBS/SHO/CW party. Yes, construction. The party is held on the roof of an adjacent parking lot, and every year they build a pagoda of sorts and deck it out with foliage and various food stations and sometimes fire pits. It was my favorite thing of that morning and certainly my favorite thing of CBS' actual day when I got to attend.
I also love that these networks bring returning talent, like producers from Arrow and Supernatural and Episodes (none of these are CBS, I know), and occasionally the co-stars who are in town because they're not shooting (yet), too. This allowed me to catch up on all I missed at Comic Con and at one point get stuck in a pretty nice Supernatural sandwich of Mark Sheppard, Jeremy Caver, and Misha Collins-- and then for Pellegrino to join and start pitching his "Lucifer and Crowley in an old folks' home" spin-off.
Scott Porter proved maybe he should be the one on a superhero show when reuniting with his buddy Aaron Yoo had Yoo running into his arms and Porter lifting him over his head, figure-skating style. It was a moment that was perfect for Vine, but alas it went unrecorded (unless you count my Tweet, which doesn't do it justice). Porter remarked that he wished someone had captured it, and I sadly told him about the "no photo" rule. He was as shocked as I was to see I followed it during that particular special moment.
For some reason I appear to be a magnet for celebrity reunions, which usually works out in my favor because I end up getting introduced to new and other people, and I hear some pretty good stories. Other than Yoo and Porter, Don Roos and Dan Bucatinsky wanted to catch up with Amy B. Harris about The Comeback while she and I were catching up about our dogs. Roos is someone who has eluded me for awhile but whose brain I would love to pick around directing, especially now that I've been doing some of that myself. Alas, that will have to wait, as now he may know who I am, but I never found him again after leaving Harris to actually get to those topics.
Walking out, I finally found the photobooth which completed one of my all time dreams (it made me a GIF) and Mark Pedowitz and I bonded over Sprinkles Cupcakes for a brief moment. Maybe that's how I should pitch him my show...
For live TCA news and commentary, follow me on Twitter!