I spent yesterday in Pasadena with the TV Critics and Writers of America at the Langham Hotel (whose kitchen plays host to Top Chef Michael Voltaggio) for NBC Universal's press tour day. You will please note that Mr. Gavin McCloud is the honorary mayor of the fine town of Pasadena, which may in part account for what a lovely time I had. (Captain Steubing may also be the honorary mayor of me heart.)
The morning was apparently a low-key feeding frenzy regarding NBC's late-night strategy. It seems like their goal is the smart move and I'm hoping that it is executed.
I got there just in time to run smack into the gorgeous Rashida Jones, who is either lying or awesome — or both — because it seems she is a big Watch What Happens Live fan. I was psyched to hear that because j'adore me some Rashida. I shimmied to the Grand Ballroom (are they ever REALLY grand?) In time for Oxygen's fun Dance Your Ass Off panel, which was followed by our Bravo session.
I am happy to report that we announced pick-up of Thintervention w/ Jackie Warner, The Rachel Zoe Project, Bethenny's Getting Married?, Flipping Out, Top Chef Masters, My Life on the D-List, The Real Housewives of ATL, NJ, and an airdate for NYC, March 4th. (By the way, if your fave show was not on that list, that doesn't mean it's not coming back.) I want to congratulate Gail Simmons, who'll be the host of our brand new Top Chef: Just Desserts. We also officially announced Watch What Happens Live coming back Thursday night with Jeff Lewis and Tamra Barney (discussing for the first time the recent sad news that Simon filed for divorce). Maybe we already announced that and I wanted to tell you about it again.
Our two panels were for 9 by Design and Work of Art. 9 by Design is a docu-series following an amazing couple in New York City, Bob and Courtney Novogratz, who renovate unusual spaces and turn them into showplaces where they — live and then flip — with their seven kids. Work of Art is the competition show to find the next great artist — produced by the Magical Elves and Sarah Jessica Parker's PrettyMatches Productions. China Chow is hosting that one. Both panels went well.
I stuck around to watch the hilarious Parks and Recreation panel and also one for The Marriage Ref, which is Jerry Seinfeld's new one for NBC. He was hilarious and charming as always and I think that show is going to be great. More to come on that later....
NBC threw a big-ass shindig last night to whoop it up about all the news shows and it was a cabal of unusual combos. Kelly Cutrone was there for her amazing new Bravo show Kell on Earth and Jonathan Antin stopped by to talk up his role judging on the revamped Shear Genius. I had an awesome talk with Joy Bryant, who's another WWHL viewer and someone I'd love to get in the Bravo Clubhouse. Tori and Dean were there as well as a ton of people from The Office, Brian Williams, David Gregory, Amy Poehler, Peter Krause, Chevy Chase, Lauren Graham, and on and on....
Throughout the day I ran into the great Gail Pennington, who is the TV critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She asked me to do a quick videoblog for their Web site and I wound up counting down my top five St. Louis local news personalities of all time. I made a list and everything, and of course thought it was genius. She's a critic and — guess what — I got a bad review! She said it was way too long.
It should be up on their Web site so you can judge for yourself.