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Dear Journal: 'Rake' Show Runner Reveals All at TCA
January 18, 2014  | By Bill Brioux  | 5 comments

PASADENA, CA -- There are stars and showrunners who come to press tour every year and just go through the motions. Then there's Peter Tolan.

The writer/executive producer has contributed to some of TV's funniest shows, including HBO's The Larry Sanders Show and FX's Rescue Me. He's currently the showrunner of Fox's mid-season entry Rake (premiering Jan. 23 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox). Greg Kinnear stars as a dodgy lawyer with a gambling addiction, in a show based on the Australian series of the same name.

Tolan has misbehaved through some of TCA's most memorable press sessions, especially when he's teamed with his rowdy pals Denis Leary and Lenny Clarke. They've rocked the house, dropping more F-bombs than Rob Ford on a booze binge.

Tolan has teed off on the old broadcast networks before, sharing horror stories from his days trying to do The Job under a mountain of ABC notes.

Brad Oswald from The Winnipeg Free Press asked during the Rake session how Tolan was finding his return to the broadcast arena. Talk about a set up line! Here was Tolan's hilarious (and shrewd) response:

Thank you. It is different, and I’m going to illustrate it just because I’m a little annoyed because even to come here today, about a month ago, maybe a little bit more, I got a note, an email, from Fox publicity about what to talk about here and what not to talk about. I was so upset I actually wrote about it in my journal, which I brought with me.

I’m going to read this. Some of this is about the show. Some of it is personal, but I’ll give you an idea of how upset I was at the time.

September 16th, first day of shooting for Rake. Kinnear showed up drunk with a hooker named Tammy on his arm claiming it was part of his process. After the first shot, he demanded we give Tammy a producer credit. Rather than upset him, we agreed, but her pimp pushed for co-EP, so now she’s a f***ing co-EP.

September 20, call from Kevin Reilly. He feels Rake will be a better fit on Fox if one of our main characters has no head. No idea how to respond, but cut most of John Ortiz’s lines and hope this will address at least the spirit of the note.

October 1st, Peter Duncan still speaking Australian. Can’t understand a f***ing word.

October 11, Tammy no longer with us. Got an overall at 20th. Sold her first pitch to ABC, an hour called Maniacal, Murdering Whores.

October 25th, why is Lena Dunham naked all the time on Girls? I don’t get it.

November 4, good news and bad news from Tammy. The bad news, ABC didn’t like her Maniacal, Murdering Whores script. The good news, they’re airing the title for 13 weeks starting next March.

November 12, dinner at [CBS executive] Les Moonves’ house.

November 15, dinner at Les Moonves’ house.

November 20, dinner at Les Moonves’ house.

December 1, told Les Moonves I’m tired of serving dinner at his goddamn house. Hire a f***ing butler.

Okay. This is it. December 10, really ticked off. Apparently the people at Fox publicity think I’m a child. They sent an email today about the TCAs next month, which included, get this, a list of things not to be discussed. Top of the list, no surprise, Dads...
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Jan 19, 2023   |  Reply
One of these days some smart network is going to give Tolan a half hour every night to just get his latest gripes off his chest. And he and his headless sidekick will be the funniest thing on what we used to call television.
Jan 22, 2014   |  Reply
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