Monday, July 14, 2008

A day in the life of press tour: Fox

As I've mentioned, the broadcast network portion of press tour begins today with Fox's arrival (though, as you'll see after the jump, the networks of late like to incorporate their sister cable channels into their time), and so I thought I might give you a sense of what a typical day at tour is like by giving you the schedule (all times Pacific) and a few random thoughts on each panel after the jump:

8:30-9:15 a.m.: The cleverly-titled "Prison Break"fast, with the top producers and the entire cast, in which we'll attempt to find out how Sarah Wayne Callies isn't dead -- or why anyone should still be watching -- at the same time we get some protein.

9:15-10 a.m.: "So You Think You Can Dance," which will open with some kind of performance by some recently-booted contestants (Kourtni, Matt, Comfort and Thayne, for those who care), followed by reporters trying to use "SYTYCD" as an excuse to ask about what went wrong with "American Idol" this season.

10-10:45 a.m.: An executive session with Kevin Reilly.

10:45-11:30 a.m.: "Fringe," with J.J. Abrams and the other producers on stage and the actors appearing via satellite. Fienberg's theory is that they'll be flying out for Comic-Con in two weeks and, since they're already in production, Fox doesn't want to make them go out twice. Expect some griping from the critics, either during Reilly's session or here.

11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.: A writing break, designed for those of us with East Coast print deadlines to possibly meet them.

1-2 p.m.: A "Kitchen Nightmares"-themed boxed lunch -- essentially, a continuation of the writing break.

2-2:45 p.m.: Fox News, and hoo-boy, this could get ugly. Not only is there the recent furor about those doctored photos of the New York Times reporters. Not only was Fox News' last appearance on tour followed by a kerfuffle in which one of the more conservative critics claimed that the room emptied en masse right before Fox News' session began. (The claim was disputed by other people who were there and say the exodus wasn't that dramatic, and also by people who noted that lots of TCA members don't write about TV news, and therefore use any news-related session as a writing break.) But the panel includes Karl mother-flippin' Rove, now a contributor to Fox News. Something tells me this one's gonna be well-attended, and I wonder if any papers will be trying to sneak in a political reporter to ask a few questions.

2:45-3:30 p.m.: "Do Not Disturb," the Jerry O'Connell/Niecy Nash sitcom. I'm guessing the room will empty out before this one, and not Fox News.

3:30-4:15 p.m.: "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," in which Brian Austin Green will be asked for the 50th time in the last month whether he'll be appearing on the "90210" spin-off.

4:15-4:45 p.m.: A "coffee break" with the producers and some of the castmembers -- including Kiefer Sutherland -- of "24: Exile," the prequel movie for next season. Given that the show has been off the air for so long and there's been so much behind-the-scenes turmoil for this season, I'm surprised this isn't a proper session. (Though I'm guessing we'll get one in January.) Kiefer's gonna be mobbed the entire time, and I'm guessing Howard Gordon will be as well.

4:45-5:30 p.m.: A session for "Secret Millionaire," where the producers will insist the show celebrates the human spirit, while the critics (who have yet to see the show) ask them how they can live with themselves.

5:30-5:45 p.m.: A Fox Sunday sundae break (get it?). The free food, I should note, is one of the last vestiges of the days when everything on the tour was paid for by the networks instead of the critics, but it's done primarily to keep us from fanning out to feed ourselves. If we had to do that, the sessions immediately after breakfast, lunch, and, in this case, a dinnertime snack, would be sparsely attended because we'd all be stuck in traffic on the way back from Del Taco or wherever.

5:45-6:30 p.m.: A panel with the producers of all of Fox's Sunday animation shows -- including Matt Groening and Al Jean from "The Simpsons," Mike Judge from "King of the Hill" and Seth MacFarlane from "Family Guy" and the rest of his empire. I'm looking forward to asking MacFarlane about his hilarious turn in "Hellboy II," which I saw last night and will try to blog on when I have a minute later today. That, or to asking Groening and Jean exactly how they view the many, um, similarities "Family Guy" has to "The Simpsons."

7-11 p.m.: Fox's non-party party at the Santa Monica Pier, which is a fine venue in which to have some fun but can be iffy if you're trying to do work. Basically, if you don't catch the person you want to interview right as they enter, it's not happening.

And somewhere in there, I'll be blogging, working on a column or three, and, if possible, trying to get back to the hotel in time to watch the screening of some of the FX shows that will be paneled tomorrow -- including the final season premiere of "The Shield."


Grunt said...

Is it me, or is The Dollhouse (the show I am most looking forward to) missing from that schedule? If so, why? (could be that they'll do something tomorrow or because it'll start in January they're not previewing it, know actually good reasons. I'm just wondering)

Anonymous said...

1-2 p.m.: A "Kitchen Nightmares"-themed boxed lunch -- essentially, a continuation of the writing break.

Will Gordon Ramsay come in and scream at y'all? And since you'll be meeting Kiefer, can ya get me a date with him? :-D

I hope someone throws Mike Judge a Q or two in that animation panel. KotH is a consistently good show, but gets ignored because of The Simpsons/Family Guy thang, it seems.

Feel free to tell Karl Rove that I wish him nothing but ill.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Grunt, Dollhouse doesn't premiere until mid-season and there isn't even a finished pilot yet, so Fox will panel it in January. I believe there's actually a set visit with Joss and Eliza on the final day of the tour, but even there, there's going to be a lot of "So, what is the show about, Joss?"

Anonymous said...

You, sir, are a machine. Don't overextend yourself and get sick, mmmkay?

Although feel free to spread germs in Rove's direction, should the occasion arise.

Anonymous said...


Please ask the Fox News panel about all the negativity towards Obama. Basically the first 2 segments of O'Reilly and Hannity were dedicated to Rev. Wright and the bitter comment duiring thelast few months of the primary. The terrorist fist jab comment and all the other bs.

Will you at least ask if they still consider themselves fair and balanced or just a mouthpiece of the GOP. Or maybe a question like how has the network tried to improve upon the poll that showed Fox News viewers were less informed than viewers of other networks.

God, I would love to have your job today.

kat said...

Do you guys not get any time with the team from "House" or does the network feel it needs no further promotion with the critics at this point?

Alan Sepinwall said...

They've done plenty of House panels in the past -- including at the last tour. Looks like the whole cast -- including Hugh Laurie -- will be at Fox's party tonight, so they're not press-shy.

Again, there is a LOT of stuff on the schedule today.

Unknown said...

Del Taco, really? That is so sad.

Anonymous said...

Del Taco's one of things I've missed since I moved away from California