Follow the scoop from our TCA Summer Press Tour
July 27, 2017
This week is all about the TCA Summer Press Tour in Hollywood, CA, and it’s our turn to showcase what’s ahead for some of our most anticipated new and returning shows.
Follow along as we blog LIVE during our presentation to the Television Critics Association (TCA), featuring talent and producers from TBS’s The Last O.G. (Tracy Morgan), Drop the Mic (James Corden) and Search Party (Alia Shawkat) and truTV’s At Home with Amy Sedaris andThe Chris Gethard Show. The leading women from TNT's Good Behavior, Claws, Animal Kingdom and Will and TBS's People of Earth and Search Party will also hit the stage for an informative discussion on women in comedy and drama. And Kevin Reilly, president of TBS & TNT and chief creative officer for Turner Entertainment, will answer a Q&A session on the brand evolutions of TBS & TNT.
Read up on all the official programming announcements from today's presentation here.
The #TurnerTCA Summer Press Tour begins today at 9 a.m. PT.
8:51 a.m. PT - You donut want to miss this event
The Turner TCA press breakfast at the Beverly Hilton is in full swing with everyone fueling up on Turner-branded donuts and cereal before the presentation. The press is moving to take their seats in the International Ballroom to officially kick off a morning of panels.
9:06 a.m. PT – Feeling At Home with Amy Sedaris
Chris Linn, President, truTV, first introduces The Problem with Apu, a new comedy that debuts this fall, before opening the panel on Amy Sedaris’ new project, At Home with Amy Sedaris.
Linn comments, “Amy Sedaris is a comedic genius who creates a rich and surreal world [in this show] where she can showcase her many talents.”
Amy joins Chris on stage with Jodi Lennon (writer / producer) and Cindy Caponera (EP/Writer).
“I play maybe 4-5 different characters on the show -- a hobo, an international wine lady, a southern woman named Patty Hog, and a character ‘NutMe,’” says Amy. “I have ridiculous guest stars, from Paul Giamatti to Stephen Colbert to Rachel Dratch.”
Amy discussed the themes of each episode, which include poverty, grieving, love-making, gift-giving, holidays and cooking for one.
“I don’t know how much you’re going to learn on the show… but I’ll tell you I did my best,” says Sedaris.
“And you’re laughing all the way through,” adds Linn. “So it doesn’t really matter if you’re learning or not.”
9:38 a.m. PT – From public access to first-class omelete station
Chris Gethard, Shannon O’Neill, Murf Meyer and “Vacation Jason” of The Chris Gethard Show share their excitement about being a part of the Turner family, having come from public access television, particularly about the omelet station at the breakfast (“Who knew eggs could do that?!”) and let alone the first-class flight to LA.
A reporter asks, “On your public access show, you had die hard fans. How do they feel about the move to truTV?”
Chris responds, “it’s funny, because coming from public access, and I also have a lot of roots in the punk rock scene, there is always the sell-out access. Some people say that I’m selling out. At the end of the day, I own up to it. But I think the fans really appreciate that we put our money where our mouth is, and truTV’s been so cool about the idea that they want us to take big swings, and they’re not looking to change it.”
He continues, “my show is not about putting the celebrities on a pedestal. It’s about bringing them into our world and seeing if they can hang. They’re just human beings and want to hang out. A lot of them have gotten on board in a big way.”
(Follow #ChrisGethardShow on Twitter for more information about the show.)
9:50 a.m. PT – The Leading Women of TBS & TNT
Sarah Aubrey, EVP Original Programming TNT, moderates the “Leading Women of Comedy and Drama” panel, featuring Alia Shawkat (Search Party), Niecy Nash (Claws), Michelle Dockery (Good Behavior), Nasim Pedrad (People of Earth), Olivia DeJonge (Will), Janine Sherman Barrios (executive producer, Claws) and Megan Martin (co-executive producer, Animal Kingdom).
“Male show creators outnumber female about 3:1,” says Aubrey. “Women have 1/3 of the speaking roles and an even smaller percentage of jobs writing or directing.” She is acutely focused on featuring new voices to stand out in the crowded content space and is dedicated to doing so.
A reporter asks the panelists, “as a person who’s been watching TV and not seeing a lot of women in cool leading roles, is it as impactful for you as it is for the audience to see women and people of color in these strong, interesting roles?”
Nash: “It is as impactful. I started 20 years ago in TV, and today, it doesn’t look like it looked then. We have all these amazing beautiful talented black women leading the charge on this project and for me, it was absolutely delicious. I’ve come in many times and been the only woman of color. It’s definitely a gift.”
“There’s a whole world of women whose stories aren’t being told. We still have a long way to go.”
Shawkat: “When I started out, I was afraid to say this. I was more careful. Now, we’re more confident. There has been a real hunger over the last 3-4 years for representation. You’re more confident when you’re around people like you. You don’t feel like an oddball.”
Barrois: “TNT/TBS is creating stories that aren’t just about white men. 10 years ago, these stories wouldn’t have been told. All of the women in these shows are not apologetic. You now have these faceted women who aren’t afraid.”
Dejonge: “It’s an honor to be a part of this movement, because as a 19 year old, I can tell you how important it is to see this movement taking place. TNT and these shows are tapping into the demand for complex stories with female leaders.”
Pedrad: “As a woman and middle eastern person…I was always auditioning for roles like “wife of a terrorist.” And that’s why I started to write, to empower myself to create opportunities and tell the stories I wanted to tell. Diversity is important both with race and gender, because it makes for better content.”
Dockery: “My character is badass and strong and all these other words that people use to describe leading women. But she’s also vulnerable and flawed. She makes mistakes.”
On the opportunities behind the camera matching those on screen, Barrois says, “it’s better behind the scenes. There are more people of color, more women. But just because you get a few doesn’t mean you have to stop there. I think we need a ton of them so we can stop having the conversation.”
“I felt like I could put a different spin and provide a different spirit on the game shows I grew up watching,” says Snoop. “I’m going to do my thing. One thing about me is I’m unscripted.”
10:36 a.m. PT -- Kevin Reilly on TBS and TNT
On the ongoing brand evolutions of TBS and TNT, Reilly says, “we will be radically different in two years than we are today. We’re just beginning.”
So far, both networks have been able to “attract top talent to work on monetizing multi-platform viewing and making top notch apps for fans.”
10:45 a.m. PT -- Drop the Mic on TBS
Drop the Mic executive producers James Corden, Ben Winston and Jensen Karp and show hosts Method Man and Hailey Baldwin take the stage.
Corden shares with the audience that when Drop the Mic first launched on the Late, Late Show w/ Anne Hathaway, it was watched by 6 million people on YouTube overnight. He says, “David Schwimmer was supposed to be on the show the next day, and he called in to say he wanted to do the same bit. Rebel Wilson then asked to do the same thing. And that’s how the show started.”
Method Man describes the show as a “fish out of water thing” in which the guests do not have a musical background. They are actors who need to learn.
When asked about the “mean spirited-ness” of the show, Corden responds: “I don’t think it is mean spirited. The beauty of this is the atmosphere in the room and the attitude of the hosts is one of joy and fun. And someone has an opportunity to respond. It has never felt mean on the Late, Late Show or on Drop the Mic. When you’re in the room, you understand there’s a joyfulness to it which I never feel is mean. It’s fun jabs. It’s not like a roast.”
Baldwin adds, “guests are in the mind set that there will be some digs, and it’s never surprising to them. We all laugh and have fun and everyone is really sweet. The energy has been really good the whole time.”
On the writer’s involvement on the lyrics, Corden says, “it’s about the person, but in almost every case we sit down and work with each person. David Schwimmer wrote three verses on an airplane. Wayne Brady freestyled his whole thing.”
11:08 a.m. PT -- The search is on, again
The Search Party panel dishes on their characters in season two of the critically acclaimed show.
Hanger: “Something bad happens to my character, and it gives purpose to her life.”
Reynolds: “For me, season one was like watching Drew (my character) fall off a cliff and hit all the boulders on the way down. And season two is similar.”
Shawkat: “We’re challenging the friendships a lot more in this season. Before, it was like ‘we’re all in this together,’ and now it’s challenging who’s actually there for the characters when something terrible happens.”
Alia Shawkat says about her character, Dory: “there’s a little Dory in all of us. The thing I find most interesting about her is this quality of politeness and kindness being a replacement for character. She’s always like ‘I’m helping my friends ‘cause I’m a good person,’ but it’s like, hold on, stop. All these choices are coming from the wrong place.”
When asked if audiences will be able to binge watch season two, like season one, series creator Michael Showalter answers, “my understanding is that season two is semi-bingeable. We write this show as being very serialized, but when we’re breaking the story for the show, we’re trying to break it out over 10 episodes and create hooks to keep you watching.
On partnering with TBS for Search Party, Showalter says, “we made the pilot for this in an indie film sort of way. We were looking for a home for it, and TBS was the one that we felt took a big chance on us. We are eternally grateful for that.”
11:31 a.m. PT -- The Last O.G.
Last, but not least, Tracy Morgan, Tiffany Haddish, Ryan Gaul, Cedric the Entertainer, Allen Maldonado and Taylor Mosby of The Last O.G. talk about the scripted comedy coming to TBS.
Morgan explains that after 15 years in prison, his character Tray gets off the bus to find “his whole neighborhood was gentrified.” Being in prison was like living in the planet of the apes. “He needs his family to help him transition.” Morgan said that he has family in neighborhoods like Tray’s that are changing over time. And to that, he says, “good…I want them to be in safer environments.”
Beyond the comedy, the show “isn’t a black show – it’s about humanity. It’s about redemption and humanity. It’s a black cast, but I wanted to transcend race and talk about humanity, the human aspect.”
Tiffany Haddish is next up and talks about her character, Shay: “What excited me the most about her is she had to transition. She has to find herself and her goals. She becomes a sophisticated philanthropist who loves her husband, children, and that was my dream as a person. And I feel like I’m living it right now.”
On surrounding himself with “scene-stealing” co-stars rather than doing a solo show, Morgan says, “I am a better man since the accident. It isn’t just about me. I am fortunate to have these folks who bring a vision. We just lucked out.”
When asked about second chances and what it means to him to be here to do a show Morgan answers: “Thank God. Self-explanatory.”