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TOUR TALK

No views from Walters or O'Donnell

July 20, 2006|Greg Braxton;Maria Elena Fernandez;Matea Gold

A look at some of the highlights as the TV industry unveils its upcoming shows to the entertainment press at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena:

For two days, ABC trotted out its stars, delivered tons of spin on the network's accomplishments and provided the press with almost limitless access to numerous executives and producers.

However, one of the network's most talked-about shows -- the one that has dominated water-cooler conversations for the past several weeks as it prepares for a major relaunch in its 10th year -- was nowhere to be found.

In other words, there was no new view of the new "View."

Neither that daytime talk show's newest co-host, Rosie O'Donnell, nor its guiding light, Barbara Walters, appeared before the press tour in Pasadena. Their presence would have generated plenty of media attraction given the controversy surrounding the firing of original co-host Star Jones Reynolds and Walters' admission that she lied to cover up Jones Reynolds' lame-duck status when O'Donnell was hired to replace Meredith Vieira. The reason for the absence? ABC said it forgot.

"This is the first time it's crossed my mind," one key network executive said Wednesday when asked about it.

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Greg Braxton

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Inspired to be inspirational

The name of the show is "Ugly Betty," but star America Ferrera said that when she's in costume she feels anything but, even with her mouth full of braces.

"When I'm in character and I'm wearing Betty's costume, I never feel more confident, more beautiful," Ferrera told reporters Tuesday. "I wish that I one day as America could feel the way I feel when I'm Betty. Because when I'm Betty, there's a light that shines from the inside."

The one-hour ABC comedy, which will air on Fridays at 8 p.m., is based on the wildly successful Colombian telenovela "Yo Soy Betty la Fea." Ferrera plays an ungainly young woman who tries to make it at a high-end fashion magazine.

"To me, Betty is the most beautiful opportunity that's ever come across my path, to represent a whole generation of young women who don't recognize themselves in anything they're watching, whether it be magazines or TV or movies," Ferrera said. "They're invisible, and to me it's an honor to take on this role. And I love, love, love being her."

Matea Gold

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Yes, but is he compelling?

Some actors don't need introductions, and in this case this actor's words needed no introduction. Except to inform you, dear reader, that he said it during a press conference for his new ABC drama, "Day Break." And that he really meant it: Stop asking producers, actors, writers, executives, etc., how they are going to make all of the new serialized dramas in the fall compelling: "You'll have to forgive us if we come off as a little sarcastic or maybe defensive. But we knew that we would be dealing with a lot of these questions. And I just need to remind you that this is something very special to us. We think it's very different, it's unique. But at the same time, it's still a television show. And everybody here, we all know what we're doing. So when you ask us a question like, 'Well, how do we get somebody to view in who hasn't been watching regularly, you know, how do you get anybody to view in?' You know, I watched the first two seasons of '24,' and then I turn on the TV and it's the fourth season. I watch one episode and I'm in. Why am I hooked? I didn't need the beginning of the fourth season to get hooked. The acting, the story line, whatever it was, it got me hooked. And I think that this show will possess that.... It's a TV show, and we know what we're doing. Do you know what I'm saying? The dog isn't going to have the shoe in his mouth every single time. That would be bad TV."

The press erupted in laughter.

"We're not dumb," he continued. "I'm Taye Diggs. I wouldn't sign on for that."

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

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