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It’s one thing to get an award from the Television Critics Association for your work in the last television season, but quite another to get one of these, chosen by The Hollywood Reporter’s TV team during the marathon of sessions that went on for two weeks at the Beverly Hilton.
BEST DODGE OF A REPORTER’S QUESTION: Both Fox’s Mike Darnell and Simon Cowell of The X Factor were asked about “the awkwardness of having two producers suing one another.” In stepped producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz: “First of all, Mr. Cowell is not involved in the lawsuit. So I think he can be dismissed from the question. And look, lawsuits are a cost of doing business in this country and, generally speaking, we don’t comment on litigation.”
WORST DODGE OF A REPORTER’S QUESTION: CBS’s Nina Tassler, when asked why the Two and a Half Men stars and Ashton Kutcher were not on a panel: “They are in production this week.” Reporter: “So are a lot of things … You’re bringing in Ted Danson.” Tassler: Spin, spin, dodge, feint, unconvincing spin.
BEST PANEL: A tie between Rosie O’Donnell/Rescue Me. Rosie riffed for her OWN show, she told great stories, she was self-deprecating, she was funny, she was all over the map. She made you want to watch her show right that second. Best of all, unlike Oprah at the last tour, she didn’t have a legendary filibuster. And after years of raucous, raunchy and hilarious panels featuring Rescue Me creators Denis Leary and Peter Tolan, a new high was reached when Tolan told us he was going to drop his pants, then did. Follow up question: “That’s quite a package, Peter.” Slayed the room.
WORST PANEL: Four-way tie: Pretty much anything on Hallmark or GMC (formerly Gospel Music Channel)/CW’s H8R for making everybody hate it more/Fox’s Allen Gregory, where the cast seemed mad we hadn’t seen their show, even though all we had to watch were the clips that Fox gave us/Fox’s I Hate My Teenage Daughter because we always hope a show that looks DOA will surprise us with a lively and convincing panel (but no).
MOST SURPRISING NETWORK DAY: PBS, which had a string of events that were both entertaining and informative — and, strangely, very funny. Among them: Pearl Jam Twenty, a documentary on Woody Allen, Downton Abbey II, Ken Burns‘ Prohibition, Hugh Laurie playing blues in New Orleans and even PBS CEO Paula Kerger dissing on cable channels needing five different shows about cupcakes.
MOST BITTER AND RAMBLING PANEL: Jerry Lewis, swearing, lecturing us, throwing in a lot of funny before lecturing us again, then ending the session by saying there was no reason to talk about a big announcement he was going to make about his annual telethon (he was dumped a few days later).
MOST CHEMISTRY IN A PANEL: Tie: Adorable Zooey Deschanel for Fox’s New Girl and slightly less adorable but always catnip to reporters, Simon Cowell for The X Factor.
LEAST CHEMISTRY ON A PANEL: The rest of the X Factor judges who tried hard to show us their chemistry.
THE “WHY ARE WE EVEN HERE, BORED OUT OF OUR MIND” PANE: William Hurt, Gillian Anderson and Ethan Hawke for Starz/Encore’s Moby Dick movie.
THE BEST NO-SHOW: AMC’s Charlie Collier. Given his channel’s recent controversies, it was not a surprise.
MOST HONEST: Kelsey Grammer (starring in Boss on Starz), who flat-out said that he knew Hank for Fox wasn’t funny and wouldn’t work, then called the head of the production company and said, “How do we put a bullet in this thing?”
UNINTENTIONALLY OFFENSIVE PANEL: The Playboy Club on NBC. This was a panel where there was absolutely no chatter prior about the series being overtly offensive. And yet the stars and producers stuck to some absurd talking points about how the show was about “empowering women.” Never has a room turned more quickly, and it was a pie fight the rest of the way. Empower that, lousy show.
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