[03/16/08 - 12:21 AM]
Live at the Paley Festival: ABC's "Pushing Daisies"
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

7:00 p.m.: Welcome to our coverage of the 25th Annual Paley Festival! This time around they've switched venues from the nice-but-cramped DGA theatre to the nicer-and-less-cramped Cinerama Dome. While you the readers could probably care less, this is a long overdue change. But enough of my rambling, on with the show!

7:05 p.m.: Each session is always preceded by a clip from the Paley archives that's relevant to those attending, in this case it's a scene from "Wonderfalls" in which a pre-"Pushing Daisies" Lee Pace is reminded that a cow creamer can indeed talk.

7:13 p.m.: Hey it's our old friend Pat Mitchell to welcome us to the festivities. She points out the long overdue change in venue. We love you Pat, seriously.

7:18 p.m.: And our moderator is... Kristin Dos Santos, formerly Krisin Veitch, formerly Wanda! Already excitable, she points out how freaked out she is that the real "Ned" and "Chuck" are touching right now. Anywho, she in turn brings out creator/mastermind Bryan Fuller who's brought a clip package from the show for us.

7:37 p.m.: It turns out to be a fun set of clips, beginning with a breakdown of the show's premise and ending with segments devoted to each character. Kristin is back to bring out tonight's panel: Dan Jinks, Bruce Cohen, Ellen Greene, Kristin Chenoweth (the crowd favorite), Chi McBride, Anna Friel, Lee Pace, Peter Ocko and of course, Bryan Fuller. (There in spirit: Jim Dale, Barry Sonnenfeld and Swoosie Kurtz, the latter of which is attending to a health issue involving her mother - we wish her the best!)

7:42 p.m.: Kristin asks Bryan about the show's genesis. It's essentially what he, Barry, Bruce and Dan told me last year so that will save me a few keystrokes.

7:51 p.m.: Kristin asks the actors to go down the line and say how they got involved. Lee and Anna give your patented "I wasn't looking to do TV/it was a special script" answer which in turn prompts Chi to say, "It amazes me the amount of B.S. you hear in Hollywood, when people are on a panel. First of all, Lee with his, 'you know I wasn't really looking to work... and I was sailing off the coast... this script came to me [via] carrier pigeon'... basically I was looking for anything that would pay the bills, okay? Me and my old lady just had a kid and the only thing he knows how to say is, 'What do you have to eat up in here?'" Classic. He goes on, "I try to make my choices based on material, of course except for that one show I did, 'Killer Instinct,' or as I called it, 'Kill It, It Stinks.'" I should point out that all of this is causing Ellen to literally laugh like a donkey, which makes everyone laugh even more, which makes her laugh even more like a donkey. Funny stuff.

7:54 p.m.: More Chi, this time doing his impersonation of Barry and his credo: "You know some people, some people see the glass half empty, some see it half full, I see half a glass of poison." Bryan mentions that they were worried they wouldn't get Chi due to his involvement with "The Nine." Chi's take: "It was the first show in history to be named after its audience." Bryan goes on to say they prodded him to find out who was behind the robbery. "Yeah it was me," he adds, literally knocking Kristin Dos Santos over with a feather. "It was totally Malcolm, yeah."

7:57 p.m.: Ellen on how she got involved: "Well, people thought I was dead actually." She adds that she knew she was in good hands with Bryan after playing Sylar's mother on "Heroes."

8:03 p.m.: Bryan points out that costume designer Robert Blackman (of "Star Trek" fame) literally came out of retirement to work on the show. Also getting a shout out: the actors who play young Ned and young Chuck.

8:05 p.m.: Peter Ocko on his "Daisies" experience: "There was a moment last summer where we were breaking a story about the pigeon who gets the artificial wing... and we pitched it to the network and the studio and they were, they had notes but it was, 'Yeah, okay, sounds good.' And I came [back] into work thinking this a reality show for the writers. There is no show, we're never going to air. This is going to be what happens when we put people on a production who think they're doing a show about a piemaker... it seems unreal that they've understood the show from the beginning."

8:06 p.m.: Kristin asks if they've ever had problems with Ned and Chuck touching by accident. "I always do it," Anna notes. "He's really good [about it]." Chi quips that if they do on screen and the show ends, "my son will have to go to DeVry. Not that there's anything wrong with DeVry. We were set on Dartmouth."

8:08 p.m.: On the group's wish list for guest stars: Chi says Tim Conway and Harvey Korman, prompting Bryan to add Carol Burnett. "What about Lyle Wagner?" Bryan asks. "Lyle Wagner made me gay." Ellen mysteriously notes that they get lots of requests from people who want to play characters' mothers and fathers.

8:10 p.m.: Bryan on if Ned and Chuck could ever have children: "I think her egg would die when the sperm hit it." This horrifies Anna, prompting Bryan to console her with: "But you can have a baby with somebody else." She quips back, "But I want it with Ned!"

8:14 p.m.: Kristin is still freaked out about Chi's character's involvement in "The Nine." "He just, he had too many bills and he was... it's a long story," Chi says. "I'll tell you afterward."

8:19 p.m.: Our first singing bait! Chi and Kristin share this number - Kristin: "I love you Chi! You rock my world! You're very tall! I like to tell him he needs to clip his nosehairs!" Chi: "I love you too! You're short and I can eat crackers off of the top of your head!"

8:23 p.m.: Anna notes filming on season two will begin June 17, the day after she finishes working on "Land of the Lost" with Will Ferrell.

8:24 p.m.: Bryan reveals the writers came back to work last week and the first five stories have been approved by the network and studio. On the lessons learned during the strike: "Looking at the show, and really looking back at the nine episodes and what was working and what was not working and kind of looking at the arc of the first nine, which was sort of a soft, romantic arc... [we want] to do something a little hard, and have a, harder and a little more aggressive in the style of storytelling in the second season so I think we learned a lot of lessons."

8:28 p.m.: First hints about seasons two: Chuck will "definitely find out who her real mother is," Fuller notes. "It's going to be interesting to see how she reacts to that information and how the piemaker tries to control her trajectory and how that will complicate their relationship and there will be some nice surprises. What was great about having that be kind of an unintentional cliffhanger is it really put more weight on it than we anticipated. And if we had kept on doing the series I think that would have been a relatively undramatic in comparison to what we're doing in the second season sort of storyline. Just when the strike was starting to get cooled off and Pete and Scott Nimerfro and I all had lunch and I was like, 'Okay, this is the plan for season two.' And taking that event and really blowing it up and giving people something to come back to so it earned the weight of a cliffhanger."

8:30 p.m.: DVD scoop! Season one will be coming out in June in the U.K. while U.S. audiences will have to wait until September when the new season starts. Plus: Raul Esparza's Alfredo Aldarisio will be returning at some point. "We love the romantic chemistry that he had with Kristin," Bryan says. "So we have every intention of bringing him back and we just need to write the script and make sure he's available. Maybe he'll sing?"

8:32 p.m.: A fan asks if Ned's abilities force him to be a vegetarian. "We have had the scene that answers that question in scripts and then out of scripts and in scripts and out of scripts. And we hope to get it in there and yes he is a vegetarian because it would crawl right back out of him."

8:35 p.m.: Someone wonders what Ned's last name is. "Ned Ned," Pace jokes but no direct answer is given. Said fan follows up with why does this show succeed when so many other quirky shows have failed. "Normally when the network says they're behind you," Chi notes. "Don't lean back. But ABC has been incredibly supportive of this show from day one... I think what happened was we had the right show for the right network. We could have been on another network like [cough] FOX [cough]... I'm sorry I'm allergic to B.S."

8:37 p.m.: Young Ned asks if there will be an episode where Young Ned can run into Young Emerson and the younger versions of the rest of the cast. "I think that's a great idea," Fuller smiles. "Maybe a spin-off?"

8:39 p.m.: The writers plan to explore Emerson's origins and his daughter. "The whole Emerson's daughter story started on the filming of the pilot," Bryan says. "We were at the funeral home and I had a slightly different backstory for the character and Chi came up to me and said, 'So what if the reason he became a P.I. was to find his daughter?' And I was like that's a great idea! So I just changed what I had... I thought it was a nice, warm, kind of unexpected turn."

8:44 p.m.: Lee on his favorite moment so far: "When I watched the [clips tonight], there's a moment where me and Anna hold our hands behind our back and we shot that moment just the last day, the last afternoon we shot the pilot. And I just remember kind of doing it and looking at Anna and kind of like going, "God I hope this goes!"

8:45 p.m.: The producers hope to release a soundtrack of the show's music.

8:47 p.m.: Someone asks about the significance of Digby's apparent lack of aging since being reanimated and if that will apply to Chuck. "Yes, it definitely implies that Digby looks great for his age," Bryan notes. "And Chuck may have a similar future." Kristin Chenoweth jokes she has a great Botox doctor. "I don't do that, seriously."

8:50 p.m.: And that's a wrap! We'll be back on Monday!

  [march 2008]  


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