<EM>Commander-In-Chief</EM> Commander-In-Chief

Invasion
10:07 am Prior to the start of the session, ABC publicity V.P. Sharon Williams announces some big Lost news: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje has joined the cast as a new mystery man who pops up on the island. I've got two questions: "Who?" and "Can I just call him Bob?"

10:07:30 Oh, he's the dude with the knit skullcap on Oz. Sure, I remember him. Um, can I still call him Bob?

10:08 ABC plays a trailer for Invasion, and I'm reminded just how much I enjoyed the pilot for this alien-infestation thriller. Best of this season's glut of paranormal series. In fact, I can't wait for the second episode.

10:09 The huge ensemble is introduced. The full impact of Third Watch alum Eddie Cibrian's dimples nearly knocks me off my chair.

10:09:30 It only took 34 seconds for the first Lost reference of the day. A new record!

10:11 Child-abuse alert! Little Ariel Gade reveals that she couldn't breathe while filming the pilot because the wind machines were blowing directly in her face. Cracks series creator (and former Hardy Boy) Shaun Cassidy: "We suffocated all the children on the show." Hey, any chance we can get Lynette's twins from Desperate Housewives to do a crossover?

10:42 Less than 40 minutes in, and we're already bestowing today's "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" award — another record! The trophy goes to the reporter who asked Cassidy, "Is there a conscious effort to keep the characters not doing stuff where the audience is going, 'Oh, my god, don't do that!' or do you let them do that? And did that question make any sense?" Congratulations to today's winner!!!

10:47 My new best friend is teenage cast member Evan Peters. Silent throughout the entire session, he responds to the next-to-last question, about the role of children in this series, with a crisp, to-the-point "I just want to get a gun and shoot aliens."

Total number of Lost references: 11

Night Stalker
11:17 "My first job," announces exec producer Frank Spotnitz, "was on a show called The X-Files." Never heard of it.

11:20 We've got our first ringing cell phone of the session — and we're just three minutes in. We're breaking records left and right today!

11:22 Night Stalker is not The X-Files, insists Spotnitz. For starters, the leads, played by Stuart Townsend and Gabrielle Union, are "reporters, not FBI agents." Details, shmetails…

11:28 More than 20 minutes of the pilot will be reshot. "We all felt we could do the climax better than we did," Spotnitz admits. "We felt we gave too much of the [mutant killer dogs] away. You will now see less of those creatures, and the mystery will be preserved." I guess it's too late now for me to say Spoiler Alert!!!

11:36 Charlize Theron's significant other speaks his first words. I detect an accent.

11:36:10 I think it's British…

11:36:20 … or Australian…

11:36:35 Wait — the accent just disappeared. Is he American?

11:36:50 A fellow reporter leans over to me and whispers, "He's Irish." I knew that.

11:48 Another session ends with a zinger. Discussing the scarcity of minorities in prime time, Union remarks, "If there can be dog people on television, there can be black people on television." But what about black dog people? Discuss.

Total number of X-Files references: 15

11:52 I corner Spotnitz as he's walking out of the ballroom and ask if a start date is out there for that long-gestating second X-Files feature. "I had hoped the movie would be done by now," he sighs. "There's been a story, but a deal has to be done before Chris Carter and I can sit down and write a script. I would love to do it. I wish we could get all of the business things in order and make it happen. I know David and Gillian want to do it. I know Chris wants to do it. I don't know where the holdup is." Sounds like 20th Century Fox. I'll get the ball rolling; just give me a few days.

Emily's Reasons Why Not
3:10 pm Oh, how embar-rassing. A reporter kicks off the session with a question for "Emily." Dude, her name is Heather Graham. Emily is just the character she plays in this mid-season Sex and the City-esque comedy.

3:11 Oh, the exec producer's name is Emily. Phew.

3:12 Graham's reason for not wanting to talk about her real-life dating mishaps: There are too many.

3:23 Referring to Graham's lust interest in the pilot, a reporter wonders aloud, "Why are the hot guys always in marketing?" Good question. Too bad no one on the panel can give us an answer.

3:27 Nadia Dajani, who plays Graham's best friend in real life and on the show, mentions in passing that the two of them got into a fight while shooting the pilot. Oh, I hope someone follows up on that.

3:28 Someone just followed up on that. Unfortunately, neither Graham nor Dajani will tell us what the argument was over. My guess: Dajani borrowed Graham's hairbrush and didn't return it.

3:29 To quote Niles Crane, "The crickets are raging!"

3:35 The exterminator (aka publicist Sharon Williams) arrives just in the nick of time and kills all the crickets.

Total duration of awkward silence: 37 seconds

Commander-In-Chief
4:09 More breaking news! Sharon Williams announces that the second season of Dancing with the Stars will include (drumroll, please… ) a half-hour results show a la American Idol! Behold the power of the press!

4:11 As a fellow reporter observes, there are several typos in ABC's bio for Geena Davis, who plays the country's first female president in the promising Chief. Not only is her failed ABC sitcom, Geena, curiously absent, but so is her big-screen bomb, Cutthroat Island. Both honest mistakes, I'm sure.

4:15 Shocker! Series creator Rod Lurie is a Democrat!

4:18 Missing persons report: Costar Donald Sutherland is in Vancouver celebrating his 70th-birthday month with his family (sans Kiefer, who is shooting 24; but is a party really a party without Kiefer?).

4:28 "For Thelma to be president is just delightful," says an agreeable Davis. "Or Stuart [Little]'s mother, whichever way you want to look at it." Stuart's cute and all, but I choose Thelma.

4:31 Turns out Freddie Prinze Jr. has got some competition for that NOW post (ABC Part 1). Lurie just wrapped an eloquent monologue in which he bemoaned the limited opportunities for women in politics.

4:33 Shocker! Geena Davis is a Democrat, too!

Number of Hillary Clinton references: 2

Coming up tomorrow: Fox Part 1 (Topic A: Are audiences still responding to Quintuplets?)

Check out the rest of Michael Ausiello's press tour diary entries:  Day 1 (CBS) - Day 2 (CBS) - Day 3 (UPN) - Day 4 (WB) -Day 5 (NBC) - Day 6 (NBC) - Day 7 (ABC) - Day 8 (ABC) - Day 9 (Fox)

 

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