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Just Schmoozing: TV actors, producers show talent at dispensing quips and quibbles

Saturday, January 19, 2002

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

PASADENA, Calif. -- Sure, they're paid to be entertainers, but you still never know what actors, writers and producers will say. Here are a few of their most recent bon mots:

Biting the hand that feeds you

"Just Shoot Me" star David Spade assured critics that NBC has learned from the flop that was "Emeril."

"Hope you enjoyed your breakfast," Spade said as critics scarfed down bagels and sucked down coffee. "We got Emeril back doing what he does best."

Sherri Shepherd, one of the stars of "Emeril," saw the writing on the wall and was lucky to get picked up for a midseason ABC sitcom, tentatively titled "The Web."

"At what point in 'Emeril' did I start looking for another job?" Shepherd said, repeating a question.

"That would be table read, page two," chimed in Peter Tolan, creator of "The Web," during a press conference. "That's the answer you want, you bloodsuckers."

"The Web" stars Ivan Sergei, whose previous TV experience was limited to dramas, notably The WB's "Jack & Jill." His take on performing in front of a live studio audience: "It's like doing theater, but you get paid!"

'Fear Factor' of Playmates

At halftime of Fox's Super Bowl broadcast next month, NBC will counterprogram with a special edition of "Fear Factor" featuring Playboy Playmates. What kind of fears do Playmates have?

"Aging is a huge one," joked host Joe Rogan. "The husband going bankrupt.

"And we make them eat."

What a 'Job'

ABC's "The Job," starring Denis Leary, returned to the schedule Wednesday, airing opposite NBC's ratings powerhouse "The West Wing," written by Aaron Sorkin. But Leary has a plan.

"When I take Aaron Sorkin hostage for about six weeks, the ratings are going to really [bleep] change then," Leary said. "Let's see Martin Sheen write that [bleep] show. A whole different ball game when Aaron Sorkin disappears. I've got a bag of mushrooms and a couple of hookers. He's going to be really happy."

Forgotten captain

Stephen Collins, who stars in The WB's "7th Heaven" as a father and minister, recently recorded audio commentary for the DVD release of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture," in which he starred as Decker.

"I particularly love that I was a captain of the Enterprise, lest you all forget," Collins said. "For the first 20 minutes of the movie, I was captain of the Enterprise and then Kirk demoted me. It's a good trivia question if you want to stump your friends: 'Name all the captains of the Enterprise.' Most people won't name me, but I was."

What a comparison

Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of The WB hit "Gilmore Girls," praised her leading lady, Lauren Graham, who plays Lorelai Gilmore, in her own unique way.

"We got everything and then as you get to work with somebody, that everything became even more," she said. "It's like when you buy Clinique and you get the package that goes alongside. It has the moisturizer that I've got 50 of at home and I still never use. But that's what Lauren is. She's a Clinique package with the moisturizer in it."

Laughs a lot

WB publicist Keith Marder opened his network's day of press conferences with a bit of stand-up comedy. He suggested several precautions were taken to ensure the security of critics attending the winter press tour.

"Our bomb squad canceled 'Men, Women and Dogs,' " he joked. "Don't feel bad for the dog. He got a job sniffing luggage at the airport."

Marder predicted young-skewing WB's knockoff of ABC's "The Chair" would be called "The High Chair" and old-skewing CBS would create "The Rocking Chair."

Always eager to pick on former WB star Shannen Doherty, Marder said her sentence for drunken driving included picking up trash from the side of the freeway. "So you can tell your readers if they want to send fan mail, just chuck it out the window."

From the mouth of Bill

Fox News Channel pundit Bill O'Reilly ("The O'Reilly Factor") has a big mouth. Not physically large, but he likes to open it a lot and let fly with his opinions, even when they contradict one another.

Only moments after saying "we have to be very careful not to be gloating, not to be arrogant," O'Reilly proceeded to do just that in efforts to defend his "No-Spin Zone" from attack by ravenous critics.

And then he started spinning himself.

"I have imposed a 'No Gloating' zone on my staff ...," O'Reilly said of his show's rising ratings. "You have to keep working hard. 'Ally McBeal' is a great example of that on Fox. You know, hit show but lost all its momentum now. I think [creator David E.] Kelley's smart enough to regain it."

What? "Ally's" goose is cooked, and only someone beholden to his corporate owners would think otherwise.


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

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