The Smash panel at TCA: (Front Row) Actor Jack Davenport, Actress Anjelica Huston,
Actress Debra Messing, (Back Row) Executive Producer/Co-Lyricist Scott Wittman,
Executive Producer/Music Composer/Co-Lyricist Marc Shaiman,
Executive Producer Neil Meron and Executive Producer Craig Zadan
The Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour kicked off last week in Pasadena and the TV networks have been busy trotting out their new shows and talent as well as wining and dining the critics in hopes of finding love when it comes to their new shows. AfterElton was there for the NBC/Bravo/E! sessions and parties this weekend and here’s a recap of some of the highlights rubbing elbows with the stars. (We’ll also have several one-on-one interviews coming with talent such as Matt Bomer, Ross Mathews, Jeff Lewis, Tabatha Coffey and the stars of the highly anticipated series Smash.)
During the NBC Executive Session, Bob Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment, was asked about how important Smash is after fall failures like The Playboy Club and Prime Suspect: “I think that Smash is going to be very important to us,” he explained. “I don’t believe it’s a make‑or‑break kind of a show for us. I think we really are proud of it and excited about what it could do. It was very important to give it a lead‑in [and] I think we have one in The Voice, and there was a strategic decision made nine months ago…to put those two shows together and hopefully the synergy of the night will invigorate both shows. So Smash is a real asset for us, and you’re going to see a full‑court press, including ‑‑ and this is just the luck of the timing ‑‑ promotions in the Super Bowl. That said, I don’t think it’s make-or-break. It’s just a really good, you know, potential long‑term asset for us.”
At the NBC party last Friday night, Brad Goreski reacted to the promising debut performance for his new Bravo show It’s A Brad, Brad World: “I’m so happy that the response has been so positive and people are excited to see more. You can really ask for that much more. I was really nervous before but I’m feeling really good now.”
How did Goreski and partner Gary Janetti watch the premiere? “[We] watched it surrounded by 30 of my really good friends and we watched it at a big room at the Mercer [Hotel] and had a big party.” Goreski also promised that the crying scene in this week’s episode would not be the last. He said, grinning with a mix of pride and embarrassment, there are between 6-10 more to come.
Gary Janetti is still getting used to journalists (like me!) knowing who he is from Brad’s show but advised that if viewers are on the hunt for relationship drama to unfold thenIt’s A Brad, Brad World isn’t the show for them. “For some people, the experiences can be negative when the cameras are there or when you’re forced to have this attention on it, but for us it was very positive and it brought us closer to together so I feel really good about it. It was all about celebrating everybody in our lives.”
Goreski also just grabbed a new client in Golden Globe nominee Callie Thorne (Best Actress for USA’s Necessary Roughness). Thorne gushed like a fan-girl in talking about her famous stylist. “I got to meet him tonight. We’d only talked on the phone. Even that morning, immediately [after the nomination announcement] they call with flight arrangements, cars, hotels…I said ’Can you guys give me five minutes?’ and they said ‘You don’t understand. You’re going to have the worst hotel and you have to think about the stylist!’ I said ‘It will never happen but I want Brad Goreski.’ They said ’Um, okay…’ I think they thought maybe it was a long shot given that he is extremely shooting to the heavens. They called me in the afternoon and he said he wanted to do it. I’m thrilled!
At a luncheon held by E! where stars like Chelsea Handler, Kelly Osbourne and Ross Mathews sat down with critics, Joan Rivers, with daughter Melissa to talk about Fashion Police, said “God Bless Them!” when asked about how the gay audience was on her side her early in her career. “They were the first ones who laughed at me!” She also deadpanned how she had the gays way before Kathy Griffin. “Kathy got the ones I don’t want. She got the ones who don’t have chic apartments!” Melissa quickly stepped in and said, “Kidding! Kidding! My Mom and Kathy are very good friends.”
Joan and Melissa Rivers
Back at the NBC party, BD Wong may no longer be playing out character Dr. George Huang on Law & Order: SVU but he’s not worried about playing a therapist on the new NBC series Awake (premiering in March). “The people who wrote the show are very cool in that they understand that there is diversity in all of us, different manifestations are part of the make up of life. So, it would really surprise me if they didn’t include something gay in the show at some point…I don’t necessarily see them implementing it because I’m on the show or Cherry [Jones, the out actress who plays another therapist] is on the show but I don’t see them ignoring it either.”
Jack Davenport plays Broadway director Derek Wills who trades catty remarks with Christian Borle’s Tom Levitt on NBC’s upcoming Smash, but is Derek 100% a**hole? “[Derek’s] lambast and lack of tact is in the service of something else…a musical in development is an unformed thing and a musical number is inherently abstract. Until it’s up on its feet it’s just words and music…then you’ve got 50 people in the room and somebody has to take charge and you can’t pussy foot around. One of the things that the writers do [is] when I’ve done or said something unspeakable an episode later – or sometimes in the same show – they have scenes where I don’t apologize particularly but I explain my behavior and if you’re often hearing that you go “Oh, okay. I get it. Somebody has to run this show.”
Since most of the cast will be seen singing and dancing, will Davenport get the chance to partake? He laughed and said, “You’re never going to see me sing! I can assure you! Maybe some jazz hands occasionally.”
While Days Of Our Lives star Chandler Massey wasn’t present at the NBC party, his on-screen stepfather, Galen Gering, was and he couldn’t be more happy with Will’s coming out story and Massey’s work with it. The ever-sexy and charming Gering said, “I think it’s great that the show is dealing obviously with an issue that people struggle with, coming out of the closet, dealing with your sexuality…[the story] not only entertains people but it also can help someone out who is struggling and going down that same road. So, it is entertainment and I think Chandler is doing a wonderful job.”
Gering also is hopeful the E! reality show Dirty Soap will get a second season and says the network should be making an announcement any day.
Regular fans of Days will not be surprised when Alison Sweeney predicted Will’s mother, Sami, will make it all about her and take the news poorly. “When they first approached the storyline and they told me about it I thought that I don’t mind if [Sami is] wrong…she’s flawed [and] that’s why I have to say to myself ’I want my kid to have the easiest life possible. You fight hard to provide your child with every advantage and it’s no question that it’s a tough road to be gay and people do judge you for it and you wouldn’t want your kid to have that and be judged that way. You want your kid to have everything…so I don’t mind playing Sami’s struggles. Sami is a narcissist, dare I say. When she finds out she’ll think it’s her fault.” Sweeney agreed that it’s helped that the story is not solely about Will’s struggle coming out but the fact that he caught Sami sleeping with her ex-husband EJ (James Scott). “I like that that’s what drove them apart…if it hadn’t been for that maybe he would’ve told her right away. We’ll never know. Maybe it would’ve been an easier road for him if she hadn’t done that or he hadn’t seen that…what if one moment in time were different?”
The Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour continues through January 15th and AfterElton will be there to get all the scoop for you!