Wednesday, July 19, 2006

TCA Tour ABC: Day 2; In2TV Spanish Channel

ABC is up again today at the press tour. Yesterday they announced the fall premiere dates along with an executive question-answer session, and questions-answers with new series from the cast and crew of: Six Degrees, Help Me Help You, Ugly Betty, Day Break, Big Day and The Nine. During lunch hour Jimmy Kimmel hosted a "BBQ Lunch," which we hear he served double-decker veggie burgers! Critics are really digging ABC's shows, especially Six Degrees, Ugly Betty and Day Break. Some more notes from yesterday:
ABC could take a second look at Patricia Heaton's sitcom project, the Everybody Loves Raymond actress who had a pilot the network declined to pick up. ABC is in discussions with producers of the pilot about redeveloping the project, which McPherson said "didn't come together." McPherson on Grey's Anatomy moving: "We definitely think 'Grey's' is a self-starter," McPherson said. "We really believe in these comedies (Big Day and Notes from the Underbelly). It's the first time we're really going to go full bore against Thursday nights." And now that J.J. Abrams has moved from Touchstone to Warner Bros., he will still play huge roles on Lost, Six Degrees and What About Brian. Abrams is expected to direct select episodes of Lost and be in the writing room as well, McPherson said. Lost, as mentioned yesterday, will air for 6 episodes in the fall before returning in early winter for the rest of the season, which could be anywhere between 16-18 weeks. He mentioned that Lost likely will create supplementary content, though not broadband episodes, to sate viewer appetites when Lost takes a midseason break.
McPherson also issued a vote of confidence for Desperate Housewives, which critics carped suffered from a creative malaise in its second season (the beginning of it at least). The network likes what it sees from early scripts and descriptions of seasonlong story lines coming from creator and executive producer Marc Cherry, who has the reins to himself now that Tom Spezialy has left the show.
McPherson also aired some regrets over the failure of Commander in Chief, adding that if he could do it over again he would have launched later in the season to avoid overwhelming executive producer Rod Lurie, who was removed from the series because of production delays.
"I think if we had gotten way out ahead, we would have had a much better chance of being able to deliver a show week to week," McPherson said. And he mentioned Invasion as well, "We just could not get a large audience off of it. We really believed in it. It came down to the wire. It was a very tough call for us." He also said, the cast for the next Dancing with the Stars is "almost set."
As for today, ABC had a session with ABC News, effective TODAY ABC will officially change the name of World News Tonight with Charles Gibson to World News With Charles Gibson. So they are removing the word "tonight." Why? ABC News President David Westin says: “The program we air each night remains our flagship broadcast, but it has evolved well beyond thirty minutes on television,” said Mr. Westin. “With an afternoon webcast downloaded by millions, and updated content available throughout the day on ABCNEWS.com, ‘World News’ is always on. We are committed to expanding ABC News and ‘World News’ into the 24-hour space created by the digital world, and it makes sense for that reality to be reflected in the title of the broadcast.” Also, injured ABC News reporter Bob Woodruff is "recovering rather miraculously" and has spent the last two afternoons in the ABC newsroom in New York after morning physical therapy sessions, according to ABC News spokesperson Jeffrey Schneider. Wonderful news and we wish Bob the best of luck in a speedy recovery!
And finally, the rest of the day will be devoted to ABC's other new series/specials: The Knights of Prosperity, Notes from the Underbelly, MEN IN TREES, Brothers & Sisters, and The Path to 9/11.

We mentioned a few weeks back on our In2TV July post, that a few series will be getting Spanish episodes also. We said Jesse, Presidio Med, Animaniacs were getting that treatment. So we sort of were the first to release that because today they officially announced details on the Spanish episodes. They have created an all-new channel with episodes in Spanish! The channel is called "In2TV En Espanol," and launches today! In2TV En Espanol showcases fan favorites from Babylon 5 to Wonder Woman to Perfect Strangers, and many more. According to weekly tracking by AOL, these are among the most popular shows on In2TV, the new broadband network with the largest offering of popular television series available online for free. This new Spanish-language channel will expose an entire online community to television programs that have previously only been seen in their original English broadcast format.
The following are all the shows that are currently on this channel and the episodes for the sitcoms in parenthesis: Growing Pains ("Jealousy," "Carol's Article," "Mike's Madonna Story"), Kung Fu, La Femme Nikita, Lois & Clark, Babylon 5, Pinky & the Brain, Wonder Woman, Jesse ("Live Nude Girl," "Boo! He's Back," The Best Deal Possible"), Animaniacs, Freddy's Nightmares, The Fugitive, Spenser: Fore Hire, People's Court, Hangin' With Mr. Cooper ("Call Me Irresponsible," "My Bodyguard," "Matinee"), Freakazoid!, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., Beetlejuice, Falcon Crest, V: The Series, Max Headroom, Presidio Med, New Adventures of Batman, Sisters, Dark Justice, and The FBI. Their press release mentioned Head of the Class and Perfect Strangers, but I don't see them listed for this month. Head of the Class doesn't even have new episodes in the regular English this month either. I'm surprised Chico and the Man is not in Spanish yet!
Finally, in related news, the blog [itvt] had an interview with Eric Frankel, President Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution. The interview is all about In2TV, so you should go read it. It is quite good! Click here to read it.

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