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Sometimes You Hit the Wall, Sometimes the Wall Hits You

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 25, 2006

Today is not only Fox's last day of the press tour, it's mine. I will be flying home tomorrow and gladly so.  All my writing plans for yesterday evening gave way to an unexpected but necessary blast of sleep -- the kind where you lie down for a moment and wake up five or six hours later, then go back to sleep again.

Some of this came from having a day that felt dull. I managed to carve a column out of a press conference with Brad Garrett, but there were other stretches when it felt as if little was happening worth paying attention to. The only time I felt even a little aggressive was when I noticed that ''Vanished'' creator Josh Berman listed his tenure at ''CSI'' in his bio but had left out last season's short-lived ''Killer Instinct.'' Since  I remembered him from that press tour, I gave him a chance to make amends during the press conference by asking what lessons he had learned from his previous series experience. But he talked only about ''CSI.''

Once the press conference was over, I asked him what he learned from the other show. ''I only wrote the pilot,'' he said. ''That was my involvement. I was contractually obligated to go back to 'CSI.' '' With a laugh, he added, ''So I learned that a show can get canceled if I'm not working on it.''

Asked if the show lost the direction he had wanted for it, Berman said, ''Yes. You know, you need a guiding creative force on a show and I don't think there are too many people out there who have the exact same vision. I like the people that they brought in to replace me very much. I thought they had a great vision for the show but it wasn't the same direction I wanted to take.''

Part of my weariness may also have been sugar shock; one of Fox's press tour traditions is putting multiple containers of candy at the tables where we sit, and I found myself compulsively chomping on Skittles. (My pre-tour vows to eat right and exercise regularly were kept inconsistently.) But mostly I think I was just plain tired after being in Pasadena for two weeks and change. Sure, it's nice to be in a fancy hotel and to see stars, and to get all sorts of material for future stories. No complaints about that. And I've now had enough rest to get back on the horse today (so expect more posts here). But I am also thinking ahead -- to the plane flight and to home and family.

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