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[01/11/05 - 12:00 AM]
TCA 2005 Winter Press Tour: Preview (Updated)
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The Television Critics Association begins its winter press tour this week in which the various broadcast and cable networks talk about their upcoming plans to the nation's top critics and entertainment reporters. It's during these sessions the networks roll out most of their midseason plans as well as look back at the highs and lows of the new season.

We've already presented the initial schedule (click here to read it). Here's the latest updates to the panels. As always, be sure to keep an eye on the front page for all the latest news from the event.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 12

ABC Family

· Las Vegas Garden of Love � Premieres March 14, 2005
This series takes viewers behind-the-scenes of a family-owned Las Vegas wedding chapel. Through the eyes of Johnny, the fifteen-year-old videographer of the chapel and cousin of the owner (Cheryl), viewers are exposed to the inside drama between the extended family members (who all live under one roof), couples who come in at all times of the night for their nuptials, and feuds with rival chapels. Panel to include: Johnny, 15-year-old videographer and cousin to the owner
Cheryl, owner of the chapel
Craig, Cheryl's husband
Barb and Chuck, Cheryl's mother and father
Rob, Barb's brother and Johnny and Joey's father
Joey, Johnny's little brother
Stephen Hopkins (The Life and Death of Peter Sellers), David Schermerhorn (Angryman) and Brent Travers (DysEnchanted), executive producers

Showtime

· Weeds � Debuts Summer 2005
This new comedy series is a single-camera comedy about a single mother who makes ends meet by selling marijuana in suburban Los Angeles. Produced by Lions Gate Television in association with Tilted Productions, Weeds has received a 10-episode commitment. The series exposes the dirty little secrets that lie behind the pristine lawns and shiny closed doors of homes in the fictional town of Agrestic, California. Mary Louise Parker stars as a suburban mom who resorts to selling weed to support her family after her husband unexpectedly dies. Elizabeth Perkins stars as the uptight head of the PTA and Kevin Nealon plays a city councilman. Panel to include:
Mary Louise Parker (Nancy Botwin)
Elizabeth Perkins (Celia Hodes)
Kevin Nealon (Doug Wilson)
Jenji Kohan executive producer and writer

THURSDAY, JANUARY 13

NBC Universal Cable

SCI FI Channel

· Battlestar Galactica
SCI FI's hit original miniseries returns to television as the Channel's newest original series. After engaging in a losing battle against the robot Cylons, humanity�s last remnants fled in search of a new home, a mythical planet called Earth. With waning supplies, weapons and hope, Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos) and President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) realize that their problems are far greater than the immediate threat of Cylons. On their shoulders rests the very survival of humankind. The TCA panel will focus on the January 21 special episode, "Bastille Day," which features guest star Richard Hatch (TV's original "Apollo") as a terrorist who takes Apollo (Jamie Bamber) and his crew hostage, and demands the resignation of the President. Panel to include:
Edward James Olmos (Commander Adama)
Mary McDonnell (President Roslin)
Tricia Helfer (Number Six)
Jamie Bamber (Lee "Apollo" Adama)
Richard Hatch (Tom Zarek)
Ronald D. Moore, executive producer/writer
David Eick, executive producer

· Ghost Hunters
Plumbers by day � ghost hunters by night! This one-hour weekly series, launched in October 2004, follows Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson as they head up TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society), a close-knit association of volunteer paranormal researchers. These intrepid souls aren�t the usual collection of be-spectacled Ph.D.s�they�re ordinary, everyday people with an interest in getting to the bottom of otherworldly disturbances. Season two will bring even more excitement, oddities and goose bumps with brand new investigations and undoubtedly, more strange paranormal behavior for viewers and our Ghost Hunters to question. Panel to include:
Jason Hawes
Grant Wilson

USA Network

· Kojak
He's bald. He's back. And this time around, he's badder than ever. With Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction, Mission Impossible) starring in the title role, Kojak, a new USA original series, is based on the hit police drama which originally starred Telly Savalas and aired on CBS, 1973-78. Savalas played Lieutenant Theo Kojak, the bald, street-wise police detective with a fondness for lollypops. In the two-hour premiere, Kojak hunts down a serial killer who continues to puzzle New York City detectives by targeting prostitutes with young children. After visiting a crime scene where he meets a victim's children left alone without their mother � and not even a legal guardian -- he is overcome with anger and compassion, and vows to personally avenge the killings. Also starring Chazz Palminteri (Bullets Over Broadway, The Usual Suspects) as Kojak's former partner and now Captain, and Roselyn Sanchez (Dragnet, Rush Hour 2) as Assistant District Attorney Carmen
Warrick. Panel to include:
Ving Rhames, cast/co-executive producer
Chazz Palminteri, cast
Roselyn Sanchez, cast
Tom Thayer, executive producer

Bravo

· Project Greenlight -- Debuts March 15, 2005
Bravo presents an all-new third season of Project Greenlight, the acclaimed reality hit created and produced by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Chris Moore which gives amateur screenwriters and directors the chance to compete to make an original film together. Dimension Films finances production of the film with a minimum $1 million production budget, and distributes it. Project Greenlight shows the entire filmmaking process, from the selection of the script, through production and editing, to the film's release. For its third season, partners LivePlanet and Miramax are creating a series and a film that will focus on a horror genre script. Horror guru Wes Craven has joined on to produce the winning film titled �Feast� with first time director John Gulager, working from the winning script by screenwriters Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan. Panel to include:
Chris Moore, executive producer
Marcus Dunstan, screenwriter (Feast)
Patrick Melton, screenwriter, (Feast)
John Gulager, director, (Feast)
Balthazar Getty, actor (Feast)

FRIDAY, JANUARY 14

MTV Networks

Comedy Central

· Blue Collar Comedy Tour: Rides Again � Debuts February 13, 2005 Blue Collar Comedy Tour: Rides Again reunites Bill Engvall, Ron White, Larry "The Cable Guy" and Jeff Foxworthy as they return for an encore of their wildly successful concert film, Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie. The four comedians were back at it during the summer of 2004 taking center stage with all-new material at the Buell Theater in Denver, CO.
· The Comedy Central Roast of Jeff Foxworthy � Debuts March 20, 2005 The Comedy Central Roast of Jeff Foxworthy marks the second of the rebranded Roasts produced by Comedy Central and Denis Leary's production company, Apostle. This time around Jeff Foxworthy takes the hot seat as he is singed by his fellow "Blue Collar" cohorts, Engvall, White and Larry "The Cable Guy," who serve as the evening's "Roastmasters" in addition to some good-natured ribbing by the likes of Colin Quinn, Nick DiPaolo, Greg Giraldo and Lisa Lampanelli, among others.
One panel to include:
Jeff Foxworthy (via satellite)
Friday, January 14 (continued)

· Stella -- Debuts June 2005
Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain (from cult hits The State and Wet Hot American Summer) write and star in Stella, a live-action adaptation of their popular stage show. These modern-day Marx brothers embark on various misadventures, from falling in love with Ed Norton's wife to accidentally killing their ex-Nazi landlord. Every episode features a new set of absurdist obstacles for our perpetually suit-clad trio. Ten episodes of "Stella" are scheduled to air beginning this summer. Panel to include:
Michael Ian Black (Michael)
Michael Showalter (Michael), co-creator/executive producer
David Wain (David), co-creator/executive producer

· Con -- Debuts April 2005
Newcomer Skyler Stone and reality expert Rick DeOliveira (Making The Band, Real World, Road Rules) serve as executive producers in this half-hour reality series that finds Stone conning his way through life.Conis about the entire process that Stone carefully goes through in setting up his next "hit." Situations may find him charming his way into Hollywood movie premieres, singing during the seventh inning stretch at a Major League Baseball game, getting out of a parking ticket, scoring a burger for free or scamming a free makeover. Eight episodes of Care scheduled to air beginning in April. Panel to include:
Skyler Stone (Skyler), creator/executive producer
Rick de Oliveira, executive producer

The �N�

· Miracle�s Boys
Miracle�s Boys is the story of three orphans living in Harlem and being raised by the eldest brother. Spike Lee directed the first episode of this series. Panel to include:
Spike Lee
LeVar Burton
Tonya Lewis Lee
Nikki Silver
Orly Wiseman
Sean Nelson

MTV

· Nick Lachey Project (working title)
After attaining huge success with his former band 98 Degrees and becoming a reality show sensation with Newlyweds, Nick may look like he has it all. However, his first love is music and in The Nick Lachey Project (working title), he sets out to take his career to the next level. Panel to include:
Nick Lachey

· Meet the Barkers
Meet the Barkers features Travis Barker of Blink 182, his new wife Shanna Moakler, the former Miss USA, and their family. In this new series, MTV cameras follow Travis and Shanna who are living the rock n� roll/Hollywood fantasy life while simultaneously adjusting to parenthood -- and all that comes with it. Panel to include:
Travis Barker
Shanna Moakler

· Trippin�
MTV and Cameron Diaz are taking a breathtaking worldwide eco-adventure. Joined by an ever-changing celebrity cast, Cameron and her crew explore some of the most exotic, environmentally unique places on the planet and seek to discover ways to help preserve them. Panel to include:
Cameron Diaz (via satellite)

CMT

· Popularity Contest
Ten big city types are dropped into a small Texas town, population 936. There, they compete in character-revealing challenges as they campaign to win over the local citizens and become the �most popular� person in town in just 28 days.
Panelists TBA

· Kenny Chesney: Be As You Are � Debuts January 22, 2005
Country Music�s hottest artist, Kenny Chesney, comes to CMT for a live performance special, giving the audience an advance performance of his highly anticipated album �Be As You Are: Songs From an Old Blue Chair.� The current Country Music Association (CMA) �Entertainer of the Year,� winner of the CMA �Album of the Year� and the American Music Awards �Fan�s Choice Award,� will perform a live one-hour special on January 22. The new album is the superstar�s most personal to date, filled with songs he has written about the time he spends in the Caribbean islands when he isn�t on concert tour. Featured:
Kenny Chesney performance of �Be As You Are�

Spike TV

· Invasion Iowa
Invasion Iowa is a new reality series with Bill Shatner, where an entire town in Iowa is duped into thinking Mr. Shatner is filming a new movie there. Panel to include:
William Shatner
Paul Wernick
Rhett Reese

TV Land/Nick at Night

· Murphy Brown � Debuts on Nick at Night January 2005
Acclaimed Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actress Candice Bergen brings the world of broadcast journalism to Nick at Nite this January when the network launches the witty, hit comedy, Murphy Brown. The show stars Bergen as a reporter for F.Y.I., a successful prime time news magazine show, whose friends and co-workers help her to find balance in her hectic life. Panel to include:
Entire cast of Murphy Brown (except Faith Ford)

· Chasing Farrah � Debuts on TV Land March 23, 2005
Chasing Farrah is an original reality series that follows iconic Hollywood actress and sex symbol, Farrah Fawcett, as she goes about her daily life as one of the most recognized stars in the history of celebrity. Panel to include:
Farrah Fawcett





  [january 2005]  
S
M
T
W
T
F
S
      


· BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (SYFY)
· BLUE COLLAR TV (WB)
· CON, THE (COMEDY CENTRAL)
· GHOST HUNTERS (SYFY)
· INVASION IOWA (SPIKE TV)
· KOJAK (USA)
· LAS VEGAS GARDEN OF LOVE (ABC FAMILY)
· MEET THE BARKERS (MTV)
· NICK LACHEY PROJECT, THE (MTV)
· PROJECT GREENLIGHT (HBO)
· STELLA (COMEDY CENTRAL)
· TRIPPIN' (MTV)
· WEEDS (SHOWTIME)





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