The Players: Marc Graboff and Ben Silverman, Co-Chairmen, NBC Entertainment
11:06 am: We’re in the press tour homestretch! As we wait for the suits to arrive, let me take this moment to remind all of you that I’ve been running myself ragged on the party circuit this week, and the fruits of my labor (i.e. dozens of “information-packed” and highly-entertaining” video interviews with your faves from ABC, Fox and NBC) can now be viewed over at Ausiello TV central. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll forward this link onto all your friends
if you know what’s good for you.
11:18 am: Silverman kicks things off by announcing that Amy Poehler has officially signed on to headline a new Thursday-night comedy series from Office exec producer Greg Daniels. He’s quick to note, however, that “this is not a spinoff. This is a [new] show coming from Greg.” That said, Office 2.0 is not 100 percent dead, despite the fact that, well, it pretty much is.
11:25 am: Big news! Jay Leno’s Tonight Show swan song will air Friday, May 29, 2009. Conan O’Brien will debut the following Monday, June 1, 2009.
11:27 am: A bald and bespectacled reporter, who sounds suspiciously like Jay Leno, asks a series of questions related to… hmmmm… Jay Leno’s future at the Peacock. Wait a second…
11:28 am: … holy copycat, it is Jay Leno! I don’t know whether to laugh or feel sorry for him.
11:29 am: The Office spin-off idea that’s still floating around (but probably dead) could include “existing Office characters,” says Silverman.
11:45 am: NBC is committed to airing all 13 episodes of Friday Night Lights this season, regardless of how much the show’s audience erodes after its initial airing on DirecTV.
11:54 am: Those intrusive banner ads that have become commonplace on NBC’s airwaves “may need to be modified,” Silverman concedes, “so we don’t turn off our viewers.” Ya think?
11:57 am: Silverman is confident that Heroes will come back stronger than ever, despite its nearly 10-month hiatus. “Tim Kring has nailed it,” he declares. “I got to see the first cut of the two-hour premiere… and it’s awesome.”
Kath & Kim Panel
The Players: Molly Shannon, Selma Blair, John Michael Higgins, Mikey Day and exec producer Michelle Nader
2:20 pm: I hope the show is funnier than this press conference. No one on this panel can seem to land a joke. Also of note: Molly Shannon doesn’t appear to be wearing pants.
2:25 pm: On the implausibility of Shannon playing Blair’s mother, Nader argues that, “Everyone on this show is sort of childlike and… desperate.” Plus, Blair points out that, “part of the humor of the show is that we’re [practically] the same age.” For the record, Shannon is 43 and Blair is 36.
2:31 pm: This panel is turning around. Shannon is doing her crazy-funny, animated-hand shtick while describing how Kath’s “ultra-femininity” and the audience (read me and EW’s Tim Stack) is eating it up.
2:35 pm: Finally, a question about the recent behind-the-scenes drama that was first reported by EW’s Lynette Rice. “It’s very hard to get this show right,” Nader explains of the director switch. “We’re changing the look of it. It needs to be a celebration of these characters. They think of themselves as celebrities and we want to capture that on screen.”
2:37 pm: Shannon confirms that Kath & Kim precludes her from making a return appearance to Pushing Daises.
2:42 pm: OK, here’s the deal: She’s wearing shorts, but they’re really short. We’re talking “you have to be over 18 to attend this panel” short.
Knight Rider Panel
The Players: Justin Bruening, Yancy Arias, Bruce Davison, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Paul Campbell, Deanna Russo, Smith Cho and exec producers Doug Liman, Dave Bartis and Gary Scott Thompson
3:09 pm: Thompson doesn’t rule out a cameo by The Hoff later in the season.
3:11 pm: Echoing the opinion of 98 percent of the critics in this room, Thompson felt the two-hour movie was lacking several things. Among them: “a turbo-boost.” Interesting. I would’ve said “a decent script.”
3:17 pm: Regarding reports (OK, one report) that Las Vegas‘ Danny and Delinda might make a cameo on KR, onetime Vegas EP Thompson confirms that the idea was broached in the writers’ room, but, ultimately, he decided “it would be unfair to the fans of both shows to do that.”
3:30 pm: It was just a phase! It’s undecided whether Poitier’s character will remain bisexual in the series. KITT, on the other hand, will continue to swing both ways.
5:32 pm: Ian McShane, Susanna Thompson, Christopher Egan, Allison Miller, Sebastian Stan and exec producers Michael Green, Francis Lawrence and Erwin Stoff
5:34 pm: Last session of the tour! I made it!
5:36 pm: Based on the sweeping trailer, this has the potential to be my favorite new show of the season. That said, I don’t have the foggiest idea what it’s about. I think it’s a modern-day David and Goliath, but I can’t be sure.
5:41 pm: Clarifying the premise, EP Green says it’s a “contemporary retelling of the King David story” set in an alternate world. Adds EP Stoff: “The show takes place today in a country you’ve never heard of.” I was close!
5:45 pm: Holy Al Swearengen! McShane is giving a reporter a serious tongue-lashing for giving producers a hard time about the complexities of the series. They saved the best for last, kids!
5:46 pm: He’s getting up out of his chair! Seth Bullock to the International Ballroom, STAT!
5:47 pm: An NBC publicist shoots a tranquilizer dart into McShane’s chest. He falls back into his seat. Crisis averted!*
5:58 pm: The session concludes! Press tour is over! Par-tay in room 1108!** See you back here next year!***
* Certain aspects of this press tour diary have been exaggerated for dramatic effect.
** Not an actual room at the Beverly Hilton.
*** If you’re lucky!