There was TV news from all directions this weekend as the first days of the Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour got underway in Pasadena, California. There have already been sound bites aplenty (profanity included), and more networks will reveal new details throughout this week about shows for next season and beyond, but here's what we've learned so far, from Steve Carrell's return to Donald Trump's real reality-show future.
Soderbergh's Liberace Biopic Isn't Going to Be Liz & Dick
Press at TCA were treated to a look at HBO's Behind the Candelabra, the biopic of Liberace starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, the latter of which plays the pianist's young lover. James Hibberd of Entertainment Weekly reported that during the panel, Douglas revealed that Soderbergh had him in mind for the role when they were shooting Traffic 13 years ago. Douglas, according to Vulture's Denise Martin, "disappears" into his part. Though while Martin explained that the trailer "played like scenes from a rhinestone-studded marriage," Soderbergh was "serious-minded in his approach"—unlike the brains behind that Lindsay Lohan-starring train wreck. Other exciting pieces of info from the trailer: Rob Lowe appears with apparently amazingly arched eyebrows, and Damon wears "tiny white swim trunks" and straddles Douglas.
Is The World Ready To See da Vinci as Batman?
Leonardo da Vinci is getting the sexy costume drama treatment on Starz in a show created by David S. Goyer of The Dark Knight trilogy. Goyer said at TCA, per IGN, that the da Vinci was "kind of super hero-y anyway." Plus he pointed out connections between the artist and the caped crusader, including the fact that Batman creator Bob Kane based the superhero's cape on da Vinci's flying machine. The trailer, below, looks like it could be another The Tudors or The Borgias, what with all those costumes and sex, but we're interested to see just how super hero-y da Vinci can be.
The Office Will Say Goodbye Without Steve Carell
In addition to revealing new information about the future of shows like Revolution, Smash—which will apparently feature fewer scarves—and The Tonight Show with and without Jay Leno, NBC offered some details about the upcoming farewell of The Office: This spring's final episodes will likely air on without an appearance from its original America star, NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt explained.
NBC Isn't Great at Responding to Controversies
During NBC's Sunday TCA lineup journalists prodded the network about topics like race and violence on their shows to mixed results. Greg Braxton at the Los Angeles Times reported that producers of NBC's new show Deception clammed up when asked about the racial dynamics on the show. The drama has an African American female in the lead role of Joanna, whose mother was "the head of the household" for a rich white family. That said, the show never calls Joanna's mother a maid and never explores how Joanna may have felt about the family's treatment of her mother. When producers were asked about race on the show, Braxton reported that "Inquiries were followed by several seconds of silence." The creator then explained that race is "not really something we talk about too much in the writer's room."
Greenblatt faced questions about violence on television in the wake of the Newtown and Aurora shootings. NBC is working on Hannibal, about Hannibal Lecter and Greenblatt was head of programming when Showtime developed serial killer show Dexter. "I don't think you can make the leap of shows about serial killers causing the violence that we have in our country," Greenblatt told reporters, Meg James of the Los Angeles Times reported. He added: "There are many other factors, from mental illness to guns." And how does this fit into the larger debate? Vulture editor Joe Adalian tweeted:
To anyone who still believes the myth of the "liberal media," search #tca13. Lots of "libs" grilling NBC over media violence. NRA thrilled.— Joe Adalian (@TVMoJoe) January 6, 2013
As for the network's continued relationship with Donald Trump, Greenblatt said: “We talked him out of running for president, wasn't that good enough?”