The day after NBC is usually a favourite of mine at the Television Critics Association Press Tour, because it traditionally involves a bunch of off-kilter shows from the network’s umbrella cablers like SyFy and E! Since shows from these networks often don’t make their way to Canada until months later, it’s usually one of my most chill tour days.
Monday was no exception to the rule, as Chasing the Saturdays, E! News, the Golf Channel and Treasure Detectives presented (well, The Saturdays performed, but same thing). In the end, only the day’s opening panel (for Graceland) and the closing one (for Defiance) were of immediate interest.
Graceland, a USA Network show that isn’t about Elvis but rather undercover FBI agents living in a top secret beach house, perked me up immediately because of its good-looking cast and soapy storylines. It didn’t hurt that the network decked out the entire ballroom with calming, soft blue orbs and provided healthy breakfast options either.
The real money maker though, at least according to SyFy and Canada’s Showcase, was Defiance. The Toronto-shot series is one of the first convergent media series to ever air. It mixes a TV show (starring Grant Bowler, Mia Kirshner and Julie Benz) about a sci-fi world where different aliens and humans co-exist, with a multiplayer game. Both platforms have the ability to change the other’s storylines, which makes it a big deal. If it takes off, of course. But judging by the fact that SyFy transformed an entire ballroom into one of the Toronto sets and doled out sushi and fresh pasta at its 4:30 p.m. cocktails party, and I’d say that there is plenty of money going into the project. I played a version of the game that was set up, but, as I am with most games like that, I was completely lost. I did, however, shoot up a giant spider thing, which was sort of satisfying.
Since the cocktails only lasted until 6:30 p.m., Monday also happened to be the night publicists and Canadians journalists decided to get together for their bi-annual Canadian cocktail night at Press Tour. The Canadian Contingent, as we like to call ourselves, all attend for the most part. We’re known for getting kicked out of bars for singing too loudly, and once made a child’s birthday even brighter by serenading her on her balcony. Occasionally, we’ll even have a writer, star or producer stop by to join the festivities. We like to think we’re so cool that even some of our American counterparts join us too, but really that’s because there’s nothing else going on at night and it beats staying in your room alone.
Monday night’s soiree was pretty low-key, but it was also a lot of fun — as spending a few hours with professional colleagues over some cocktails and appetizers usually is. Rather than rehash some of the conversations that would entertain no one other than the people involved, I’ve decided to instead finish off my TCA Night 5 blog with the first-ever Canadian Contingent Awards. Think of them as the Dundees, only nicer.
Drum roll please….
The Sinatra Award
Missing member Bill Brioux (from CP and TV Feeds My Family), who couldn’t come this time because of a family emergency, coined this one long ago, but it’s still relevant today. The Sinatra Award goes out to Eric Kohanik, for obvious reasons to anyone who knows him. Not only is Eric the official TCA hotel coordinator, he’s also smoother than a single malt whiskey and knows how to work a room. He’s a great guy to have around in any circumstance and is one of those true gentleman you read about, like Gatsby. Plus, for any tour newbies, he’s always quick to make life-saving introductions before waltzing off in search of his next cocktail or golfing buddy.
The Hugzzz Award
This one goes out to Mr. Bill Harris of the Toronto Sun. Long considered one of the nicest in the business, Bill is always looking out for everyone’s well-being, is quick to cheer anyone up with a Simpsons reference, and is the type of person who will apologize if you step on his foot. Even though he still has no voice (refer to TCA Blog Night 1 for that story). It’s no secret that he’s my official TCA bestie. Oops … maybe that was “just between us girls….”
The Too Cool for School Award
Proudly presented to Mr. Alex Strachan of PostMedia News for having never showing up to a Canadian cocktail night in all the time that I’ve been coming to tour, despite many, many pleas on my part. He’s definitely missed.
The Newbie Award
Monday marked new-to-the-beat Toronto Star reporter Tony Wong’s first Canadian cocktail night. I didn’t have a chance to pick his brain, but at least I didn’t scare him off either. He’s a pretty stand-up guy and I hope he returns again next tour.
The Non-Crooner Award
It turns out you can’t rent a guitar in Pasadena, so Winnipeg Free Press journo Brad Oswald was unable to perform for us in all his glory, as he did at the last tour. However, I’m sure his vocal chords were a lot better for it this morning. In hindsight, we should have asked him to perform some of his award-winning stand-up comedy instead.
The Running Away in Fear Award
This one is a shout out to Mr. John Doyle of The Globe and Mail. Now, I know I said I wouldn’t write about things only the people involved would get, but he knows what this award is for, and that’s all that matters. Now if only we could get him to follow some of us on Twitter….
The West Coast Wobble Award
This is the only way to describe TV Week editor Brent Furdyk and the awesome good times he brings. Dude is usually down to have a drink with you, has zillions of interesting travel and family stories, and has a pretty cool taste in TV. I mean, if I do say so myself.
The Honorary Canadian Award
This one goes out to four distinguished American members – Washington’s Roger Catlin (also a TVG Canada writer), Jeanne Jakle from San Antonio, Jacqueline Cutler from New York and Will Harris (not to be confused with Bill Harris) from Virginia. All four of them joined us in our merriment, and we were all the better for it.
Up Next: TCA’s most Fox-y partay
Follow Amber on Twitter as she covers the 2013 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena.
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