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Television Critics Association Press Tour 2011: News Highlights

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TCA PRESS TOUR
AP

The Television Critics Association has embarked on its press tour, letting networks unveil new shows for the upcoming season, reveal developments on old favorites, and more. We've gathered some of the highlights of the tour so far.

HBO

"Entourage" fans sad that this is the last season of the show featuring Vinny Chase and his merry band of Hollywood miscreants will be pleased to know that the gang's not done yet -- a movie is on the way.

"I said if I had to finance it myself, I would do it," the Mark Wahlberg told the press. "I was looking at [a promo clip from HBO] and it looks like a movie to me… It's the f**king greatest thing I've ever seen. I certainly hope this has a chance to become a feature film."

[via Us Weekly]

"True Blood" devotees should be happy, too: Creator Alan Ball promised that he has no immediate plans to leave the show, which is currently on its fourth season. The vampire drama is exploring witches, werepanthers and more supernatural hijinks, as well as breaking ground on a long-anticipated romance between two of the primary characters.
“There will be an end for me at some point but I just closed a deal to do another season,” Ball said. “I don’t have any desire to leave because I’m having more fun than I ever had in my life.”

[via The Hollywood Reporter]

And, though hit epic fantasy series "Game of Thrones," based on the novels by George R. R. Martin has just finished its first season, HBO's committed to producing the series for as long as Martin keeps writing.

"We told George we’d go as long as he kept writing," HBO president Richard Plepler said.

Still, the makers of the show acknowledged that the show may not always be able to continue sticking to its book-per-season model, especially for later books in the series, though they've promised to stay as true to Martin's vision as much as they possibly can.

[Via Entertainment Weekly]

AMC
Despite fans' disappointment in the season finale of "The Killing" (which, despite expectations, did not reveal who killed Rosie Larsen), AMC execs promise that the issue will be addressed by season 2.

"For everybody who was frustrated, we hear you. We would have taken a different approach to managing the expectations about what was going to happen," said AMC's Joel Stillerman. "It was never intentionally meant to mislead anybody. Our goal was to create a brilliant piece of character-based story telling. We think we got there, but we definitely didn't manage expectations the way they should have been managed."

[via E! Online]

AMC will also launch AMC Digital Studios, an online destination for web series developed by AMC, with deals to distribute the shows on both AMC's site and through Hulu.

The first show scheduled for the new division will be "The Trivial Pursuits of Arthur Banks," with Adam Goldberg and Jeffrey Tambor, which will debute on August 22. In the show, Goldberg's Banks will stage a play with connections to his own love life, with Tambor featured as his therapist.

[Via The Kansas City Star]

MTV
The network, which just celebrated its 30th anniversary, will return to its roots with a re-boot of classic animated show, "Beavis and Butthead" this October.

Folks at MTV even hinted that "Daria," the animated series starring monotone teen Daria Morgendorffer alongside her friends and family, might make a return.

[Via Hitfix]

MTV will also launch several new shows, including "Good Vibes," an animated beach comedy from the creator of "Pineapple Express," with the voices of Adam Brody, Tony Hale, Debi Mazar, Danny McBride and Alan Tudyk.

"I Just Want My Pants Back," a live-action show following a young slacker fresh out of college and making his way through Brooklyn. The show is based on the book of the same title, and comes from producer/director Doug Liman, of "The Bourne Identity."

[Via MTV/Zap2It]

NBC
"Entourage" won't be the only TV show to hit the big screen. High school football drama "Friday Night Lights" could be set for a film that extends the life of the characters on the show past this year's series finale. Creator Peter Berg noted that the movie could come out as soon as 2013.

"Maybe a lot of people didn't watch at 8 o'clock on Friday night or whenever, but people found this show. Not just in America, but all over the world. I can't tell you how many people come up and talk to me about it," Berg said of the show's relatively poor ratings. "They know the characters. Something about it really touched people, and the Nielsen numbers never caught that."

[Via New York Daily News]

"Will & Grace" star Sean Hayes, who played the peppy sidekick Jack, will be returning in a big way. Hayes will apparently star in a sitcom for the network in the 2012-2013 season, though he was sparse on the details.

“[There’s] nothing I can discuss at the moment, but we had a conversation and it looks like it's heading in that direction and I’m gonna be doing something on the network,” he said.

Hayes, who is producing the fairy tale drama series "Grimm," also mentioned that he could make a guest appearance on the show.

[via Third Age]

Adam Levine, better known for his work with Maroon 5 and his role on "The Voice" than as a comedian, will help NBC develop a sitcom set at a karaoke bar that will provide both laughs and songs.

It's not clear whether Levine would actually be on the show, or if he's just lending his expertise. "Bad Teacher" director Jake Kasdan is attached as executive producer and director.

[Via Rolling Stone]

Dick Wolf, better known as the creator of iconic show "Law and Order," has a new show in store. But it's not "Law And Order: Toronto," or anything else of the "Law and Order" franchise: NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt would say only that the show is a "big firefighter concept."

Wolf saw three of his "Law and Order" shows get the ax in the past few years, though reruns of the shows can still be found playing at what seems like any time of the day or night. His new show will feature screenwriters Michael Brandt and Derek Haas of "3:10 to Yuma."

[Via Washington Post]

"The Playboy Club," a 1960s drama with the underdressed ladies of its title, has sparked controversy over whether the show will tread carefully over the issues of sexism that pervaded that decade, or if it will simply idealize a time that demeaned and sexualized women.

But the makers of the show argue instead that "The Playboy Club" will actually portray strong female characters in control of their destiny.

“This show is all about empowering these women to be whatever they want to be,” executive producer Chad Hodge said.

Cast member Naturi Naughton added, “It’s empowering, because these girls were smart, they’re going to school, they’re buying homes, property – things that show what women couldn’t do at the time, using resources and relying on themselves.”

[Via The Hollywood Reporter]

Meanwhile, "Community" star Joel McHale took the opportunity to speak at TCA to skewer some of the people he works with.

On "The Playboy Club": "Mad Men with boobs"

On Ryan Seacrest: "The most powerful hobbit in all of Middle Earth"

On "Community": "[The] Chevy Chase babysitting service"

On TCA: "just like Comic-Con but with more nerds"

On "The X-Factor": " It features Simon's creepy nipples desperately trying to pierce his two-sizes-too-small black T-shirts."

[Via Deadline/Zap2it]

Oxygen
"The Glee Project," a reality show designed to pick one young songstruck hopeful to guest on the hit show, will likely return for a second season.

The show functions more as a casting project than a simple reality show, according to the creators. And, even those who don't win the guest spot could make it onto the show.

“Anything is possible in the world of 'Glee,'” Robert Ulrich said. “I have a script waiting for me at the office for the first episode of 'Glee',” but he says he doesn’t yet know how even the winner will be woven into the Season 3 storyline.

Creator Ryan Murphy recently told Deadline that while a spin-off featuring Chris Colfer, Lea Michele and Cory Monteith had been discussed, none of the three had been fired, and that the spin-off idea has been shelved.

[Via L.A. Times]

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