Fox Party Diary With Nicki Minaj, Charlie Sheen and James Purefoy

Nicki Minaj american idol TCA 2013 P
Frank Micelotta / PictureGroup / Fox

There was some grumbling that Fox – the one network that could be relied upon to throw an off-site party at the January iteration of the semiannual Television Critics Association press tour – also had its TCA party at the Langham Huntington hotel in Pasadena. But James Purefory’s endurance (the British co-star of The Following stayed at the party until after closing time, giving interviews with any and all), Charlie Sheen’s 11th hour arrival and a rare sighting of new American Idol judge Nicki Minaj quelled any grumbling.

5:42 p.m.: Keith Urban, thus far the only new American Idol judge to escape the press line in one piece, walks five feet into the party before he's questioned about the simmering feud between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj.

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5:50 p.m.: Upon seeing a band setting up a full Bluegrass ensemble in the back of the bar, several guests start speculating that Following star Kevin Bacon and his brother are the night’s headliners.

5:52 p.m.: Bacon is among the first stars to arrive and within minutes has a line five reporters deep.

6:00 p.m.: Bones showrunners Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan arrive and are all smiles after their ninth-season renewal. They're thrilled to hear Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly's comments following the exec session expressing confidence that the drama could continue on with an 10th season.

6:20 p.m.: Mindy Kaling offers a “be right back” while speaking to a gaggle of reporters. They wait for about 10 minutes before disbanding.

6:35 p.m.: Bacon is ushered across the party to pose for a picture with Reilly. Nearby, Following creator Kevin Williamson is busy fielding more questions about the series' violent nature.

6:36 p.m.: Ben and Kate star Echo Kellum starts singing Boys to Men for a young, blond blogger.

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6:40 p.m.: Cloris Leachman puts down her dinner to give Raising Hope co-star Lucas Neff a hug. She then interrupts his conversation by covering his mouth with her hands.

6:50 p.m.: Minaj enters with a huge entourage, interrupting Lea Michele and a few Glee co-stars. "Next time, I want to enter like that!" Michele laughs.

6:51 p.m.: Leachman has finagled her way behind the buffet bar and is now serving mashed potatoes to those in line. "Of course she is," quipped one Fox exec.

7:05 p.m.:  Ben and Kate star Nat Faxon is crouched down talking to his young costar Maggie Elizabeth Jones, while FX's The Americans star Matthew Rhys is being interviewed nearby. FX execs have been raving about his performance all night, with one noting just how difficult his role – a married KGB spy – was to cast.

7:10 p.m.: Justified and The Americans executive producer Graham Yost and FX exec Nick Grad weave through the crowed in search of Rhys. Yost notes his excitement for The Americans' late January launch, before commenting on the show's quick turnaround: production on the New York-shot series was delayed several days because of Hurricane Sandy.

7:15 p.m.: Minaj is laughing away with Reilly and Fox COO Joe Earley, while her entourage hovers. Her co-star – and reported rival – Mariah Carey is a no-show at the party, despite having her name on the original press list.

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7:16 p.m.: Minaj exits with her entourage, which includes five burly bodyguards in tow. A diminutive man with a gem bedazzled to his cheek fixes her hair from behind while she walks.

7:35 p.m.: With Fringe's series finale fast approaching, executive producer JJ Abrams is being flanked on all sides by reporters looking for spoilers of any sort. UFC president Dana White is a few feet away, drinking a beer.

9:10 p.m.: Charlie Sheen grabs a bite of ice cream while talking to reporters. He says Angus T. Jones and Jon Cryer are "always welcome" on Anger Management.

9:30 p.m.: Touch star Kiefer Sutherland, having exited the party, is forbidden from having a cigarette in the Langham hotel garden.