Overheard at TCA
Week one at the Television Critics Association: Drinks flowed, execs gabbed, then Charlie Sheen showed up.
The "Cable" Guy
In addition to his refreshingly candid remarks Jan. 6 about the dismal ratings at his network, NBC's still-new entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt offered critics a window into where his mind was: In his 45-minute presentation, the former Showtime chief mentioned the word "cable" 14 times. Six of those were part of the phrase: "the beauty of cable …"
Charlie Sheen slipped in through the back door at Fox's Jan. 8 party to peddle his FX comedy, Anger Management, then attached himself to showrunner Bruce Helford. With Sheen's input, Helford has completed the show's first script and plans to finish all 10 before production begins in March. Up next: casting Sheen's two female leads, an ex-wife and a therapist, both in their late 30s to mid-40s. The actor has typically high hopes for finding the right women, saying he's narrowed the candidates to "the fantasy list and the A-list."
Fox's American Idol panel went off without a hitch Jan. 8, leaving many to wonder if execs told notoriously tardy judge Jennifer Lopez that the event would start a half hour before it actually did -- as they sneakily did last year.
Blasting through the speakers between panels at NBC's press day was the theme song to 2 Broke Girls, the breakout comedy ... on CBS.
All Choked Up
When ABC News president Ben Sherwood was asked Jan. 9 whether his new star Katie Couric would serve as a fill-in anchor for the network, he began coughing uncontrollably: "Hold on a second," he said from the stage. "Forgive me." Once he had recovered, Sherwood explained that Couric's fall talk show was priority No. 1, but she'd be "an important part of the ABC News team." Asked afterward if he had caught a cold while on the road supervising ABC's Republican debate coverage, Sherwood replied, "No, I just got a little choked up."
Attack of the (Sex and the City) Clones
Much of the chatter at E!'s Jan. 7 lunch focused on the network's push into scripted programs. Execs at the Kim Kardashian network have been deluged with scripts about one of two subjects: a talent agency mailroom or 20-something ingenues who get off the bus in Hollywood. Instead, E! insiders said they wish someone would pitch something not set in showbiz.
Sign of the Times
Amid all the TCA hoopla, the two stars who appeared to have -- and need -- the biggest bodyguards: Sheen and Ryan Seacrest.