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Play it again, Charlie

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Off to the TCA summer press tour

Here’s a puzzle for you: The number of stories that come out during the three-week annual TV critics summer press tour? Unlimited.

Space in the newspaper? Very limited.

Space on the Internet? Unlimited.

I think you can sense a theme here.

During the July press tour, which begins Tuesday and ends July 29, you can’t move without bumping into a who’s who of celebrities. Al Gore, Simon Cowell, Freddie Prinz Jr., Michael Douglas, Kirk Douglas, Dennis Hopper, Geena Davis, Tom Selleck, Melanie Griffith. As you can see, it’s a virtual TV and movie star feast.

They all turn out to promote their new shows. PBS takes over for the first two days, with highlights being a panel on veteran performers from Sid Caesar to Mickey Rooney. And filmmaker Martin Scorcese will unveil his latest masterpiece on Bob Dylan.

Next up are the cable presentations, from HGTV to HBO, and then the broadcast networks. Critics will tour sets, including HBO’s “Deadwood” and Steven Bochco’s (“NYPD Blue”) new wartime drama “Over There.”

Actors love talking about themselves and others, while producers and writers like chatting about the travails of getting their projects made.

So, to give you every last drop of gab that goes on during hurried hallway chats and alcohol-lubed party blabs, I’ll again be directing you to my newly improved TV blog, Unscripted, which I’ll also continue writing for after TCA ends.

It’s easy: Just log on to our Web site,, and click on the logo for Unscripted.

And, now you can participate, too. The blog will allow comments from visitors, so when Paris Hilton drops her purse and spills the contents (yes, that actually happened), you’ll hear all about it and be able to pop off what you think to boot.

Don’t worry, we’ll still print my columns in this space detailing, for example, the network heads’ stumbling explanations for why they canceled, say, “Joan of Arcadia” so they could make room for some new series that doesn’t look half as good.

Also new this year: You can e-mail me your questions about TV, and I’ll do my best to answer them on the blog. Think of me as your representative down south in the big bad world of television.

We’ve also updated the blog. Now blog entries will be categorized, so you can quickly find what interests you. The choices will range from network news to party time chatter. You even might discover a few online surprises.

So I’m off to Beverly Hills. Putting in those 12-hour days. Talking to the celebs.

Yeah, I know. No sympathy.

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