TCA Tidbits: Kal Penn, The Office in Space, and More

Today, FX takes its turn onstage at the TCA press tour, so I should have lots to share later on about Damages and The Shield. But before I get into all of that, there are a few fun tidbits from the first day that I wanted to be sure to mention:


  • Kiefer Sutherland appeared briefly to chat about 24 (and was pinned against a wall by a throng of reporters almost immediately upon arrival). I've been watching the preview for this Fall's prequel on our hotel's closed-circuit system, and it seems to include Jack Bauer liberating a bunch of African children with his bare hands. Not that I'm complaining.
  • I never thought I'd be in the same room with Karl Rove — and I also never thought he'd be relatively non-confrontational. Instead, it was Fox News's Chris Wallace who laid the smack down on reporters during the Fox News session; I told Citizen the story.
  • It's strange to come out of a TCA session pumped for a show that doesn't really exist yet, but the new Fox show I'm most excited about has to be Boldly Going Nowhere, which the network is developing for midseason. Fox's entertainment president, Kevin Reilly, described it as "The Office in space — petty jealousies and incompetencies on a long-term mission to wherever they're going.
  • Also, Kevin Reilly and his fellow Fox exec Peter Ligouri have the best hair of all TV executives. Just sayin'.

Lots more — including carnival games with Kal Penn (I have video evidence!) and the trick to being a Fox animator — so read more.

  • Fox has a show called Secret Millionaire, and it's going to be very, very weird. The premise: Millionaires go out into poorer communities to, er, see how the other half lives; later, they reveal themselves to be secretly rich and bestow a giant check on someone. This being Fox, reporters spent a good portion of the session asking if there was really a twist in which various embarrassing challenges would need to be performed before the money could be collected.
  • If you're an animator on a Fox series, it helps to be named Matt or Mike. Of the nine people on the panel featuring the executive producers of Fox's five animated shows, five of them had one of those two names. Also, this seems to be the animator uniform: gray or medium-blue jeans; gray, black, or navy T-shirt or polo; gray, black, or blue blazer. It was one long line of monochromatic clothing, with the exception of that one guy in white:

  • Like last year, Fox threw its party at the Santa Monica Pier — and Joss Whedon was, quite literally, acting like a kid at a carnival. He bolted around from ride to ride (Molly and I joined him on the Sea Dragon) and seemed particularly excited about getting a group together for the bumper cars.
  • Speaking of Molly, she casually informed Kal Penn that she was going to beat him at one of those games where you have to squirt a water gun to make a character run up a rail — and she wasn't joking around. Watch:

    You can't hear it, but in that last bit at the end, he acknowledged her obvious carnival-game superiority.

With ABC, CBS, NBC, The CW, and Bravo coming in the next few days, I'm wondering: What do you most want to hear about from TCA?

Photos courtesy of Fox

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