3:34 am I’m awakened from a deep sleep with the worst toothache of my life. Somewhere, Dawn Ostroff is smiling.
3:54 After popping
seven two Advil, I fall back asleep.
5:09 Ooouuuuuuch! What the $#@%?!?!?
7:10 Brandy from 1-800-DENTIST puts me in touch with a prescreened dentist in my area. An appointment is made for noon.
9:15 WB’s communications director, Keith Marder, kicks off his traditional press-tour stand-up routine with a jab at Tom Cruise: "I always knew Tom would end up with someone from Dawson’s Creek. I just thought it would be James Van Der Beek." Oh, no he di’int. Oh, yes he did. Oh, no he di’int. Oh, yes he did. Oh, no he… Ooouuuuuuch! What the $#@%?!?!? Lord, please don’t make me endure my first-ever root canal smack in the middle of press tour.
9:18 Marder’s next target: alleged "sweetheart" Shannen Doherty. "It’s gotten to the point," he cracks, "that Shannen’s no longer good enough to even keep a job on UPN." [Laughter]
9:20 "I heard that Martha Stewart’s version of The Apprentice is coming along rather well. She’s already selected her first challenge: Whoever removes their ankle bracelet first gets to leave the house."
9:24 "After watching I Want to Be a Hilton, this hotel wants to be a Marriott." (Laughter)
9:26 "Frankie Muniz is so old, Fox should change the name of the show to Malcolm in Middle Age."
9:25:30 "Dewey is so old, even Michael Jackson stopped watching." (Laughter)
9:27 Marder wraps up his routine — overall, I give 'im a solid B — and introduces network president David Janollari.
9:28 Scoop! Janollari reveals that this fall, One Tree Hill is introducing two new characters, an African-American mother and daughter. (The daughter will be played by Mekia Cox, who starred in Nickelodeon’s Keenan & Kel.)
9:30 Efforts to dull my toothache by repeatedly jamming a fork into my leg fail. I pop
six two more Advil.
9:28 Scoop! Janollari announces that Sex and the City stud Jason Lewis is joining Charmed this season as a "new romantic interest for love interest for Alyssa Milano." He replaces Mark McGrath, whose demanding Extra responsibilities (tee-hee) precluded his addition to the cast.
9:37 Don Johnson, Jay Baruchel and the rest of this legal dramedy’s cast are brought out on stage.
9:38 A techie proceeds to attach mics to the panelists as 200 or so reporters sit and watch.
9:39 The miking-up process continues, as does the awkward silence. I’m not sure why WB isn’t following CBS’ lead by bringing out the panelists and getting them miked during the show’s five-minute clip presentation. This is just plain humiliating for everyone involved.
9:42 Why did Johnson decide to return to series television? "I was actually thinking about retiring, and then my wife reminded me we have five children, so that’s out of the question."
9:49 A fire alarm interrupts the session, prompting executive producer Jonathan Shapiro to crack, "Those bastards at UPN." You don’t know the half of it, buddy. Speaking of which, less than two hours until my dentist appointment and, with any luck, lots of Vicodin.
9:55 Baruchel admits that he was obsessed with the Miami Vice soundtrack when he was a kid. "I loved Miami Vice," he says. "You’d have to be a fool not to."
9:56 Ooouuuuuuch! What the $#@%?!?!? This is bad if
six two Advil can’t even make the pain go away.
9:57 Costar Jamie Lynn Kirchner confirms that a pre-American Idol Constantine Maroulis played her love interest in the touring production of Rent. Was she surprised that he fared so well on the show? "No, and we should leave it at that," she says, somewhat suspiciously. "Constantine is a whole other issue." Hmm…
10:02 Baruchel is giggling to himself, even though no one said anything funny.
10:05 Maybe he’s just sneezing.
10:05:30 Nope, he’s laughing — at nothing. Even stranger: No one on the panel seems the least bit concerned about this.
10:08 Maybe he’s having an asthma attack.
10:08:30 Nope, he’s laughing — once again at nothing.
10:09 A loud scream erupts from behind a huge curtain in the back of the room. This session is cursed!
10:10 A reporter wonders whether there’s anything to the fact that both Johnson and his ex, Melanie Griffith, both have new shows on WB this fall. (She’s the ditzy mom to Sara Gilbert and Molly Stanton on Twins.) "Melanie is working?" he cracks. "That was just a joke." And a funny one at…. Ooouuuuuuch! What the $#@%?!?!?
10:22 More awkward waiting as the cast and producers get miked up.
10:23 Melanie Griffith has an "Antonio" tattoo on her shoulder.
10:25 And now the "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" award for today’s most embarrassing question goes to the reporter who just asked Sara Gilbert, "Do you have a sister in real life?" To which Gilbert replied, "I do have a sister: Melissa." You know, Half-Pint from Little House on the Prairie. Congratulations to today’s winner!
10:30 Now it’s Griffith’s turn: How does she feel about being on the same network as ex Don Johnson? "I’m really happy for him," she says. "I’m even happier for our daughter, because her trust fund is going to really be healthy."
10:32 The first clue that the ditzy-blonde thing may not be much of a stretch for Griffith comes when she proclaims, "There are a lot of blonde people in America."
10:45 The second clue that the ditzy-blonde thing may not be much of a stretch for Griffith: When the onetime Working Girl is asked whether her experience playing Roxie Hart in Chicago on Broadway helped prepare her for performing in front of a live audience on Twins, she replies, "That’s what’s great about doing this show," she replies. "It’s in front of a live audience."
10:46 The third clue that the ditzy-blonde thing may not be much of a stretch for Griffith: Asked whether she’d do another musical, she says, "I don’t know if I’d do another singing one, but I wouldn’t mind dancing some more."
10:51 And the fourth and final clue that the ditzy-blonde thing may not be much of a stretch for Griffith [drumroll, please….]comes when she’s asked whether hubby Antonio will be guest-starring on Twins at some point. After pausing for a moment, she turns to executive producer Max Mutchnick and whispers, "What am I supposed to say?" Mutchnick whispers back, "Yes, but it’s a secret." With that, Griffith turns back to the crowd and answers, "Yes, but it’s a secret." You can’t make this stuff up. Ooouuuuuuch! What the $#@%?!?!?.
11:17 As I’m about to reenter the ballroom for the exec session, I see the lights dim, and I hear an announcer say, "The WB presents… Felicity… " What?!?! I race into the room and…
11:17:30 … realize it’s just a preview of the latest TV movie about those scary American Girl dolls. They know better than to do that to me!
11:20 Prior to bringing out the execs, WB’s top PR guy, Brad Turell, announces that "we’re gonna do things just a little bit differently today." Oh, no. This sounds bad.
11:20:30 "So please help me welcome the new head of research for the WB… " And with that, Beauty and the Geek nerd Richard Rubin runs on stage and straight to the dais. Yep, this is gonna be bad.
11:21 "I know all the networks come out here and talk about demographics, but that’s all horses---t," he starts in. "I’m gonna use my own applied mathematics to prove that the WB is the best network on TV."
11:21:15 [Crickets] Please, someone stop him before he goes any further!
11:22 "My quantitative analysis starts on Sunday: The Best of Larry the Cable Guy is greater than or equal to the entire cast of Desperate Housewives — the WB wins Sunday."
11:22:15 [Crickets] Ooouuuuuuch! What the $#@%?!?!? No, not my tooth — this bad SNL skit!
11:22:30 "Then take 7th Heaven and divide it by two, which is the numeral representation of Twins, and you get three and a half, which is one greater than Two and a Half Men — the WB wins Monday."
11:24 Just as reporters start tying bags around their heads, Rubin concludes with a bad joke that involves Law & Order, CSI and more [crickets].
11:26 With that catastrophe behind him, Turell finally kicks off the exec session by introducing… the star of the net’s midseason dramedy, Pepper Dennis, Rebecca Romijn?!?!?! Hell to the no, WB! I’ve got a dentist appointment in 30 minutes!
11:36 After spending 10 minutes telling us everything the press notes already did about her new show, Romijn gets the hook, and the Q&A with David Janollari and WB chairman Garth Ancier finally begins.
11:40 Janollari concedes that he was "terrifically disappointed" that Gilmore Girls and Lauren Graham were denied Emmy nods. "We all walked around very gloomy on that Thursday morning," he says, "as did Amy [Sherman-Palladino, the show’s creator] and Lauren." And me. Don’t forget about me.
11:50 I’ve got 10 minutes before my dentist appointment so I better grab that mic and ask my requisite Spike movie question.
11:50:30 "We would love to do a Joss Whedon-produced Spike movie with James Marsters [reprising his role from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel]," Janollari replies. "Up until very recently, Joss has been [readying the big-screen] Wonder Woman, so his availability has not been there. I believe he may become more available this year. We would gladly do a Spike movie if the two of them want to do it."
11:51 OK, I’ve got nine minutes to get to the dentist. I can make it, especially since Brandy from 1-800-DENTIST found me a prescreened dentist right around the corner here in Beverly Hills. With any luck, I’ll get my Vicodin and be back for the afternoon sessions.
1:30 pm After nearly two hours, three different dentists and enough poking and prodding to make Paris Hilton blush, Dr. Fred Monempour says the six words no TV reporter should ever have to hear in the middle of summer press tour: "You need an emergency root canal."
1:31 I ask the doc for a few minutes alone to digest the news.
1:35 After pulling myself together, I phone the bigwigs at TVGuide.com and prepare them for the worst: I may not be well enough to proceed with my Press Tour Diaries.
1:37 Next I notify my loved ones and warn them that I may be out of it for the next couple of days "so don’t be alarmed if you don’t hear from me. Or if you do, but I don’t seem to know you."
1:45 Dr. Monempour — who I just learned is the dude who performs all those dental miracles on ABC’s Extreme Makeover — comes back in the room to prep me for surgery. I ask him how many days I can expect to be laid up following the procedure and he replies, "Days? You’ll be good as new in an hour."
1:45:30 "Come again?" I say. "You did say I’d be getting a root canal, right — also known as the procedure from hell?" Dr. Monempour explains to me that, provided it’s performed by an endodontics specialist like himself, root canals can be quick and pain-free.
1:46 I ask the doc for a few minutes alone to be embarrassed.
2:00 After pumping me full of Novocain, the doc begins the procedure.
2:15 I see the doc pull a tiny red thing out of my mouth. "That right there," he says, "is the nerve giving you all the trouble."
2:30 The procedure ends, and gosh darn if he wasn’t right — that was nothing! Someone’s getting a shout-out in my Press Tour Diary, provided I get 50 percent off and unlimited refills of Vicodin.
2:45 Well, I didn’t get the discount, but I did get some Vicodin. And best of all, I can still make the 7th Heaven session!
3:15 Back at the Beverly Hilton, I find a reporter and ask for a quick rundown of everything I missed. Apparently, former Friends producer Marta Kauffman gave what amounted to the single most boring monologue in press-tour history at the start of the Related session. And Smallville’s Tom Welling, after announcing that James Marsters would be doing six episodes as Brainiac, won critics over with the single most engaging monologue in press-tour history. But unlike Kauffman, who rambled on for what reportedly felt like hours, Welling was run off stage after just 10 minutes.
3:35 The Novocain is beginning to wear off, and I’m not feeling any pain! Thank you, Dr. Monempour!
3:37 Prior to the start of the session, Brad Turell introduces a 10th-anniversary clip package hailing 7th Heaven.
3:37:15 What’s this? It looks like they’re wheeling a giant cake onto the stage. Oh, this can’t be good.
3:40 The clip presentation ends, the lights come up, and yep, they’ve wheeled a giant cake on stage. This is gonna be a disaster.
3:42 Turell introduces the cast and series creator Brenda Hampton, and invites them to… oh, please, tell me he’s not… pose for pictures in front of the cake while we all sit and watch. I can’t believe my eyes: WB is conducting a 7th Heaven photo shoot during a press-tour session.
3:44 The photo shoot ends, and now we can finally get to… miking up the talent. For the love of god!
3:45 Hoping to ward off the crickets during the miking-up process, Turell informs the crowd that the show’s set is "down on Olympic Blvd., not far from here."
3:45:30 "And the first episode of the season will be the 200th… "
3:45:45 [Crickets] Time for some Vicodin.
3:50 The session begins, and young Mackenzie Rosman says she has a vague memory of her first years on 7th Heaven. "I remember Jessica [Biel] had really bad gas." That comment elicits laughter from the cast, not to mention a jovial fist-pump from costar George Stults — all but confirming buzz that Biel is no longer welcome in Heaven.
3:56 Mmmm… Vicodin.
4:14 Mmmm… Vicodin.
4:26 Wow, that was the best What I Like About You session ever.
Coming up tomorrow: NBC Day 2
To read Day 1 (CBS) of Michael Ausiello's press tour diary, click here.
To read Day 2 (CBS) of Michael Ausiello's press tour diary, click here.
To read Day 3 (UPN) of Michael Ausiello's press tour diary, click here.