My stint at the Television Critics Association summer press tour begins today, though Fienberg has already been here for two days covering what sounds like a very interesting slate of PBS panels (particularly if you’re a “Downton Abbey” fan).
If you’ve been reading me a long time, you know what press tour is. If you haven’t, my press tour primer from the Ledger days still applies. I’ll be tag-teaming with both Fienberg and Liane Bonin Starr to cover the bulk of the tour, so keep all three of our blogs bookmarked if you want to know about it all.
Though I won’t be doing this every day, I like to do a quick run-through of the schedule for certain days to give you all a sense of what the tour is like, and of what things you may be reading about today and in days to come. PBS wrapped up tonight, and FOX arrives for a full day of panels and other events. Here’s how their schedule looks (all times are Pacific):
9:30-10:15 a.m.: A “So You Think You Can Dance” panel with Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Cat Deeley and Spencer Liff, plus a performance by several of this year’s finalists (the schedule lists Cole, Brandon and Cyrus, FWIW, though that can change).
10:15-11 a.m.: Mindy Kaling and the cast of her new FOX sitcom “The Mindy Project” (including Stephen Tobolowsky, which may or may not give me a chance to pelt him with more questions about The Tobolowsky Files.) I’ll be interviewing Kaling later in the day, but that’s for a piece that will run much closer to the premiere.
(Press tour was originally designed entirely for reporters to squirrel away nuggets for publication throughout the TV season, but the Internet, Twitter, etc. have made saving stories from the panels themselves pointless. So the general rule of thumb is that stories generated by the panels have to run quickly or not at all, but other one-on-one work has a longer shelf life.)
11-11:45 a.m.: A panel for FOX’s other new fall sitcom, “Ben and Kate,” starring Oscar Winner Nat Faxon (writing partner of Oscar Winner Jim Rash) and newcomer Dakota Johnson. Like “The Mindy Project,” whose writing staff includes Matt Warburton and Chris McKenna, this is a show that benefited from the “Community” writer exodus, as Dan Harmon’s former lieutenants Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan are working as showrunners here; if things get slow, I suspect we’ll get a question or two on that.
11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: An executive session with FOX entertainment president Kevin Reilly. There have been times when this has been a two-person event with Reilly’s boss (first Peter Liguori, now Peter Rice), but only one guy is really necessary and Reilly is most hands-on about the things we’ll want to ask about. Fienberg will be live-blogging, and I’ll do analysis shortly thereafter.
12:30-2:15 p.m.: Lunch and a writing break, which comes in handy for the writers in the room trying to meet East Coast print deadlines.
2:15-3 p.m.: Jordana Spiro and the rest of the crew of the excellently-titled “The Mob Doctor.”
3-3:45 p.m.: A panel with Simon Cowell and the revamped “The X Factor” judging panel. Because they’re on the road doing auditions, this will be done via satellite, which will make all the awkward questions to and answers from Demi Lovato and Britney Spears even more awkward because of the satellite lag.
3:45-4:30 p.m.: Gordon Ramsay soloing to discuss “Hotel Hell,” the latest piece of his campaign to take over the entire network, timeslot-by-timeslot.
4:30-5:15 p.m.: A farewell panel with “Fringe” showrunner J.H. Wyman and stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick and Jasika Nicole. Should be lots of warm fuzzies in the room for that one. Alo a strong live-blog candidate.
5:15-6 p.m.: A reception featuring executives from MundoFox, News Corp’s new Spanish language channel, set to launch next month.
7-10 p.m.: Fox’s press tour party (which, as I always say, is only vaguely a party). Haven’t seen the guest list yet, so don’t know how many people will be there who aren’t already appearing on panels during the day, but hopefully I’ll do an interesting interview or three.
So that’s today. Off to grab some breakfast and hunker down for lots of fun and excitement. As usual at tour, I’ll be tweeting a lot, and doing my best to use the #TCAs12 hashtag, for the benefit of both people who want to see all the tour tweets and those who would like to screen them out, since all of us in the room are reporting the same news and making very similar jokes.