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Back on the Block

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 31, 2005

I have a couple of last-day stories from the TV critics' press tour. But first, it's great to be back in Ohio, back with my family, back in my home. And I'm here after being there at the end of the press tour, as they were turning out the lights. Literally. I'll come back to that.

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Winding Down

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 29, 2005

In about 24 hours I will be catching a shuttle to the airport and a red-eye back to Ohio. And not a moment too soon.

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Nip/Tuck

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 28, 2005

For those of who have so often asked me when ''Nip/Tuck'' will be back, here's the official answer from FX: Sept. 20. It's a 90-minute telecast, the first of 15 shows in the season.

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What Scares an Actor

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 27, 2005

More than 20 years ago, Cotter Smith played Robert Kennedy opposite Robert Blake's Jimmy Hoffa in the movie ''Blood Feud.'' Now Smith is co-starring in ''Night Stalker,'' ABC's updating of the old horror movies and series.

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Naming Names

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 27, 2005

In ''Commander In Chief,'' a new series starring Geena Davis as a vice president who suddenly ascends to the nation's top office, Davis plays a character whose last name is Allen. The last name of the dead president in the series is Bridges. Five years ago, ''Commander In Chief'' creator Rod Lurie made a movie called ''The Contender,'' in which Joan Allen played a nominee for vice president and Jeff Bridges played the president.

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More ''Dancing''

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 27, 2005

The time zone issue mentioned in the comment on my earlier ''Dancing With the Stars'' posting did indeed come up at the press conference, and it will be in a story I have in the Beacon Journal on Thursday. (And thanks for the comment.)

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Crawling to the "Stars''

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 27, 2005

This is how you put people in seats for bad press conferences: Bait.

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Woke Up, It Was an ABC Morning... and more Premiere Dates

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 26, 2005

And here's a local nugget from the network: Eddie McClintock, the former Canton resident co-starring on mid-season comedy '"The Crumbs,'' will indeed get to wear a Canton Hoover sweatshirt in the series premiere.

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Martin Mull, Amy Halloran, Lana Parrilla, Kristin Chenoweth

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 26, 2005

Notes from the NBC stars' party Monday:

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Wolf on the Loose

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 26, 2005

Well, I guess it's now officially a press tour. Dick Wolf has picked a fight.

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More Calendar Marks

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 24, 2005

Here are NBC's series premiere dates, announced today:

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'Fessing up

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 24, 2005

How tough are things for NBC? Well, NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly's opening remarks today had several references to the, uh, bottom line.

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A Night With TCA

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 23, 2005

The Television Critics Association awards were announced at the annual ceremony tonight, and here are the winners:

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Calendar Markers

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 23, 2005

When The WB was here on Friday, I saw a woman -- and not a TV critic -- approach the network's registration table just to find out when ''Everwood'' is coming back. Which proves it's never too early to start planning your fall viewing. So, since The WB and UPN have indeed announced premiere dates for their new and returning shows in the coming season, here's the lowdown. (Note that some shows, including ''Everwood,'' are changing nights.)

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Leftovers

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 23, 2005

Saturday has been a quiet day. The bulk of it is devoted to Television Critics Association business, with the organization's business meeting this morning (very smooth and peaceful) and the annual awards ceremony tonight. I will post the winners here later. In between, I had lunch with Yvette Nicole Brown, an actress from back home in Ohio, and one of the best people in the world. The lunch was about half interview, half just chatting, and a good way to spend the afternoon.

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Many a tear has to fall

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 23, 2005

Networks are in the business of putting hits on the air -- and taking off flops. Their executives have to be cold and calculating. But when they explain their decisions, they can sound as if they had to shoot Old Yeller.

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Don, Melanie & Other WB

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 22, 2005

Don Johnson & Melanie Griffith used to be married (rather famously), so it was a surprise to see that each has a new series on The WB this fall. When they had back-to-back press conferences today, a reporter found a way to ask (rather gently) how they felt about being in the same network harness.

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The WB

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 22, 2005

After posting that item about ''Love, Inc.'' last night, I caught up on my writing for the print Beacon Journal. You'll find a column in Saturday's paper about T-Boz and Chilli, a couple of Sunday pieces on ''Over There'' and a Monday column elaborating on the ''Love, Inc.''/Shannen/Busy situation.

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Casting, Casting

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 21, 2005

Well, I went to the UPN stars' party tonight at the Paramount lot, and -- when I wasn't talking to ''Veronica Mars'' people -- spotted Busy Philipps, known to some as Audrey on ''Dawson's Creek'' and to me as Kim from ''Freaks & Geeks.'' I didn't remember her being involved with any UPN show -- and finally found out that she has been cast in ''Love, Inc.'' She'll be taking over the Shannen Doherty role. (See below for more about that.)

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How Can I Miss You If -- Oh, Thanks, You Did Go Away...

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 21, 2005

UPN today had a press conference for ''Love, Inc.,'' a comedy premiering this fall, and the early questions focused on someone who isn't even in the show anymore.

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More '"Veronica'' (Updated)

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 21, 2005

CBS will carry four prime-time reruns of ''Veronica Mars'' this summer, two on July 29 and one each on Aug. 5 and 12, as part of a wide-ranging effort to get more viewers for the critically acclaimed UPN series. The drama will begin its second season on UPN on Sept. 21.

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A Few Minutes With the Philosopher King

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 21, 2005

One of the annual highlights of the press tour is the news conference with Leslie Moonves, who has run CBS -- and later UPN as well. Moonves is funny and quick and for the most part likes the give-and-take of a duel with reporters, even a room full of them.

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Long network days

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 21, 2005

Wednesday was a mixed blessing. On the one hand, there was a session with the cast and executive producer of ''Two and a Half Men,'' an often funny CBS sitcom. (One reporter at the session suggested that it lacked critical acclaim, to the puzzlement of the many people who have written kindly about it.) And, on that same hand, the session included the cast and Lorre singing ''Oshikuru,'' a Lorre-penned little ditty from the show, which Lorre called ''phenomenally inept and mundane.'' Which, of course, made it all the funnier.

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''Joan'' again

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 20, 2005

''Joan of Arcadia'' may have completed its run for CBS, but some of us can't let it go. Well, me anyway. And I wasn't all that happy with the show's second season.

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A Night at the Museum

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 20, 2005

CBS held its meet-and-greet with stars of new and returning shows on Tuesday night at Los Angeles's Hammer Museum. Scattered among the stars were plenty of Buckeyes.

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Comment Replies

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 20, 2005

I'm still a little new at this blog system, and am not quite sure how to reply to comments. So I'm going to do it here.

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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.

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Two Shows, Two Sets

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 19, 2005

As I said in the previous posting, today included visits to the set of ''Deadwood'' and ''Over There,'' two very different settings for TV shows.

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Me and the Veep

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 18, 2005

It has been a good day. Also a day when I yelled at a former vice president of the United States. Which wasn't that bad, either.

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Boondocks, The N-Word and Picking Fights

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 18, 2005

When networks hold press conferences, some executives like to start the discussion by asking their own questions while reporters wait to ask theirs. This does not go over well. When a DIY network executive did that, one writer snapped that a do-it-yourself network should let reporters do the questioning themselves.

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Garcetti Bites

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 18, 2005

Former Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti seems happy to be out of his old line of work. He's been busy as a photographer, declines comment on current legal cases and is a consultant to the drama ''The Closer.''

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A Word About ''The Closer''

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 17, 2005

Actors take parts for a variety of reasons. If you ask them, more often than not they'll say they've been attracted by the script, but there's more to it than that.

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How Was Your Day?

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 17, 2005

My last couple of postings have been about news from the press tour, so I thought I'd give you an idea of where that news is coming from. Here's a recap of today:

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Liza's Back (Sort of)

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 17, 2005

For those of you longing to see Liza Minnelli in her glory, Showtime will air her Emmy-winning ''Liza With a Z'' special in 2006, around the time it will also be released on DVD.

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An Authentic Roman DJ

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 16, 2005

Tonight HBO had a party that embodied decadence.

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''Sopranos,'' ''Carnivale''

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 15, 2005

HBO Chairman Chris Albrecht didn't even wait for the question. ''I don't know,'' he said during opening remarks at an HBO press conference today. ''I read what you read.''

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Catherine Bell and the Coin Flip

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 15, 2005

''JAG's'' Catherine Bell was here today to talk about ''Triangle,'' a miniseries she's doing for SciFi. So afterward, I had to ask her about the coin flip.

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Caught in the Lens

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 14, 2005

There have been so many reality shows in recent years that it seems as if everyone will be on one someday.

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Morning With Emmy

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 14, 2005

Early this morning, an enormous amount of effort went into about three minutes of television.

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Some Direction

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 14, 2005

I'm starting this blog at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. I should be in bed, since I have to catch a 4 a.m. shuttle to the Emmy Awards nominations (and, I hope, more blog fodder). It's not that far, it's just that they start very early so they can get attention on the East Coast morning-show telecasts.

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Hail, Red

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 13, 2005

Before I tell you why Red Buttons is so great, I have to talk about Mickey Rooney.

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Face-to-Face Guilting

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 12, 2005

  Most of the time, I deal with publicists by telephone. They're in Los Angeles or New York in the main, and I'm in a place that they rarely know -- and sometimes can't pronounce.

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When Critics Attack: Tuesday on Tour

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 12, 2005

So much has been said over the years about the pack mentality in the press, it's almost comforting to see TV critics turn on each other.

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Monday on the Road (Part Two)

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 12, 2005

The exciting afternoon turned into a quiet night. The only event was a PBS reception and I passed on it. I wrote the Gretchen Wayne story, then spent a lot of time rewriting and trimming. As is so often the case with an interview, especially an on-location one, I had an abundance of material -- but was well aware that I did not have unlimited space for it.

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Monday on the Road (Part One)

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 11, 2005

Well, I am now officially in Hollywood -- actually Beverly Hills -- and it did not take long to feel that I wasn't in Ohio anymore. Like other TV critics here for the summer press tour, I am staying at the Beverly Hilton. Plush digs. There's a 42-inch HD plasma-screen TV in my room, and a 13-inch set hanging by the bathroom sink. No getting away from TV that way, although I don't recommend trying to shave while watching the Weather Channel -- or any other channel. Not used to that big TV, either. I keep thinking it should be a mirror.

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The Road Being Taken

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 10, 2005

  As you know from today's Beacon Journal (or from www.ohio.com ), I am about to embark on my annual trip to California for the summer TV critics' press tour. In addition to stories in the Beacon Journal, you'll be seeing notes and remarks here. I hope to have the first posted late Monday, after I have arrived out west.

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The Info Gap

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 8, 2005

My friend and colleague David Zurawik has a good piece in today's Baltimore Sun about the differences between American coverage of the London bombings and coverage on the BBC, which was available here on BBC America. You can link to it through the Sun but the site does expect you to register.

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Live 8 Done Better

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 8, 2005

I was curious about the Live 8 broadcast over the holiday weekend, but not curious enough to sit long through all the talking to get to occasional music. That was a pretty common perception, and MTV has decided to make up for it. Here's the official announcement:

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Global Village, Different Neighborhoods

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 7, 2005

l woke up this morning to the news from London, seeing it first online, then checking on the TV coverage.

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Lady of the Dance

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 6, 2005

Shortly before they announced the results on ''Dancing With the Stars,'' the telecast here included one of those insurance commercials with John O'Hurley as a humorously pompous fool. That's his image, I thought, yet another variation on the ''Seinfeld'' guy. And it's hard to imagine people taking him all that seriously.

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Prize Parade

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 6, 2005

You may have noticed the story in today's Beacon Journal about staffers winning some journalism awards, myself among them. My wife didn't know about the awards. Neither did I. So it was a nice surprise. And nice surprises usually lead to my Happy Dance. (This is better left undescribed.) Not this time, though.   

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Fun With Phones

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 6, 2005

  I do a fair number of interviews by telephone and for that reason am not fond of cells. Yes, a cell phone comes in handy when I am on the road. I remember sitting in a parking lot in Cuyahoga Falls one hot day, talking by cell with Jonathan Prince of ''American Dreams,'' because my schedule and his schedule meant that I had had to stop between a couple of places to catch him at the right time. So there I was, sweat rolling down my back, the cell jammed between shoulder and ear, scribbling on a pad and noticing once again how very fast Prince can talk.

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Welcome to Son of Blog

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 5, 2005

   For those of you who have not been to my original Beacon TV blog, which began in April, this is a continuation in a new location. I'm Rich Heldenfels, TV critic for the Akron Beacon Journal since 1994, and for other publications for many years before that. This blog is about all things TV, as well as about what goes into writing about television for a living, what that life is like when I'm not watching television and some of the things that have happened behind the scenes. Beginning next week, it will include notes from the annual TV critics' summer press tour. But I am sure I'll have things to post about before then, so take a look. And, if you want to respond to something I say, you can either post a comment here or e-mail me.

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