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Tuned In: L.A. parties promote new season, stars

Saturday, July 28, 2001

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

PASADENA, Calif. -- Every Monday the Post-Gazette takes readers inside parties around Western Pennsylvania, many to support charities. But at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, the parties are solely for the benefit of the sponsoring TV networks.

Still there's plenty of noteworthy things overheard and Seen in L.A.:

Smart kid

David Gallagher, who plays teen-ager Simon on The WB's "7th Heaven," said he'll stay with the family drama until it's time for college. Gallagher is a high school junior; his character is a sophomore, but after two more seasons, Gallagher is committed to going to college full-time to study filmmaking, following the Ron Howard path from child star to adult mogul.

"[An acting career] can be taken away as quickly as it's given," Gallagher said. "I want something to fall back on. If the acting doesn't work out, I'll fall back on writing and directing."

Getting the goods

Stars have their quirks, especially young stars with the world on a string.

Breckin Meyer, who played a stoner in "Clueless," stars in the NBC sitcom "Inside Schwartz" Thursday nights this fall. At an NBC party Meyer was seen carrying the name plates of NBC stars seen earlier on stage during press conferences, including Emeril and Tom Cavanaugh ("Ed").

"Tom Cavanaugh is just a cool guy and Emeril says 'Bam!' " Meyer said, explaining why the cardboard signs were sticking out of the bag slung over his shoulder. "I figured I'd take them now. You don't know how long this thing will last."

Candid camera

Jane Adams (Mel, Niles' ex-wife on "Frasier") stars as the daughter of a U.S. senator played by James Cromwell in the new CBS drama "Citizen Baines," and she doesn't want to forget any part of the process -- even a press conference. Adams brought a video camera with her and pointed it at the press as reporters asked questions, but she refused to say what she plans to do with the footage.

How true

A story on the front page, above the fold, of the Los Angeles Daily News on July 14 reported on population congestion in major metropolitan cities. The headline? "L.A. denser than N.Y."

Tattoo you

Actress Kathryn Erbe, who played an inmate on death row on HBO's "Oz," stars in NBC's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." At an NBC party she arrived wearing a spaghetti strap dress that showed off a tattoo on her upper back. It's a heart with "T & M" inside. Turns out "T" is her husband, "Oz" star Terry Kinney, and "M" is her daughter, Maeve.

A liberal town

The title is "Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher," but executive producer Marilyn Wilson said it's tough to get celebrity guests whose views are out of sync with Hollywood norms.

"Conservatives are the hardest guests to get," Wilson said. "Being a conservative in Hollywood is not unlike being gay. It's a liberal town and I think [conservative celebrities] worry they'll be whitelisted. They're in the closet."

Nasty kiss

In The WB fall comedy series "Men, Women and Dogs," four guys hang out at a dog park looking to pick up women. Niklaus Lange plays a character who's very enamored of his bulldog, allowing the pooch to lick him on the face and lips. Turns out that wasn't the worst part of filming the pilot episode.

"It wasn't actually the dog that I had to get past," Lange said. "It was the chicken baby food and the sardine juice that they rubbed all over my lips ... By the time the dog came around, that was a welcome thing."

Proof they both exist

"West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin and "Gilmore Girls" creator Amy Sherman-Palladino were seen meeting for the first time and discussing an Internet-based rumor that they're the same person.

"There's this rumor Amy Sherman-Palladino is a pseudonym for Aaron Sorkin," Sherman-Palladino said. "Then I'd like him to show up. I've got a script to write. Maybe I should start a rumor that I write all the 'West Wings.'"

Those wacky writers

David Morgasen, a writer for the Howard Stern-produced FX series "Son of the Beach," wandered around a writer's guild party wearing a name tag on which he'd scratched out 'Son of the Beach" and wrote in "The West Wing."

"I get so much more attention this way," he said.

Sadly, some TV critics fell for it, asking him about the new "West Wing" season.

"I think you know Aaron, and he wouldn't like me telling you," Morgasen said. "There's going to be an assassination, but that's all I'm saying."

Post-Gazette TV Editor Rob Owen is attending the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

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