Arts, Entertainment, Living

PRESS TOUR JOURNAL: And so it begins

Tuesday, 27 July 2010 12:00 AM Written by

The Television Critics Association 2010 summer press tour begins today with set visits (“Desperate Housewives,” “Parenthood,” “Undercovers,” etc.) so I’ll be without wifi for the day, but coverage begins in full tomorrow.

I’ve watched all the fall pilots and my overall feeling is it’s not as ambitious a year as last fall. There’s no “Modern Family” or “Glee” that jumps out at me. There are a few comedies I liked and I’m eager to see more of (namely ABC’s “Better With You” and for midseason “Happy Endings” and “Mr. Sunshine”) and there were a couple of dramas I liked a lot (Fox’s “Lone Star,” NBC’s “The Event”) and one well-made procedural (ABC’s “The Whole Truth”).

 But there’s also a lot of junk, and at the top of that list there’s “Outlaw,” a ridiculous drama about the most conservative member of the Supreme Court (Jimmy Smits) who quits to defend a death row inmate. On what planet is this series set? CBS’s “Hawaii Five-0” is pretty generic and solidifies my impression that Alex O’Loughlin will not be the next Simon Baker. And ABC’s “No Ordinary Family” – “The Incredibles” done as live-action – was a complete bore.

On cable, HBO may have another winner in “Boardwalk Empire” about the mob in Atlantic City during prohibition in the 1920s. Many “Sopranos” comparisons will be made but this series doesn’t have the psychological component of ‘The Sopranos,” so it could just as easily be compared to fellow mob period piece “Goodfellas.” I’ve watched two “Boardwalk” episodes so far – it looks fantastic and star Steve Buscemi is great – and I’m eager to see more.

 Check back tomorrow and continuing through Aug. 7 for for updated press tour posts throughout each day of the tour. And if you have questions for TV producers or actors, send them now to TV Q&A and I'll do my best to get answers.

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Well, the Pittsburgh Blues Festival has been reduced to memories, and the Wheeling fest is coming up fast this weeked. It looks quite fine and I'll be doing a preview in the next day or so. Well, maybe not that fast. It's Aug. 13, 14,& 15, as Bluzer points out below. And before that is the Flood City Music Festival in Johnstown on Aug. 6-8. I've got to get rid of this Aztec thing and get a real calendar.

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Recently returned from the beach, I sifted through the video game headlines to play some catch-up.  There wasn’t any, shall I say, game changing news, but some significant tidbits nonetheless like Microsoft’s Kinect getting an official price tag and two fighting franchises coming together to blow fans minds.

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The spinning door at the WTAE weather center has rotated again. And yet again, weeknight meteorologist Stephen Cropper is getting bumped to weekend evenings. This is the second time that's happened.

You'll recall a few years back, Cropper was working weeknights and then got moved to weekends in favor of Don Schwenneker. After some time, Cropper returned to weeknights and has been there in some capacity for several years, at one point sharing weather duties with Demetrius Ivory.

Now Cropper is being bounced back to weekends and the station has reportedly hired a new weeknight meteorologist, Mike Harvey out of Norfolk. WTAE news director Alex Bongiorno has not responded to requests for comment and confirmation but Cropper issued a statement.

"I've been blessed to be a part of a great team for 15 years and I look forward to helping our team continue it's position as the most trusted weather leader in the region," Cropper wrote. "This area has some of the most challenging weather in the nation to forecast and I am grateful that viewers have welcomed me into their homes. I believe God opens and closes doors for a reason and I trust He will continue to guide and protect me and my family."

UPDATE 7-28-10: I received an e-mail late Tuesday from Bongiorno in response to my request for comment from last week. She confirmed the new hire but declined to say what his schedule will be. I suppose it's possible that Erin Kienzle or Demetius Ivory could end up working weeknights with the new guy taking a different spot, although that doesn't really square with the "chief meteorologist:" title she gives him: "Mike Harvey is our new Chief Meteorologist. He comes to us from WTKR-TV in Norfolk VA where he was Chief. Mike has an impressive background including a stint as Chief in Phoenix at KPHO-TV. Mike is a great addition to our current team – he will join us in September. With Erin soon to be out for an extended period on maternity leave – details on schedules are still being worked out."

Over at KDKA-TV, reporter Alison Morris will leave the station in early September to take a job closer to home (Long Island) at the Fox station in Hartford, Conn., where former KDKA news director Coleen Marren is now news director. It's a small TV world.

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Coverage from the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills begins this week so in advance of that, after the jump we'll have an early look at a few upcoming prime-time premieres. ...

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I took in the evening part of the Pittsburgh Blues Festival yesterday, catching Sue Foley with Peter Karp, and then Eric Burdon. Here are some thoughts, memories and photos.

Peter Karp & Sue Foley

Peter Karp and Sue Foley. (Jim White photo)
Peter Karp and Sue Foley. (Jim White photo)

I've already made it pretty clear in previous posts that I enjoy the music of Peter Karp and Sue Foley as separate performers, and with their latest CD and tour of the same name -- "He Said She Said" -- they're even even sharper and a lot more fun (check our interview done in the same spirit).

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Eric Burdon cut short by Blues Festival rain

Saturday, 24 July 2010 08:15 PM Written by

Eric Burdon and the Animals, the Saturday night headliner at the Pittsburgh Blues Festival, had their set cut short by a fierce but brief rainstorm last night at Hartwood Acres, limiting the band to about a half-hour of greatest hits (for a while I thought I was at the Three Rivers Arts Festival).

We did get there early enough to hear a thoroughly enjoyable 90-minute set by Peter Karp and Sue Foley that pretty much made the evening worthwhile.

More on all this later, with a few photos.

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TV Q&A with Rob Owen
Submit your question to Rob Owen

This week’s TV Q&A (after the "Read more" jump below) responds to questions about “Pillars of the Earth,” “The Tonight Show” and a missing newsreader. As always, thanks for reading, and keep the questions coming.

— Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

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