LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The Television Critics Association began 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.
Here's some additional notes from the panels that weren't covered in their respective press releases:
ENTOURAGE - HBO executives indicated the series will return for its second season this summer, where it will be paired with the Lisa Kudrow vehicle "The Comeback."
THE WIRE - The pay channel's chairman, Chris Albrecht, confirmed no decision has been made about the future of the critically-acclaimed, albeit ratings-challenged drama. Season three of the series, which wrapped last month, averaged just 1.6 million vieweres, nearly half of its season two numbers. HBO executives however were quick to note the dip was likely caused by its shift to the fall from the summer, its loss of an original series lead-in, and its newly dominant Sunday, 9:00/8:00c competition "Desperate Housewives" on ABC. Furthermore, with newcomers "Entourage" and "Unscripted" (the former of which has been renewed for a second season) doing even worse, there's still a solid shot for the series to return.
Sci Fi Channel
EUREKA - Sci Fi has greenlit production on the drama pilot, which is being billed as a mix of "Northern Exposure" and "Twin Peaks." Here's how the network described the project back in April when it was originally announced: "A newly hired sheriff reports for duty in the small, bucolic Pacific North-west town of Eureka and soon discovers that things are not what they seem. For years, the government has been relocating the world's geniuses (and their families) to Eureka, creating the ultimate think tank community. At times strange, amazing, and bizarre, the community's quirky inhabitants unleash scientific and technological creations still unknown by the outside world. Produced by USACE, Andy Cosby and Jamie Paglia will write."
SATURDAY NIGHT ORIGINALS - The cable channel hopes to broadcast two originals each month in 2005 with "Larva" (January 22, starring Vincent Ventresca and Rachel Hunter) and "Chupacabra: Dark Seas" (January 29, starring John Rhys-Davies and Dylan Neal) this month, "Slipstream" (February 12, starring Sean Astin and Ivana Milicevic) and "Alien Siege" (February 26, starring Brad Johnson and Carl Weathers) next month and "Mansquito" (March 12, featuring Corin Nemec) and "Alien Apocalypse" (March 26, with Bruce Campbell) in March.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters