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?