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Celebrities were full of amusing quotes during TV critics press tour

Saturday, July 27, 2002

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

PASADENA, Calif. -- Celebrities say the darndest things. Here are a few of their wittier bon mots during from the past two weeks at the Television Critics Association summer press tour:

Conan O'Brien opened NBC's two days of news conferences by jokingly alerting TV critics to off-limits topics, including "Emeril" and the future of "Friends."

"Emeril did get an Emmy nomination. Did you know that? Best art direction. So clearly, you were wrong. In that same vein, we believe that 'Inside Schwartz' was overlooked for best sound editing."

O'Brien joked that there's a chance the cast of "Friends" will return for one more year after the upcoming season, "if we give them the country of France.

"That doesn't get us all of them. That gets us [David] Schwimmer, [Matt] LeBlanc, [Lisa] Kudrow, but we'll work out the rest. There are some Czech Republics that are for sale. We'll see if we can work something out."

"Isn't it unbelievable that every development season, two identical shows make the schedule?" said WB publicist/stand-up comic Keith Marder. "The WB has a show where a guy goes back in time, gives a speech as he relives the '80s, when he tries to save his family. ABC has a show where a guy goes back in time, gives a speech as he relives the '80s, when people watched ABC."

"One of the things that drew me to it is that he is essentially a nice guy. He's kind of a buttoned-up sweetheart," Tim Curry said of his role as Mr. French on The WB's remake of "Family Affair." An added bonus: "I don't have to pack and go to Romania and play some CinemaScope villain."

CBS's new comedy "Bram and Alice," about a famous author (Alfred Molina) who meets his illegitimate daughter (Traylor Howard), caused a bit of a stir because in the first episode, the father, not realizing he's talking to his daughter, tries to seduce her. CBS president Leslie Moonves defended the plot. "If you take it out of context, you are looking at a guy hitting on his daughter," he said. "If you look at the context of the pilot, this is who the character is. If he hits on her next week, then you should be concerned."

Khandi Alexander, who played the sister of Dr. Benton (Eriq LaSalle) on "ER," stars in this fall's "CSI: Miami" on CBS. And she doesn't expect to return to the emergency room. "When Eriq LaSalle left, he pretty much took my job with him," she said. "And he didn't share that $30 million."

ABC Entertainment Television Group chairman Lloyd Braun clearly misspoke when he promised ABC is "leaving absolutely no stone unturned in our quest to squeeze every last ounce of appeal out of every show." Having seen ABC's pilots, for once we can take a network bigwig at his word.

When ABC announced its new fall programs in May, Drew Carey was one of the stars on hand. En route to the presentation in a limousine full of other ABC cast members, Carey spoke with "According to Jim" star Jim Belushi, who asked what show was taking Carey's old Wednesday night time slot ("The Drew Carey Show" moves to Mondays). It was "The Bachelor," a series Carey never watched.

"Can you believe this guy? Twenty-five women to choose from, all of them really smart and educated, and who does he pick for the last two? The two blondes with the biggest [breasts]. The one [sleeps] with him, so that's the one who wins," Carey said.

What he didn't realized was the bachelor himself, Alex Michel, was seated nearby in the same limo. "He was sitting right next to me the whole time and I thought he was Jim Belushi's agent, because he looked just like an agent to me," Carey said. "He had the slick hair and stuff."

Carey, whose show has never been an Emmy favorite, isn't a fan of awards, either.

"I'm so glad that millionaires can line up to get a trinket for their mantel," he said. "What a great idea. ... I have two People's Choice Awards, I have a Cable Ace Award and they're all in a box in my garage. I don't display them. It's like idolatry to me. ... People are so needy, not only do they need applause and a giant paycheck, but they also need a 'thing' to prove to themselves that they were worthy and good. It's like, holy [expletive], go see a psychiatrist."

The new NBC sitcom "In-Laws," about a young married couple who move in with the wife's parents, sounds like the Ben Stiller-Robert De Niro movie "Meet the Parents," but it's actually based on star Elon Gold's own experience.

He's been living with his in-laws for a year and a half. Dennis Farina plays Gold's father-in-law on the sitcom, but the real deal sounds like a TV show character, too.

"He drove me to the airport yesterday, and he just turns to me as he's driving -- just randomly, and this shows his sense of humor is a little bizarre -- and says, 'You know, Saddam Hussein had his son-in-law killed.' What am I supposed to do with that information exactly?"

Post-Gazette TV Editor Rob Owen returned Thursday from the summer TCA press tour.

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