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Questions Not Answered

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 19, 2005

We come to the TV critics' press tour to ask questions and get answers. Sometimes the latter doesn't happen. In fact, on Monday, it happened more than once.

While plugging her upcoming syndicated talk show, model Tyra Banks was asked about ''America's Next Top Model,'' her hit show for UPN.  She had already answered a question about how she was going to do both the talk show and '"Top Model'' (She's doing both simultaneously, she said, because "I'm a workaholic and a control freak.''). But when it came to a specific ''Top Model'' question, she passed -- insisting instead on focusing on her talk show.

She wasn't the only one trying to stay on message. At a press conference for his new network, Current, former vice president Al Gore was asked to comment on the Karl Rove controversy. ''I'd rather not,'' he said. ''I'd rather keep the focus on Current.''

Others actually want to keep some messages to themselves. Steven Bochco, executive producer of the upcoming Iraq war drama ''Over There,'' was asked his opinion of the war. ''I'm not even going to answer the question,'' he said. ''I don't want to politicize the show in any way. ... I think the moment you take a political position, you're not doing what art is supposed to do, which is to ask provocative questions. You know, the moment you take a political position, you're providing answers. And inevitably, when you provide answers ... half the people say, 'Well, gee, that's the wrong answer.' ''

Another producer simply considered some questions beyond his ability to answer. That's David Milch, the driving force behind ''Deadwood'' (and, by the way, Bochco's longtime collaborator on ''NYPD Blue.'').

Asked about how Emmy nominators decide, say, that ''Deadwood'' was more deserving in its second season than its first, Milch said, ''I'm the last person to answer about this. I don't think about it much, and to the extent I do, I'm always wrong.''

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