Another Packed Day for Cable at TCA

THE PROGRAMMING INSIDER

Friday, July 31, 2009

 

LIVE FROM THE SUMMER TELEVISION CRITICS ASSOCIATION PRESS TOUR IN PASADENA, CA

 

On the Cable Menu:

Lifetime, Comcast Entertainment Group, BET, Discovery Networks, HBO, Food Network

 

Press Tour Tidbits:

Notes of Interest

 
HBO Press Tour Highlights:
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On the Cable Menu:

Lifetime, Comcast Entertainment Group, BET, Discovery Networks, HBO, Food Network

 

Unlike the network portion of the Press Tour, which begins on Monday, August 3, cable is a rapid potpourri of different networks presenting the best of their upcoming new programming. Wednesday featured a breakfast with Lifetime (with the upcoming contestants from Project Runway), followed by panels on programs from Style Network, G4, E!, BET, Discovery Networks and HBO. The day capped off with a dinner sponsored by Food Network. More on that dinner in Monday’s PI. 

 

If you read The Programming Insider, you won’t be surprised to hear that Monique, who was here to speak about her upcoming late night talk show on BET, was a personal highlight for me. The woman exudes positive energy, and the audience will absolutely relate to her. She’s funny and warm…and rare combination these days. But I was also impressed with R&B singer Monica, who is doing a reality series for BET; reality couple Bill Rancic and Juliana DePandi Rancic, who have a new non-scripted show coming on Style Network; the canine panelists on Animal Planet’s SuperFetch, and the comments in particular from Monique and Monica on the passing of Michael Jackson. 

 

“I wish him the best in his rest,” said Monique. “And leave him alone. Leave his family alone. And let that brother rest in peace. Whatever the issues were, they’re gone now because he’s gone. Stop trying to find a story to write about, damaging it can be damaging, and it gets ugly, and he can’t defend himself. So as of today make the promise to let that story die.”

 

Added Monica: “My direct connection to Michael would be the pain of knowing how much is talked about that is not true. People assume as artists you create this thick skin that doesn’t allow you to feel anything in particular when things are said or written about you. And people have a tendency to lie.”

 

Least impressive, but likely to still attract an audience, is the family called Lamas, who are featured in an upcoming docudrama on E! and seemed so messed up that the critic sitting in front of me commented: “Dr. Phil would chew these people up and spit them out.” While that may be true, chances are there are viewers that will watch this messed-up mishmash.  

 

Later in the day, Discovery Communications presented six shows: Superfetch (Animal Planet), Masters of Reception (TLC), Police Women of Broward County (TLC), Head Games (Science Channel), On the Case With Paula Zahn (Investigation Discovery) and Out of Egypt (Discovery Channel). Masters of Reception, which focuses on a family owned New Jersey catering business, is produced by Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos (who appeared via satellite from New York); multi-tasker Whoopi Goldberg is one of the executive producers of Head Games, TLC’s first-ever trivia driven series; and Paula Zahn gives On the Case a built-in credibility. Superfetch, meanwhile, follows pet trainer Zak George as he works with pet parents; Out of Egypt makes connections with Egypt and other cultures past and present; and Police Women of Broward Country is exactly what the title would suggest. 

 

Each of the six aforementioned six Discovery Channel series caters, of course, to the target demo of the individual cable network. But given the ongoing thirst for crime solvers, 10-part docudrama Police Women of Broward County looks like the standout. As for Kelly Ripa playing down her own wedding and acting as fascinated as you and I would be at many of these over-the-top weddings…not!