Overheard at TCA
David Axelrod crashes, HBO dodges a "Luck" bullet and Univision fumbles with J.Lo as the winter press tour winds down.
HBO GETS LUCK-Y: Executives at HBO had reason to be nervous before their Luck panel. After all, executive producers David Milch and Michael Mann famously don't speak to each other. In preparation, the seating chart strategically placed the pair on opposite ends of the stage. But when Jan. 13 rolled around, Milch and Mann disregarded the chart and plopped down beside each other before praising each other's work. The most awkward participant in the panel turned out to be star Nick Nolte, who grumbled mostly nonsensical answers.
There were numerous sightings of David Axelrod at the Langham hotel, prompting TCA attendees to muse that perhaps President Obama's senior adviser somehow figured in the press tour. On the morning of Jan. 10, Axelrod — wearing a messy T-shirt and shorts, face buried in his BlackBerry — clearly took a wrong turn on his way to the hotel gym and wandered into the ballroom foyer, almost running smack into a scrum of reporters surrounding James Van Der Beek, star of ABC's Don't Trust the B— in Apartment 23. Alas, Axelrod's presence in Pasadena is pure coincidence: He was the Pasadena Civic Center's Distinguished Speaker Series headliner Jan. 11.
King For a Day
If CBS' 2 Broke Girls Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs showed up at press tour looking to get some attention, they were sorely disappointed. Their showrunner, Michael Patrick King, stole the show, sparring with critics who took issue with the hit sitcom's reliance on racial stereotypes. At one point, he exclaimed, "I'm gay!" — one of several unsuccessful attempts at defending his work in what quickly became the most acrimonious panel in years. The biggest beneficiary: the cast of Rob, a critically panned CBS sitcom similarly heavy on racial stereotypes. By the time the actors took the stage later in the day, the press corps was all but deflated.
Univision made some enemies Jan. 14 when it lured press to a crack-of-dawn breakfast presentation with the promise of a Q&A with Q'Viva! producers Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. After starting late and forcing cranky scribes to sit through a panel about a fat-farm reality series, Univision trotted out the pair but had a network personality do the grilling — a big TCA no-no. Infuriated reporters were then barred from leaving thanks to an elaborate song-and-dance staffers staged by the doors.
Quote of the Tour
Current TV president David Bohrman, responding to a question about anchor Keith Olbermann's whereabouts during the network's panel: "Keith is on vacation."