CBS, Showtime Stars Talk TV and Happy Endings
BEVERLY HILLS, CA—CBS threw a perfect press tour party Sunday, offering plenty of access to the biggest names across their various network and cable properties. Stars from fall shows like Vegas (CBS) and Beauty and the Beast (The CW) walked the red carpet and then mingled with press as well as stars from established hits like Californication and Dexter (Showtime).
Like they did last summer, CBS took over the rooftop parking garage across from the Beverly Hilton and turned it into an AstroTurf party zone, complete with retro touches like muffin stations, rum-spiked blizzard cones and and even potato chips. It was a bit jarring to hear Whitney Huston come blaring out of the outdoor speakers across from the hotel where she died last year — but that kind of thing happens a lot in Hollywood.
I (temporarily) parked my impulse to raid the tables full of sliders and bagged sound bites from the following celebrities:
- Nina Tassler, president, CBS Entertainment: Bill Carter from the New York Times had one question for Madam President (pictured above with Elementary stars Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller): after all the forensic detective dramas she has put on her network over the years, did she think she could solve a crime? Absolutely, said Tassler, who almost had to become a CSI specialist last year after he home was broken into. The CBS executive and her husband returned home to find evidence of a break in and jewelry missing. When the police arrived, hubby couldn't resist telling the cops that the missus put all those CBS crime shows on TV. Tassler laughed out loud when I asked if the cop knelt down at the crime scene, whipped off his glasses and said, "Looks like an inside job," followed by Daltry's famous, "YAAAAAAAAAAA!" By the way, the couple's home is now guarded by the same breed of attack dog that Team Six used to take out Osama bin Laden. Tassler won't get fooled again.
- Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory: The former Blossom star home schools her kids and so far hasn't subjected them to either of her hit TV shows. She'll wait until they are Blossom's age to see Blossom. Did she watch TV as a kid? You betcha, saying The Cosby Show was her favorite sitcom growing up. All that exposure to the boob tube didn't rot her mind: just like her brainy Big Bang character, Bialik has a PhD in neuroscience.
- Michael C. Hall, Dexter: With Dexter backed into a particularly ticklish corner for the start of the seventh season, Hall was asked if things could possibly end happily for his character. More likely, kidded Hall, was that his character would wander into a massage parlour and get a "happy ending."
- Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race: Keoghan took issue with Probst's version of that Survivor hosting audition told earlier in the day. Probst said it came down to the two of them for the Survivor hosting job and that Keoghan blew it by going in first. True, says Keoghan, but he had no choice — he was called in first. Whatever — six months later Keoghan landed Amazing Race. Says his New Zealand accent was the stumbling block to the job, funny when you consider all the Brit, Aussie and New Zealand accents among U.S. network casts today.
- Jeff Probst, Survivor; The Jeff Probst Show: Probst says Survivor 25 gets the series back and will please the fans, and that Season 26 is fantastic, too. He says it's what Mark Burnett always envisioned the series to be: anything can happen, anybody can win. He also talked about the house he bought with new bride Lisa Ann Russell: the old Gene Autry estate, which has "GA" carved over the door and came with several collectibles from the singling cowboy, including his old "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" 78s and other memorabilia. And get this: Probst's offices for his new daytime talk show is Autry's old studio office — so he takes the same route to work and back as the late, great former Angels' owner.
- David Duchovny, Californication: Tried to suggest to Duchovny that Hank Moody's sexual and marital shenanigans might not be as "out there" as one might think — then realized that there is no way on earth this dude is going to touch that suggestion with a ten-foot pole. He did retract his earlier musing that Moody might die at the end, saying the longer he plays him, the more he wants a happy ending. (Although, just to be clear, he didn't mean that kind of "happy ending"...)
- Evan Handler, Californication: Was able to get closure with Handler over a mistake I made a decade ago. Once, in a story I wrote in the Toronto Sun, I got Handler confused with the other bald guy on Sex and the City, Willie Garson. Handler actually tracked me down on email at the time and and let me have it, suggesting I was something less than a journalist. Told him I try to be more careful now. All is forgiven.
- L.L. Cool J, NCIS: Los Angeles: Cool J told reporters at the Global upfront in Toronto in June that he had been held up and hassled crossing the border at Canadian customs. He breezed through going back the other way, he reports. Whew!
- Matt LeBlanc, Episodes. LeBlanc is playful and fun in interviews and apparently on the set of his Showtime series. Says he puts salami between the pages of his Brit co-stars scripts in an effort to try and get them to lighten up. Not baloney? His character plays a hockey coach on Pucks, the show-within-the-show, and LeBlanc, who grew up near Boston, says he's the only one in the cast who can skate and play hockey.
- Michael Chiklis, Vegas: The former Shield star (below, with the cast of Vegas: Dennis Quaid, Chiklis. Carrie-Anne Moss, Sarah Jones, Taylor Handley and Jason O'Mara) says he's happy to be on the other side of the law playing a mob boss on Vegas. And, yes, he did talk to some real life wiseguys to get into character, but wasn't naming names. "I'd have to kill you later," he says.