Wednesday, July 24, 2013

TCA Summer 2013: Tuesday and Wednesday

We're back at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour once again, only a few days after Comic-Con. With the latter beginning later next year, the scheduling of TCA could come into conflict, but for now, we will continue to cover both to the best of our ability. Tuesday night kicked off the 15-day marathon of news with a National Geographic Channels reception, themed "The Dog Days of Summer." In addition to hot dogs (and hamburgers) being served, there was a photo booth where attendees could take their photos with pups of all kinds. Red fire hydrants lines the hallway and dog dishes filled with M&Ms adorned the tabletops. If you sat on the couch instead, you had bone-shaped throw pillows to lounge upon. Network executives were available for mingling, but many critics and reporters kept to their kind and caught up with those they haven't seen in six months, since the last TCA week. I met a couple new people, but only stayed for about 90 minutes so that I could get a jump on prep work for the next several days (as well as articles I'm still trying to finish about Comic-Con!).

Wednesday morning started off with the NatGeo networks bringing out a few of their new projects, including two I filed articles on over on my Examiner column, for Jobs that Bite! and Doomsday Castle. There were also executive updates and a panel on Killing Kennedy (you may recall that they had Killing Lincoln not too long ago). Then it was time to switch the stage for Hallmark, which brought talent for Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove, The Watsons go to Birmingham, and Christmas with Tucker. Debbie Macomber has become synonymous with Hallmark movies, really, and Christmas is a big market for them as well, so those types of panels are always expected. It's difficult to pitch Christmas in July (and in January as well), so the questions from the critics aren't always the best, but the Birmingham movie was really received well. Of course, it helped that it's based on a novel, there are cute, articulate kids on the panel, and the subject matter is a historical and fascinating one.

After lunch, ESPN picked up with two of the folks behind their upcoming volume of 30 for 30 documentaries. It's a fascinating series, though I think many in the room might have preferred different talent. While Kevin Connolly talking about John Spano and Brian Koppelman discussing Jimmy Connors aren't bad subjects, some of the other upcoming films are about Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, and the extreme rivalry between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran. After that panel, Keith Olbermann was present to explain more about his new late-night show, where he'll be talking sports, not politics, primarily. TV One had a short session about their new morning news program, News One Now, which will cover major headlines from the African-American perspective.

Turner concluded the opening day's festivities, first with a panel on the new addition to Adult Swim, Rick and Morty, and then with an evening event celebrating TNT's 25th anniversary. I did an article on the animated series over on The Examiner. The party featured actors from many TNT and TBS series, including Rizzoli & Isles, Falling Skies, Franklin & Bash, Dallas, Conan, and Major Crimes. Usually, the talent tends to be pretty accessible at this type of event, but each of the people I was hoping to speak with were constantly bombarded, or so it seemed. Still, TNT ran a nice (aka greatly varied) slideshow of the many works it has done. The cake wasn't half-bad, either, though the rest of the food was rather nondescript.

Two more days of cable, and the first up tomorrow is BBCAmerica!
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