Archive for January, 2005

Our final Winter TCA blog

Dishing on divorce

The final hours of the press tour wound down with an ABC party on Wisteria Lane. Of course a trip down that famous “Desperate Housewives” street wouldn’t be complete without a little domestic gossip.

Before Brad and Jennifer split, the tabloids loved spilling the minute-by-minute marriage breakup of John Stamos and Berkeley native Rebecca Romijn.

“I don’t like seeing myself in those magazines,” John says. “But then I turn around and read them and think, ‘I can’t believe Brad Pitt said that to her.’ “

John says he’s angry at the press dogging his now-grown-up “Full House” co-stars Mary-Kate and Ashley. Both, he says, are doing just fine.

“I’m so impressed with the two of them and what Mary-Kate is doing is so inspirational,” John says of her decision to go public with her eating disorder. “Mary-Kate is now working as (photographer) Annie Liebovitz’ assistant, and Ashley is helping design a friend’s restaurant.”

`NYPD Blue’ musings

So just how badly did producer Steven Bochco (“NYPD Blue”) want to get his series “Blind Justice” on the air?

“I told ABC to put it in the ‘NYPD Blue’ spot after it went off the air, and they kept saying they weren’t sure,” Bochco says. “So I told them I would give them $2 million (basically the cost of the pilot) to put it on. They finally agreed.”

Jimmy Kimmel’s Uncle Frank, a fixture on the late night talk show, was excited to meet Bochco. He told the producer that he was an ex-cop and said there were only two TV series that accurately reflected life as a New York cop: “NYPD Blue” and “Barney Miller.”

`Alias’ star gets a girl

“Alias” co-star Greg Grunberg is a happy man: He finally get a girlfriend on the series.

His new gal is the beautiful Nadia (Mia Maestro), sister of Sidney (Jennifer Garner). Nadia is the daughter of evil genius Arvin Sloan.

“It’s pretty funny. In one episode I go to dinner at Sloan’s house and call him Arvin,” Greg says. “He stops that right away.”

`Desperate’ rumors

Ah, the rumors. Now that “Desperate Housewives” is such a success, quite a few actresses are claiming they turned down parts in the series.

Not so, says creator Marc Cherry.

Heather Locklear, in the very early stages before the pilot had been sold, had been briefly mentioned.

“In defense of Ms. Locklear, the creator actually did talk about her (although she was never offered a roll),” Cherry says. “In reference to the other actress whom you’ve mentioned, let me be clear. No offer was tendered.”

Cherry said when Nicollette Sheridan heard of Locklear’s interest, she said it would be fine if she got a guest shot as Edie’s sister.

But let us be clear. “Edie’s OLDER sister,” she says.

Sit on it

Heeeyyy, it’s the Fonz coming down the street.

Henry Winkler, who now plays a crooked lawyer on Fox’s “Arrested Development,” was at the ABC party because the network’s doing a “Happy Days” reunion show.

So what else has Henry been up to?

“I write children’s books, and the character is Hank Zipzer, ” Henry says. “My latest is being published by Penguin/Putnam.”

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Hangin’ with the WB

You’ve got to hand it to teen heartthrob Chad Michael Murray. Unlike Donald Trump, who got married on Saturday and gave his bride a wedding ring that was basically a freebie (he plugged the jeweler on his show “The Apprentice”), Murray took some time with his purchase.

“I worked with an Australian jewelry maker. Now, I don’t know anything about jewelry. My fiancé picks out everything I’m wearing, but I think I did a good job,” Murray says. “I put all kinds of secret symbols into it that makes it special just for her.”

His intended, Sophia Bush (they both star on the WB’s “One Tree Hill”) sported the major sparkler, but when asked about the symbols simply said, “I’m not going to tell you that. It’s between me and Chad.”

But she did reveal something about her wedding gown. “Two words,” Sophia said. “Vera Wang. And we aren’t going with any theming on the wedding, we just want something with elegance, but not stuffy. We’re going to keep it small.”

Should be noted that that Chad hasn’t looked this happy in years. Love, and soon-to-be marriage, seems to agree with him.

Don’t mention Demi

Ashton Kutcher showed up at the same Warner Bros. party as Murray, but he didn’t bring along Demi Moore. In fact, he was a little testy anytime anyone mentioned her.

But one rather elderly woman (hey, not me!) kept pestering him for personal information. Ashton pasted a bemused look on his face and tried to be polite. But when the grandmotherly woman finally said, “When are you and Demi getting married?,” he just shook his head and turned to another reporter.

Ashton’s new show for the WB is a reality series about women who have more beauty than brains and men who have more brains than social graces. The closest he got to “personal” was when he said he prefers women who are beautiful and intelligent. “I don’t want to be with someone who is not intellectually stimulating,” Kutcher said.

The handsome, but often oddly spoken Ashton also said he hoped the show would “help people learn to work with one another.” And, um, how would a show with the potential to humiliate the contestants do that? “Humiliation is the greatest cleanser,” Ashton replied.

Reba and Dolly

Reba McIntire (and her 200-watt smile) popped in for a minute with her husband and teen son. She said despite rumors that her Broadway hit “Annie Get Your Gun” might become a movie, she hasn’t heard a thing. “I guess no one is interested, but I’d love to see that filmed,” Reba said. She said she’s excited about Dolly Parton coming on her “Reba” series this spring. “We wanted to get her last season, but she just wasn’t available, then she called and said she had some time and we grabbed her,” McIntire said. “She didn’t want to play herself, so she plays a real estate mogul. We haven’t started filming yet, but it’s going to be great.”

Those Gilmore girls

“Gilmore Girl” Alexis Bledel got all excited when she heard the Dolly news. Well, she’s kind of a low-key gal, but she was still pretty charged. “I LOVE Dolly Parton,” she said. “I wonder how I can get to meet her?” I have the feeling Alexis might have a few connections. “Gilmore Girl” mom Lauren Graham said she doesn’t watch TV very much, but her TiVO is jammed-packed with mostly British home improvement shows. “I know as an actor, I should be against reality shows, but I just love them,” said the charming Lauren. “But I don’t like those reality shows where people are humiliated. It just depresses me. I can’t even watch ‘e.r.’ anymore because there’s so much sadness on that show. It’s crazy.”

Please write

OK, one more Ashton thing: He’s wrapped his gig on “That ’70s Show” for Fox and says he’s not coming back. But he still loves his co-stars, and misses them. And maybe he might come back “if I have any time and the script is good.”

He won’t be back.

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TV show sets are…revealing

Don’t count on Portia for directions

Nothing’s cooler than visiting a Hollywood set, unless your tour guides are the stars of the show.

“Arrested Development” star Portia de Rossi may not be the best guide around, however.

“I always get lost between the sets,” she says. “Someone walks me to the set while I have my head stuck in a script.”

Portia has been making headlines as the new girlfriend of Ellen Degeneres, and she says the two of them had a great time at the Golden Globes last Sunday — even if the fire marshal was shutting down overbooked parties before they could even get into ‘em.

Scattered around the set are real pictures of the actors, including one of Portia before she changed her nose and one of Jessica Walters and her daughter and the guy she used to date.

“I don’t even know his name,” says Walters. “If he wasn’t in the middle, I would have cut him out of the picture.”

The picture hangs in the childishly decorated room of her on-screen son Buster.

In this week’s episode, mom Walters discovers Buster in bed with Lupe, the maid. In true nasty mom fashion, she barks at him, ”You don’t need the comfort of an immigrant in your mother’s old stirrup pants…”

And what else would you expect from the shopping list on the fridge: Need: Milk, Sugar, Lemon Tea, Paper Towels, Weed.

Gotta love that show.

How to keep your dress on

Later, we chugged over to the Warner Bros. lot for a 50th anniversary party honoring the company’s TV division.

All the stars of DVD land, from “Dukes of Hazzard” to “The O.C.” were there _ well, at least some of them were.

Woodside’s Linda Cardellini was there with her longtime boyfriend Jason Segel. The two met on “Freaks and Geeks,” but now she’s working on “ER.”

Linda says Jason has been working on “Alias” and “CSI,” and that he kissed hottie Jennifer Garner.

“Let’s get this right,” jokes Jason. “SHE made out with ME.”

Peter Gallagher, Melinda Clarke and Mischa Barton all showed up to represent “The O.C.”

Barton wore a lovely frock she’d ordered after seeing it in a fashion magazine. The gauzy, strapless dress was a thing of beauty, except poor Mischa spent the whole night trying to keep it from doing a Tara Reid.

Umm, isn’t there that sticky stuff you put on dresses like these to make them stay in place?

“Oh, sure. Where were you when I dressed myself?” Mischa shoots back.

Mischa’s also a little concerned about her new love interest on the show, a woman named Alex (Olivia Wilde).

“I was a little shocked and then cautious. I mean, kids watch this show,” says Mischa, apparently forgetting about the sex, drugs and alcohol in her own character’s life. “But then I went to an arts high school in New York and (testing the lesbian waters as teens) was absolutely an issue.”

And she seemed to completely forget about the impact on little Seth’s life. Seth (Adam Brody) thinks Alex is his girlfriend.

I tried to get the “Nip/Tuck” people to reveal who the Carver was, but they just laughed. Even when you promise to pinky swear, it’s a no go.

But we did discover that “Gilmore Girls” couple Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Luke (Scott Patterson) might not be a happy twosome for much longer.

“Can’t happen forever,” Graham says. “It’s TV…how could it last?”

It’s Daisy Duke!

“La Femme Nikita” star Peta Wilson was thrilled to talk to “Dallas” star Larry Hagman, but not because he was once J.R. Ewing.

“I’m from Australia and we didn’t watch much TV, but I loved watching ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ and acting out scenes from that show,” she gushed before doing the Genie jiggle for him.

And how much cooler does it get than seeing former Bo Duke (John Schneider) and Daisy Duke (Catherine Bach) hanging out by the old General Lee? I almost thought they might jump through the window and speed away.

After being told that a young actor on “Veronica Mars” had been moaning about being called “The poor man’s Shane West” in print, the real Shane (“ER”) said he could relate.

“I used to be called Neil Patrick Harris,” Shane says. “Well, we both had kind of spiky hair.”

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Lovin’ with cast of “Veronica Mars”

No love for Leif Garrett

While some of the nation’s TV critics gathered here at the Universal Hilton might feel like we’ve taken up residence in this hotel, “CSI” creator and executive producer Anthony Zuiker actually DOES live here.

He hangs out in his penthouse suite Mondays through Fridays, writing “CSI:
NY,” and goes home to Las Vegas on the weekends.

“People are always putting their (resumes) under my door,” he says.

So, does he just dump them in the trash? Heck no!

“When I was a kid, I wrote to Leif Garrett and left him my home number and asked if he would just call me and leave a message so I could play it for my friends,” Zuiker says. “Never heard (crap) from him.

“So when these guys contact me, I send them ‘CSI’ hats, T-shirts, everything, with a nice note. Screw Leif Garrett.”

Note to Garrett: Don’t bother auditioning for one of the hottest shows on TV.

Hearts and kisses to “Veronica Mars”

Here’s a valentine to “Veronica Mars,” one of the smartest shows on TV and one that needs more viewers. One of the best reasons to watch is star Kristen Bell.

Bell says she knew it would be hard work carrying the lead of a TV drama, “But I didn’t know that it would be 50 percent doing the show and 50 percent promoting the show.”

She says she has zero time off and what little she has is devoted to sleeping.

“I’m running on pure caffeine right now,” says Bell.

“Buffy” fan alert: Willow…er…Alyson Hannigan is joining the cast as bad boy Logan’s long-lost sister.

And for those of us enjoying Mac, the geeky computer girl played by Tina Majorino, she’s going to be back for more episodes.

“She was in my favorite movie,” gushed Bell.

“Waterworld”?

Blank stare.

“No, ‘Napoleon Dynamite.’”

Of course…

The whole “Veronica Mars” cast was in San Francisco earlier this month during their nationwide mall tour.

Co-star Jason Dohring says he was touched by a fan who had complied a CD filled with songs she thought his character Logan would love.

“I’m going to write her back and thank her. It was great,” Dohring says.
“She even made a mock cover for the album and everything.”

So at the end of this season, we’ll get the answers as to who murdered Lilly Kane, and all of the cast members are putting their bets into an envelope.

A few reporters have tried to get the cast to fess up to what their predictions are, but none have so far.

But how do will be know who won the bet?

“Oh, I’ll tell you,” says the perky Bell.

All of the cast members think they know the answer, but producer/creator Rob Thomas says he thinks they will be surprised.

“Yeah, they all THINK they know, but what they don’t know is that I haven’t been as honest with them as they think,” jokes Thomas.

At least I think he was joking….

For you girlie girls

Look out for “Bad Girl’s Guide,” which is set to debut this spring on UPN.
It’s all about it being OK for girls to wear pink instead of gray flannel power suits.

Oh yeah. It’s time we saw TV showing that you don’t have to act like a guy anymore to be taken seriously.

“For a while, especially when I was younger and coming up, you really felt like you had to almost be intimidating and be very businesslike,” says producer Robin Schiff (“Romy and Michell’s High School Adventure”). “I want to look like a girl. I want to wear cute shoes and jewelry and skirts, and I don’t think it detracts from my ability to do my job.”

Paris is the bimbo in yellow

And finally, let’s revisit the Monday Fox party, which several bloggers attended and reported stories from in which they mixed up Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie.

Ritchie was the one in the pink beaded flapper-esque dress with bobbed blonde hair who spent most of the time putting her tongue down her DJ boyfriend’s throat.

Hilton was the one in the yellow, vintage Yves St. Laurent suit and updo hair, looking very Jackie-O, who insisted on talking on her cell phone while reporters tried to interview her.

Let’s get it right, people.

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CBS fetes Sheen, Selleck

Charlie Sheen, doting dad? You bet.

Generally speaking, the first people showing up at the network parties are critics, network publicists and a smattering of eager young actors.

The critics cruise in early to get to the food before chumming for interviews and the young actors just don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to get their name in print.

So when the first busload of critics popped up at the CBS party Tuesday night, it was a shock to see Charlie Sheen (“Two and a Half Men”) standing alone on the red carpet entry way.

There he was, getting blasted by hundreds of paparazzi flashes.

Was Hollywood’s former baddest of the bad boys just making a quick appearance before racing to another party?

“I had to get here early because my daughter’s sick and my wife (Denise Richards) is pregnant, so I don’t want to leave her for too long,” Sheen says. “But I wanted to make sure I talked to some outlets about the show.”

It didn’t matter that he talked about newspapers like electrical sockets, plugging his show.

Doting dad? Attentive husband? You bet. And he even has a series that is the funniest comedy on television.

Ray Romano learns to act (Yum, coffee!)

You know, no matter how big the star, they still have those insecurities. Take Ray Romano.

Everybody loves Ray, yet he still dwells on the one Web site that constantly berates his acting. The site he keeps visiting.

“He likes to pick at it like a wound,” says the show’s co-creator Phil Rosenthal. “And it’s like three 13-year-olds anyway.”

Romano, a stand-up comedian, was asked when he first thought of himself as an actor. While he still won’t cop to being an actor, Romano says he finally realized he couldn’t just keep playing himself, even on the show. The scene called for him to drink coffee.

“But I don’t like coffee,” he told the writers.

This, he was told, is when the acting part kicks in.

It pays the bills for Tom Selleck

It didn’t take long for Tuesday night’s party to get into full swing, with an odd mix of star sightings.

Tom Selleck stood head and shoulders above the crowd, talking about a new movie he’s doing for CBS based on a Robert Parker novel.

“I need to do two movies a year to make the mortgage and a third would be perfect,” says Selleck.

So what’s he doing these days other than riding his horses? “Reading a lot of bad TV scripts…”

Don’t kiss the staffers

Not far from Selleck was David McCallum (“NCIS”) and former ’60s heartthrob from “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”

He still looks great and loves smooching any woman who remembers him fondly. But the reporters weren’t buzzing around him either.

Oh just shut up, Baby

Oh, but there was a crowd around “Amazing Race” host Phil Keoghan, wondering why he didn’t step in and stop the abusive Jonathan as he verbally attacked his wife Victoria.

“If she had been in any danger, we would have stepped in,” says Keoghan, who admits this hasn’t been his favorite group of contestants.

“Just wait until the next ‘Race,’ ” he promises. “We have a really good group this next time.”

Really, they couldn’t be any worse than this group.

He also agrees that the use of “baby” as in, “Come on Baby…you can do it Baby…I love you Baby…” should be banned entirely.

Les has to pay for that rock, somehow

You didn’t need bright lights to spot the sparkler on Julie Chen’s hand.

The massive, 10-carat engagement ring and multi-carat wedding band practically lit up the entire room. Chen (“The Early Show”) recently wed her longtime lover Leslie Moonves, the big cheese at CBS and Viacom.

Talk about job security.

Will this “Numb3rs” make it to No. 14?

You may not immediately recognize David Krumholtz, star of the new series “Numb3rs”), but he was one of the most popular guys at this, or any other, party.

Critics love him for being a great actor, other actors remember him for being in so many failed series.

“I look across this room and see a graveyard of lost TV shows,” says Krumholtz, who has made a record 12 TV pilots and six series which never made it past the 13th episode. “I’m just hoping to see 14 one of these days.”

Some of Krumholtz’s fallen TV buddies include Selleck (“The Closer”) and Jon Cryer, now co-starring in the hit “Two and a Half Men.”

Yet Cryer was a little bitter to discover that Krumholtz had omitted their shared series “The Trouble With Normal” from his official biography.

“Where is he?” joked Cryer. “It’s smackdown time.”

As for Krumholtz: “Oh, yeah. Like he’s putting THAT one at the top of his resume.”

Does Mission Control know this?

And we leave you today with this odd little tidbit: Cryer collects, of all things, memorabilia from the early Soviet space missions. That’s almost as obscure as “The Trouble with Normal.”

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Partying with Fox

Wall-to-wall celebs

Leave it to Fox to cram every square inch of trendy Hollywood eatery Meson G with wall-to-wall celebrities.

Of course it was a fire hazard, but you gotta take risks to report the news, right?

Besides, there are worse things than being smashed up against Jason Bateman. Bateman was still basking in his Golden Globe win the night before, but confided he was in trouble with his wife. She felt he should have been more spontaneous in his acceptance speech.

“But you don’t want to forget all those people who got you up there,” says Bateman.

It’s OK Jason.

Rockin’ with Ritchie

The lighting was good enough to see everyone from Adam Brody to John Walsh, but the noise level was enough to make you grab some earplugs.

And no use telling the DJ to turn it down. He had friends in pretty high places.

The unnamed guy is Nicole Ritchie’s latest boyfriend and she spent much of her early moments at the party planting some major lip action on him.

Dressed in an adorable pink beaded dress with her blond hair bobbed and curly, Ritchie strayed from the aforementioned guy long enough to gab about her latest project.

“I grew up playing the piano and my whole life was about music,” Ritchie, who was being particularly sweet, says. “I’m working on an album of Diane Warren songs.”

No word on when it might be finished - or released.

Fashion statement

Hunky Billy Campbell (“Once and Again”) has signed on to do his best to cause a rift in the solid marriage of Sandy and Kirsten Cohen of “The O.C.” Campbell admits he hadn’t seen the show prior to signing up for duty.

“I heard you have to take your shirt off a lot in this show, so I’m not eating after tonight,” says the slim actor as he pounded down some serious grub. “I’ve got to look good.”

Campbell says he’s only signing on for a few episodes, and then will go back to taping the USA’s sci fi series “The 4400.”

Coyote finds work anyway

When USA picked up “The 4400″ from the miniseries airing last year, Mill Valley actor Peter Coyote was ecstatic.

“I started looking for new cars, but then I didn’t get a call,” Coyote says. “I finally called and found out they didn’t want my character back.”

But what USA taketh away, Fox giveth.

Coyote will be starring in a new midseason replacement, “The Inside,” a kind of supernatural cop show.

Nice guys have a hard time

Adam Brody, one of the nicest guys ever, did his best answering prying questions from some not-me press types.

Like, who was your favorite teacher? (“I liked most of them, but I can’t remember their names right now.”)

How has your life changed since becoming a star? (“You mean other than the cocaine and hookers?”)

And he revealed that in seventh grade a bully once urinated on him in the showers after gym class.

“I wanted to kick his butt, but I was like small, weak…and naked.”

New bad boy

Brody broke away from the stalker reporters for a small chat about his “O.C” character Seth. Seems Seth’s bad boy days are behind him, but co-star Benjamin McKenzie says viewers should expect a turn to the dark side for his character Ryan by the end of the season.

“I didn’t ask for it, but it is much more interesting to play the bad boy,” McKenzie says. “And he’ll be going to a very dark place by the end of this season.”

New good girl

“The O.C.” star Mischa Barton, who plays the tormented Marissa, will be getting a new love interest on the show - a young woman.

Creator Josh Schwartz says it was his idea to go that direction with the character, saying she’s just experimenting after she meets someone who is supportive and caring toward her.

Oh, and Schwartz knows that the story already popped up on the Internet.

“Yeah. I planted it,” says Schwartz.

So long, Jimmy

Schwartz says Tate Donovan, who played Jimmy on the show, is not likely to return.

“It’s not like he’s dead, so I guess it could happen,” Schwartz says. “But it’s not likely. We’ve seen the last of Jimmy, I’m afraid.”

Still an item

Brody says he’s been doing some films in his free time, including “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” (“I’m on for like a second.”) and a leading role in “In the Land of Women.”

Oh, yeah. And Brody and co-star Rachel Bilson are still together.

“That was the worst-kept secret romance ever,” Schwartz says.

Mother love

“House of Sand and Fog,” filmed along the San Mateo County coast, was an amazing film. And two of the best people in it were Shohreh Aghdashloo and Jonathan Ahdout, who played mother and son. Now the two are back playing mother and son in the new season of “24.” But mom’s a bit more sinister in this one.

Like knocking off her son’s teen girlfriend.

But she wouldn’t go after her own son, would she?

“With this woman, you never know,” joked Aghdashloo.

Or at least I think she was joking.

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