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TOUR TALK

Sharing in the spoils of ratings success

July 25, 2006|Maria Elena Fernandez

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

Day 15 of the summer press tour brings us Fox, the broadcast network that finished the season in first place among those coveted young viewers and stands to win the summer as well.

It also brings us an oh-so-hip lounge outside the dreaded ballroom where all the interviews take place: The lounge area is very white and very Mondrian Hotel-ish, a divine little corner where top ratings equal eggs Benedict for breakfast, an espresso/latte bar, and a Fox-produced morning newspaper that updates us (fictionally) on our favorite prison breakers.

But there's more: a snack bag on our seats offering salty and sweet goodies, comfy white padding for our chairs, and a flashy blue stage. Lunch was inspired by chef Gordon Ramsay of Fox's "Hell's Kitchen" fame: a smoked salmon tartare appetizer followed by a rosemary encrusted breast of chicken entree and finished off with a creme brulee accented with apple and a dollop of praline ice cream.

With a few more touring days ahead of us, and several continental breakfasts behind us, we look toward the future, one that promises a "Prison Break" pool party this evening, and Bloody Marys for breakfast on Tuesday.

And for the first time ever at press tour: our very own DJ.

Fox has hired a lovely dreadlocked woman who goes by "The Angel" to score the music for its new drama "Standoff." And "The Angel," who has scored other TV shows and films, is here to play music for us in between media sessions. Her down-tempo mood is smooth and soothing.

Sort of like Ryan Seacrest on "American Idol" -- the show that has paid for all of this.

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

The skinny on his skivvies scene

The pilot episode of NBC's new comedy "30 Rock," created by Tina Fey ("Saturday Night Live"), who also stars in it, contains a scene in which costar Tracy Morgan runs down a street in his briefs.

During a press tour panel for the show Saturday, Morgan said that playing his character -- the unpredictable movie star Tracy Jordan -- "is like Alice in Wonderland." The scene, which is reminiscent of a true-life Martin Lawrence moment, was also "fun." But he warned that viewers should not assume the scene is about Lawrence. "My Uncle Rick ... he did it first!" Morgan joked. "Martin didn't corner the market on meltdowns. The only thing is my [Uncle] Rick had no drawers at all."

The comedy set backstage at a variety show also stars Alec Baldwin, who did not attend the news conference because he was at his high school reunion. Fey said she'll dedicate herself to her new show this year and will not be part of "Saturday Night Live."

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

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