DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

GARY EDGERTON

ROGER CATLIN

KIM AKASS

GERALD JORDAN

MONIQUE NAZARETH

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
GUEST BLOG #37: Bill Brioux from TCA Press Tour, on Munchies and Muppets
August 2, 2009  | By Bill Brioux
 

[Bianculli here: Contributing writer and busy beaver Bill Brioux, still allowing TV WORTH WATCHING to poach from his own blog TV FEEDS MY FAMILY, sends back two more behind-the-scenes dispatches from the Television Critics Association press tour. One involves pizza and Craig Ferguson; the other, cookies and the Muppets...]

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Craig Ferguson Delivers Pizza; This Is the Way the Cookie Monster Crumbles

By Bill Brioux

Craig Ferguson knows the way to a critic's artery-choked heart is through his stomach. The CBS Late Late Show host has been sending pizza to critics on press tour for our semi-annual business meetings ever since he hosted the TCA Awards show a few years ago. [Coverage of this year's TCA Awards will appear Monday.]

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Ferguson usually sends a hand-written note along with the stack of tasty pies. Today's message, as hoisted here by the Toronto Star's Rob Salem: I WANTED TO SEND YOU FISH AND CHIPS -- BUT THAT COMES WRAPPED IN NEWSPAPER -- AND YOU CAN'T FIND THAT STUFF ANYMORE. SO ENJOY THIS PIZZA INSTEAD.

Deeee-licious.

--

Ever try to interview a Muppet? Critics got to hang with their favorite Sesame Street characters this morning on the PBS portion of the TCA press tour, where the 40th anniversary of the landmark children's show was celebrated.

Talking to a Muppet shaves 40 years off a critic. It was fun to watch and participate as reporter after reporter thrust their digital recorders in front of Cookie Monster, Grover, Abby Cadabby and Maria instead of the Henson puppeteers who move and speak for them: David Rudman, Eric Jacobson, Leslie Carrara and Sonia Manzano.

Rudman's been speaking for Cookie since 1985, taking over from Original Muppet master-turned-director Frank Oz (also the original voice of Grover).

Cookie and Grover date all the way back to the launch of Sesame Street. The 40th anniversary will be marked November 10, with an episode where Big Bird searches for a new habitat.

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I asked Grover to name some of the movie and music stars he's met on the show over the years. When he named Cameron Diaz, I interjected, "She's hot."

"I dunno," said Grover, "I never touched her."

Cookie was asked the same question and mentioned he just shared some cookies with Adam Sandler. How did that go?

"He needs to work on his aghaghaghaghlffph," said Cookie, getting way into his cookie munching move.

The PBS series tries to keep current with the times. There's a Mad Men sketch in the coming season, we were told. How are pre-schoolers going to relate to that, one critic asked. Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, vp of educational research for Sesame Workshop, said to think "Mad" men as in an emotional connection.

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Besides, "mature" TV spoofs have taken place on the Street before. "We did 'Desperate Houseplants,'" said Sesame Workshop executive vp Miranda Barry. That one dealt with the houseplants not "having its needs met by the Gardener."

--

Bill Brioux started contributing to TV WORTH WATCHING in 2008. A veteran TV critic and reporter, Brioux was TV columnist for the Toronto Sun from 1999-2007. He runs and writes his own website about all things television, called TV Feeds My Family.

 
 
 
 
 
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