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Thursday on My Mind

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 14, 2006

I know, it's Friday. It's about 6 a.m. here in Pasadena and I have been awake for a couple of hours. Last night I hit my first wall of the press tour; at about 9 p.m. I stretched out with the idea of taking a short nap before doing some writing. That short nap lasted until about 4 a.m. -- when I got up and wrote a column for Sunday's paper.

The wall didn't come because yesterday was somehow exhausting; it's more that an even pace is impossible on one of these press tours, so sometimes you go hard without much sleep for a few days and then find a place to catch up. (If you just keep pushing, your arteries will end up carrying one part blood, three parts caffeine.)

Instead, yesterday was one of those days where you keep making mental and emotional adjustments. I've already posted about Mr. T, who was a kick, and who was followed by the ''Different World'' reunion, which strove to be much more serious. (I also posted a few notes about it, in ''What Might Have Been'' below.)

Then came one of those dreadful wait-for-the-bait sequences that make critics cranky. The bait was Trey Parker and Matt Stone from ''South Park.'' Comedy Central held them until the end of the network's session, so people had to sit through a session about Comedy Central's broadband channel and ''Freak Show,'' an animated comedy that premieres in October, and another show besides. There were laughs and info-nuggets along the way, but it was all of little consequence compared to ''South Park,'' especially to the people wanting to file ''South Park'' columns right away.

David Cross, touting ''Freak Show,'' accused one critic of sleeping during his session.

''I'm waiting to see the 'South Park' guys,'' the critic replied.

Anyway, we finally did get to ''South Park,'' but that wasn't the end of the day.  The National Geographic Channel had a couple of discussions, one about a special on the pursuit of Osama bin Laden; the coming fifth anniversary of 9/11 has made that disaster a recurring theme for this press tour. Indeed, a little later the History Channel was promoting ''The Miracle of Stairway B,'' about a group that survived the collapse of the World Trade Center's north tower. That session led into one called ''Wedding Wars,'' about a TV comedy-movie planned for later this year, followed by Gene Simmons, Shannon Tweed and their kids, who are starring in a reality show for A&E.

There were more panels after that. I was elsewhere, first writing about Simmons-Tweed for today's Beacon Journal (you can find the piece here) and then sitting down for a one-on-one talk with Akron native Ray Wise. Ray's a veteran character actor (recently seen in ''Good Night and Good Luck'' and as the vice president on ''24'' and due to be a guest star in next week's episode of ''The Closer'') with plenty of stories to tell, from his years as a young actor on ''Love of Life'' to his frequent work for the late Aaron Spelling to his newer projects. I  had a great time, and expect to turn it all into a story in about a week.

The day began to wind down after that, drifting into a Sci Fi Channel dinner overlooked by a reproduction of the gate from ''Stargate'' (which has an anniversary coming up), and a check of e-mail and finally into that ''nap.''  Which helped a lot, considering that the whole process resumes in a couple of hours. At least this is the last day of cable; CBS starts tomorrow, beginning a run of single-network days. They should still be interesting -- Katie Couric is here Sunday morning, ''Rock Star'' is taping Sunday night -- but the pace will ease.

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