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Fox trotted out 24 star Kiefer Sutherland, Ryan Seacrest and all of the American Idol judges as it previewed new and returning fare during its session at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour in Pasadena. Meanwhile, Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly offered little definitive news on the future of Terra Nova, Fringe, House and Bones. The network topper did, however, officially close the book on the buzzed-about Glee spinoff and freshman animated effort Allen Gregory. Here are the highlights from Sunday’s session at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour in Pasadena.
‘Touch’-ing panel: “It was unbelievably appealing because it was so different,” star Kiefer Sutherland says of the script for Touch, a drama about a father whose autistic son can predict the future. Creator Tim Kring (Heroes) noted the series continues his “social benefit storytelling” and that show is a way to “create and promote positive energy in the world.” Meanwhile, Sutherland revealed that shooting on the long-awaited 24 film will “hopefully” begin in late April or early May.
Back to the Island: Lost’s J.J. Abrams defended serialized dramas, while co-stars Jorge Garcia, Sarah Jones and Sam Neill touched on the creepy vibe on the island, where they filmed parts of the pilot about a group of inmates from 1963 who reappear in the present day. While references to Lost were sparse, Abrams did get in a great zinger about doing a second island-set drama: “Any land mass is an island, so you could argue any show ever made, like Mary Tyler Moore, was much like Lost.”
Executive suite: Fox Entertainment Kevin Reilly touted the network’s new partnership with former Adult Swim alums for a 90-minute late-night animation block set to launch on Saturdays starting in January 2013. The executive had few answers as to the uncertain futures of Terra Nova, House, Bones and Fringe, only offering a definitive word that freshman animated series Allen Gregory was canceled and the buzzed-about Glee spinoff would not happen. In addition, Reilly said the network will work hard to keep Seacrest on Idol.
Tots, anyone? The creators and executive producers from the big-screen feature Napoleon Dynamite noted the new animated series allows them to expand the universe and explore things like ligers — the combination of a lion and tiger that Napoleon cites as his favorite animal. “The people who enjoyed the film will enjoy the animated cartoon,” creator/EP Jared Hess said. Meanwhile, guest voices set to stop by include Amy Poehler, Jennifer Coolidge, Jemaine Clement and Sam Rockwell.
The Finder: Executive producers Barry Josephson and Hart Hanson (who appeared via Skype) said they’d long-hoped to create a partner for Bones. In having a consistent law enforcement theme, Hanson noted the series, which stars Geoff Stults as an eccentric war veteran who can find anything, “pays homage to the old PI shows we grew up on.” The lively panel also touched on some of the rejected titles for the show: The Locator, Lost and Found, Boy Wonder. “What I really wanted and what Kevin Reilly said no to was Cougar Town,” Hanson joked.
Lots of laughs: Cast and creators from New Girl, Raising Hope and Breaking In dished on Schmidt’s on-screen nudity (more, please, says Hope’s Greg Garcia), the lack of limits for Cloris Leachman and character development in a panel that alternated between being serious and laugh-out-loud funny. Oh, and Megan Mullally confirms the Party Down movie and her participation in it.
Idol panel: Ryan Seacrest addressed his future beyond the upcoming 11th season of the singing competition series, noting that he “can’t imagine life without American Idol,” while judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson touched on advice for the contestants. “At the end of the day, we’re trying to get them through to be the winner,” Lopez says of the judges’ feedback. In between all of it, they dissed NBC’s The Voice a time or three.
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