A day in the life of press tour: CBS

Senior Television Writer
07.28.10 9 Comments

The Television Critics Association summer press tour technically began yesterday with a series of set visits, but I spent the day in my hotel room catching up on DVDs and writing while Fienberg visited Wisteria Lane and whatnot. So for me, press tour really begins today with CBS’ arrival at the tour hotel.

(If you still don’t know what press tour is, my old breakdown is at NJ.com.)

I’d like to continue a tradition I started at the old blog a couple of tours ago by giving you a runthrough of what my schedule looks like on a given day. This will be the first tour since the late ’90s where I’ll be covering it with someone else (and I think Matt Seitz and I only had significant overlap on one or two tours), so it’s unclear what stuff Fienberg will be writing about at The Fien Print blog, what I’ll be covering here, what might go in the vault for later, etc. We’ll see.

As for these schedule posts, I won’t be doing it every day (previously I only did it for the broadcast network days), but when I have a moment or I have some thoughts in advance of the day, I’ll give it a shot. So after the jump, the rundown on CBS…

8:30-9 a.m.: An executive session with Nina Tassler. Nina’s a straight-shooter and CBS’ strengths and weaknesses are about the same as they’ve been for a while (though “Undercover Boss” does finally erase the “When are you going to have another reality hit?” question), so this should be a fairly easy Q&A, depending on how early and often people ask her to comment on yesterday’s resignation by her ABC counterpart Steve McPherson.

9:15-9:45 a.m.: “The Big Bang Theory,” with the cast, Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. We’ve had some combination of the cast and producers appear for a few tours in a row now, so while there won’t be a ton of new ground to cover, it will be funny, and it will give people an opportunity to write their “‘Big Bang’ moves to Thursdays” stories, so everybody wins.

10-10:30 a.m.: Lorre sticks around for “Mike & Molly,” his new comedy about a couple (Billy Gardell & Melissa McCarthy) who link up at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. As with “Big Bang,” there will no doubt be many questions about the line between laughing with and laughing at the characters.

10:45-11:30 a.m.:
A writing break, useful both for bloggers and for print writers with East Coast deadlines.

11:30 a.m.-12 noon: Julie Chen, Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Holly Robinson Peete, Leah Remini and Marissa Jaret Winokur to discuss CBS Daytime’s still-to-be-named talk show that most in the press have dubbed “The Mommy View.”

12:15-12:45 p.m.:
“Hawaii Five-0,” and I wonder how long it will take for someone to bring up the elephant in the room: that this show (which so far most critics, myself included, seem to like) was built as CBS’ latest vehicle to turn Alex O’Louglin into a star, only to have Scott Caan just absolutely blow him off the screen in every scene they share.

12:45-1:45 p.m.: Lunch and/or another writing break.

2-2:30 p.m.:
Jim Belushi, Jerry O’Connell and company for “The Defenders,” which so far is getting decent response from the critics  I’ve talked to. Given the contentious relationship the press had with Belushi on his last show, I’m curious to see what the dynamic in the room is.

2:45-3:15 p.m.: “Blue Bloods,” featuring only Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg among the cast. Since the two of them and the producers would likely get the lion’s share of the questions even if Bridget Moynahan, Will Estes and the other actors were on stage, that’s probably a more sensible approach than the ABC model, where if a show has 15 actors in the cast, we’re gonna get all 15 of them on stage (plus six different producers), even if people only have questions for three or them. Still, I would not have objected to the presence of either Moynahan or Estes.

3:15-3:45 p.m.: Another, shorter break.

3:45-4:15 p.m.:
“$#*! My Dad Says,” with William Shatner and the producers, but not (at least, not on the most recent schedule) the new actor brought in to play Son of Shat. I’m expecting this session to feature a lot of answers explaining that the pilot critics saw was a work in progress, and many things will be changing beyond the recasting.

4:15-7 p.m.: Another long break, which means an opportunity to write up some of the things that happened during the day or get ahead on other writing/watching.

7 p.m.-whenever: The non-party party, which will feature combined talent from CBS, Showtime and the CW. I’m hoping to get a moment with the awesome Gabourey Sidibe (who’s on Showtime’s “The Big C”), but I suspect half the members of the TCA have the exact same thought.

Anyway, off in a bit to a whole lotta CBS.

Alan Sepinwall may be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com

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