As a lifelong entertainment junkie, there are a lot of reasons I love my job as an entertainment writer. The thing I love the most? Getting the inside scoop on what’s happening on your favorite TV shows, big music releases and anticipated movies—and bringing YOU the news first.
So, needless to say, I’m in full on bliss hanging out at the annual TCA conference out in Los Angeles all this week. TCA stands for the “Television Critics Association” and twice a year (January and July) every major network hosts a day (sometimes two) of panels highlighting their best shows—some before they’ve even aired—with the stars answering questions and more. And every night usually ends with a big party so we can mingle with the stars some more. Us journalists get major news before anyone else and I’m super psyched to be reporting all the news and observations from the panels and parties all week long live from the famed Beverly Hilton hotel.
Today we’re hanging with CBS and Showtime. It’s not even noon and we’ve already learned quite a few things you need to know to impress your friends and feed your TV obsessed minds!
From the Executive Session with CBS President Leslie Moonves:
– Are you watching this summer’s hit Under the Dome? It’s confirmed for season two with creator Stephen King writing the first episode!
– Leslie is a busy man with lots of shows to oversee at CBS—but he watched every episode of Big Brother or else his wife (and BB host) Julie Chen would kill him!
– Lots of NCIS fans were devastated that star Cote de Pablo was not coming back. But not for lack of trying. Les confirms they offered her “lots of money” to stay.
– With all the changes happening in late night (Leno is out, Fallon is in at the Tonight Show on NBC), CBS knows they have a good thing with David Letterman. “He’s the best guy in late night. Other than Johnny Carson, he’s the best there ever was,” Les said.
From the panel for the new CBS comedy The Millers (premiering Thursday September 26th at 8:30 pm ET)
This hilarious show stars Will Arnett, Margo Martindale, Beau Bridges and JB Smoove. It’s about a divorced guy (Arnett) ready to live the single life—until his mom moves in with him after separating from his dad!
– I couldn’t help but notice that Will Arnett is very tan in person.
– Margo Martindale won an Emmy for her role on Justified and just earned a nom for her role on The Americans. How did she get on a sitcom? “I always wanted to be on one,” she says. “But, I just started killing people [on TV] along the way!”
– While we just got to see Will reprise the crazy and dysfunctional role of Job Bluth on Arrested Development, Nathan on The Millers is a much more of a straight guy (a la a Michael Bluth). “This show is much more reflective of where I am as a person now,” said Will. Interesting since he too is sadly divorced from Amy Poehler!
– You HAVE to watch the first episode for many reasons, but especially for a Dirty Dancing inspired sequence at the end. “The love of the film Dirty Dancing brought [the cast] together!” says Will.
– And finally, Will can relate to his on-screen overbearing mom (played by Margo) because, “If my mom wasn’t able to give a backhanded compliment she wouldn’t be able to say anything,” quipped Will!
From the panel for We Are Men starring Kal Penn, Jerry O’Connell, Tony Shaloub and Chris Smith (Premiering Wednesday September 30th at 8 p.m. ET)
I personally can’t wait for this single camera comedy about a group of divorced men navigating their lives as singles!
– Jerry O’Connell might be one of the funniest and good natured guys in the business.
– Watch out for Jerry to be rocking his abs and appearing in a Speedo on the show! ” We’re a couple of episodes in and I’ve counted four different colors so far. I was known as the ‘Fat Kid’ from Stand By Me—but I’ll be Speedo Man from now on,” Jerry jokes.
– Kal Penn took a sabbatical from acting in 2009 to o work at the White House. While Kal says he “feels blessed” to taken a sabbatical that “uses the other part of my brain,” . . . his co-stars can’t help but have their fun. “Every call that Kal gets, we ask him, ‘Is that the President?'”
– Chris Smith is ADORABLE and admits to getting tons of advice from his experienced co-stars.
– Jerry would prefer to be called “husky” instead of fat when referring to his Stand By Me days.
From the panel for The Crazy Ones starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robin Williams, James Wolk and Amanda Setton (Premiering Thursday, September 26th at 9 p.m. ET)
This single camera comedy revolves around a father (Robin) and daughter (Sarah) reconnecting and working together in advertising
– Robin Williams, known for his improvisation skills, will play with each scene and that then inspires the rest of the cast to go outside of the box
– As funny as Robin is, he admits that his kids are the toughest audience. Sarah Michelle Gellar plays his daughter on the show and says that she’s a combo of his own son and daughter—understanding yet tough.
– Sarah Michelle says this show is, “Amazing—a dream come true.” Who knew but comedy was her goal. “Buffy was wonderful because it was funny, dramatic and scary. I was always interested in it and kept one things like hosting Saturday Night Live—but this is really what I always wanted to do. You cry on camera and people feel for you but much harder to get people to laugh.”
– Sarah Michelle got serious and said she didn’t know anything about playing a daughter with a father until recently. She didn’t have a relationship with father but it’s amazing for her to now to watch (and learn from) her husband [Freddie Prinze, Jr) with their kids.
– What’s it really like to work with Robin Williams? Sarah Michelle reveals, “When my three-year-old says something inappropriate and can’t laugh—that’s the same thing as acting with Robin.”
– Why is the schedule of a sitcom way better for Sarah Michelle as a mom than when she was on the Ringer? “Yeah, I didn’t think that twin thing through—there isn’t actually two of me!”
From the panel for the return of The Arsenio Hall Show! (Premiering September 9th—check your local listings)
Before there was Jimmy Fallon, Chelsea Handler and Jimmy Kimmel—late night was ruled by Arsenio Hall in the ’90s. Heck Bill Clinton famously played the sax on the show while on the presidential campaign trail! This fall Arsenio’s back—and we he is adorably excited about his return.
– Arsenio didn’t even wait to be introduced, he just started talking to the crowd when the lights went on
– What’s the same and what’s different? “Same Arsenio,” he says. “Less hair and shoulder pads.”
– “I remember one time Debbie Gibson sent me a fax. That was my text back then,” Arsenio went on to explain how things have changed since his first show. “Barbara Streisand once called me because she had a Bill Clinton question. She could tweet me now!”
– Arsenio says he’s most proud of night that Magic Johnson announced he had HIV on his original show.
– The original Arsenio Hall Show theme song was called “Hall or Nothing” and it will be rearranged for the new show!
– Jay Leno let Arsenio know who his good writers were when he had to make budget cuts—and Arsenio hired them!
From the panel of the new sitcom Mom starring Anna Faris and Allison Janney (Premiering Monday, September 23rd at 9:30 p.m. ET)
Anna Faris plays a newly sober, single mom dealing with the challenges of keeping it together—all while dealing with the return of her own estranged mom. It’s created by Chuck Lorre, the man behind Two and a Half Men, so you know it’s gonna push the limits!
– The cast was ready to answer our qs—fresh from their first table read and rehearsal this morning!
– Anna’s husband Chris Pratt is very responsible for her getting this part. She says, “I have a son and was thinking, ‘You know, ,maybe I’ll let my husband work . . I wasn’t feeling ready to go back to work yet. . . I left the script on the counter and my husband picked it up and said, ‘This is you!'”
– We’re used to seeing Anna playing pretty ditzy roles (Lost in Translation was my personal fave) so how does she feel about playing Christy on Mom who has more depth? “Playing one dimensional characters is really difficult because you’re usually playing someone you wouldn’t actually know. Easier playing someone relatable.”
– Big stars are popping up on the show! Justin Long is slated to play Anna’s love interest in the first few episodes! And Oscar winner Octavia Spencer guest stars on the fifth episode!
And finally, we end the afternoon with what we’ve been waiting for all day—the Homeland panel with Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Rupert Friend! Here’s what we learned about season three of the amazing and Emmy winning show!
– The cast took a break to come to TCA while filming the sixth episode of season three in North Carolina.
– “Carrie is always sitting on her own personal bomb,” Claire Danes explains of her character Carrie Mathinson
– Carrie’s husband Hugh Dancy is on another intense show—Hannibal. So what’s it like back home? “There’s just so much crazy on the screen that we are tapped out and boring [at home],” Claire reveals.
– You won’t see Brody for the first two episodes and Carrie is isolated from most of the cast . . . eek!
– It’s always jarring to hear Damian speak! Love his accent!
– And so does Rupert—I may or may not be blushing.
– They shot some scenes in Puerto Rico and will be looking to film in Israel for the end of the season episodes.
– Reading newspapers, watching the news and re-reading the Quran is what Damien turns to to get into character. Claire watches a lot of confessionals of bi-polar people on YouTube.
– So what did Claire think about her friend Anne Hathaway parodying her on Saturday Night Live? Well, Claire reveals she got texts from Anne saying ” I really ,hope we can still be friends” and got a big bouquet of flowers! This was all before it aired too! So what did Claire think when she saw it? Totally flattered—such a class act!
– Should we be worried about any of the main characters getting killed off Game of Thrones style this season? Producers say, YES! EEEK!
OMG! What do you think about what’s ahead on CBS and Showtime this fall? Tweet us your thoughts to @OKMagazine or comment below too!