Maybe it was the ultra-bright yellow that covered everything from the giant show banners to the "yellow carpet" that made the critics really, really want to cover a TV movie called "Growing Pains: A Reunion." Or maybe it was because the ABC summer press tour, held Sunday and today at the tony Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Pasadena, was like one of those motivational seminars, luxury-style.
After a gourmet lunch served by the pool, the reporters hunkered down for Q&A sessions with network officials and stars of the upcoming fall lineup. An elaborate stage in the hotel ballroom was flanked by massive ABC logos and two huge video screens, to better enable network officials to introduce the shows and stars of its upcoming fall TV lineup.
Geena Davis There was Geena Davis, promoting her new sitcom "The Geena Davis Show" with co-star Peter Horton ("thirtysomething"). Gabriel Byrne spoke about his Irish-American multigenerational comedy "Madigan Men." Both Jon Cryer ("Pretty in Pink") and David Krumholtz ("Slums of Beverly Hills) were on hand to discuss the paranoid comedy "The Trouble With Normal."
Then there's the shows that are getting a new look. "Spin City" executive producer Gary David Goldberg and actress Heather Locklear (sporting a Bon Jovi T-shirt) introduced Charlie Sheen, who is stepping into Michael J. Fox's shoes. Apparently they will play off some of Sheen's real-life, well-publicized problems with the vices he loves. Should be interesting.
Norm MacDonald seemed to be just as impressed as everyone else that Faith Ford was joining the cast of "Norm." He kept saying, "Look! Faith Ford from 'Murphy Brown.'"
"Monday Night Football" showed off its latest addition to the team, obscure-reference specialist Dennis Miller, who quipped, "With the paltry state of politics, we should get great viewership."
Then there was Garry Shandling, who'll host the 52nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. When a reporter asked Shandling how he'll manage to fill three hours' worth of air time, he reeled off: "It's not the length, it's how we use the Emmys."
Winding up the two-day event was the celeb-heavy "All-Star Party," complete with fajitas, fondue, open bar and a huge list of ABC who's-whos including Sheen, Bill Maher, "Once and Again" star Billy Campbell and several high-profile soap stars. MacDonald talked with kids about the Harry Potter books, and Davis briefly walked around barefoot in a short black dress before she was whisked away by her publicist, perhaps to practice for an upcoming archery meet she mentioned that day.
Next up this week: NBC's summer press tour. Can they possibly compete with ABC's gourmet menu?
Is the supermarket checkout line going too fast for you? Well, don’t worry. Beginning this week and (for every Friday hereafter), we’ll comb the tabs for the sort of news you're either too ashamed and/or too cheap to buy (and read) for yourself.
Why will we do this? Quite simply, we have no shame.
Without further ado, here’s a rundown of this week's Top 10 tabloid tidbits (from the just-released editions of the National Enquirer, the Star and the Globe):
1. Whitney Houston Pregnant? From deep within the Florida jail complex where Bobby Brown is currently being held on a probation violation, a fellow inmate intimated to the Star what the rapper reputedly previously intimated to him -- that Houston is pregnant with Brown's second child. Moreover, the inmate told the Star that Brown is weary about the baby’s health “because of all the coke [Houston] was doing.” (Our calls to Houston’s people have not yet been returned.)
2. Regis Reign Preordained More reasons why everybody should have their own personal psychic: The Globe says that Regis Philbin knew all along that “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” was going to be a freakin' huge hit. How did he know? Because his psychic, one Sydney Omarr, told him three years ago.
3. The Hoover Conspiracy The Globe forwards the theory (a first of its kind) that ex-FBI top brass and closeted drag queen J. Edgar Hoover did not die in 1972 from a heart attack but was killed by poisoned toilet paper. A forensic expert tells the tab that the particular method of assassination was pretty darn ingenious since the evidence would have been immediately “flushed away.”
4. Kathie Lee Losing It? Per the Globe, friends of Kathie Lee Gifford are collectively concerned over the talk show hostess’ alleged tenuous sanity. And, boy, do they have reasons to worry, according to the tab: (1) Gifford has told friends that she’s on a potato chips only diet and (2), she has been really into wearing clothing that directs people’s attentions to her chest.
5. Summer Vacations Really Expensive! The National Enquirer reports that the average American will spend more than $2,000 on summer vacation this year -- that’s 8 percent of the average American's annual income (representing about 22 days of work). Also, the Enquirer says out of those average vacationing Americans, 73.6 percent of them will pay for their trips with credit cards.
6. Sharon Stone Is Happy The Globe, the National Enquirer and the Star all agree that Sharon Stone seems really stoked about adopting her baby boy. Also, all three tabs employed “Basic Instinct” puns to describe Stone and husband Phil Bronstein’s excitement, i.e. the two have a “Basic Instinct for parenthood”; Stone pursued her “Basic Instinct to become a mom”; “basic maternal instinct”; and Stone “displayed her basic maternal instinct.”
7. Heather Thomas Has a Midwife Witch Well, not exactly. But according to The National Enquirer, the 42-year-old “The Fall Guy” first-time mother attributes the success of her recent labor to her spiritual adviser, who was said to have summoned the power of “white magic” during the whole messy thing.
8. Billy Joel Exhibits Typical Male Behaviors The Globe has it that aging rocker Billy Joel reportedly has taken to hiring fashion consultants to “remake” girlfriend Trish Bergin to his taste and liking.
9. Helen Reddy: Hello, Sailor! Per the Globe, the 50-something "I Am Woman" chanteuse promotes the idea of keeping a boyfriend handy in every part of the globe. Says the ready Reddy: "It really makes much more sense."
10. Just the Date-Rape Drug, Ma'am? Aging sex kitten Mamie Van Doren ("High School Confidential!") tells the National Enquirer that actor/producer Jack Webb had his way with her after he tied her up and apparently drugged her during a "date" in 1953. "I wanted to pick up the phone and call someone ...," Van Doren says. "[But] they'd never accept that the star of 'Dragnet' was a rapist."