TCA: Naughty and Nice at Winter Press Tour
NBC's comedy problem, Syfy goes goth, and Starz gets reporters drunk as the TV industry camps out in Pasadena.
This story first appeared in the Jan. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT 'BROAD' COMEDY
NBC's Bob Greenblatt might need a writer to punch up his speeches. During the network's executive session Jan. 6, the entertainment chairman was asked to clarify a point he had made six months earlier regarding plans to -- as he put it -- "broaden" NBC's comedy brand. "It was a word that everybody grabbed onto as sort of being immediately controversial," he acknowledged, noting that his goal is simply to bring more viewers to the net's now little-watched comedy lineup. His and entertainment president Jennifer Salke's remarks drew phone calls from a handful of insulted producers, according to one well-placed source. So this time around, Greenblatt used the term "inclusive" to describe his desired shows, asking if that, too, was an "incendiary" word? Following the panel, one NBC source worried that he had done it again. Cue the calls!
A SUPERMODEL'S FIERCE MOMENT
Naomi Campbell may be "The Face" of Oxygen, but all eyes were on her bottom half following a recent knee injury during a violent November mugging in Paris. The supermodel and reality show coach hobbled on crutches into NBCUniversal's fete Jan. 6, and the next day, the 5-foot-9 Campbell limped onto the stage with the aid of The Face host Nigel Barker and Shine America president Eden Gaha. Much to her chagrin, question No. 1 was not about her show. "I had an injury with my knee, and I'm on the mend," she snipped. "I cannot discuss any further, as it's an investigation."
SYFY'S SMOKY BORDELLO
With virtually every network staging postpanel parties at the Langham Huntington hotel, getting creative mostly has backfired. The NBC shindig in the lobby lounge featured cooking stations that made a hot room even hotter and had one partygoer complaining that the place smelled like a "Benihana." At the Syfy cocktail reception Jan. 7, liquid smoke, black lights and chains dangling from the ceiling caused several NBCU staffers to snark that it felt like an S&M parlor.
BEST SWAG EVER
Starz delivered to reporters a TCA survival kit complete with a plush robe; bottles of Maker's Mark, Grey Goose and wine; a Dean & DeLuca snack pack; and an eye mask. At press time, other network publicists were still fuming.