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4 Things We Learned From TCA: Day 4

There’s always plenty of surprises, who-knew and they-said-what moments during the parade of TV show panels at the Television Critics Assn. press tour. Day four of the summer tour that runs through Aug. 9 featured presentations from A&E, Lifetime, Viceland, and Starz.

Here are four things we learned from Friday’s sessions:

1. Rob Lowe and his sons investigate the paranormal in their new A&E reality series, “The Lowe Files,” but the Lowe boys have been skeptical of their dad going back to childhood. They shared a great anecdote about the elder Lowe and a famous friend telling the boys that they believed the moon was hollow. While the boys were unwilling to say who the friend was, Rob was was not so reluctant.

“It was Charlie Sheen,” Rob said to a big laugh. “And he thinks the moon is hollow.” Lowe’s sons conceded that Sheen did have very good talking points to back up his claim.

2. James Van Der Beek will play the world-famous DJ Diplo in the new Viceland series “What Would Diplo Do?” The series presents a comedic look into Diplo’s life, which Van Der Beek and the producers said added a lot of “blindspots” to the DJ’s actual personality, noting he is incredibly intelligent in real life.

“The only way to do a show like this is if somebody is completely game,” Van Der Beek said. “He is so confident in his ability that he’s just allergic to taking himself seriously.”

3. This season of the Starz series “The Girlfriend Experience” will focus on two different storylines: one focused on a woman in the Witness Protection Program and another on a woman working as an escort for the head of a Republican super PAC. Executive producer Lodge Kerrigan said that the scripts for the latter storyline were written before the 2016 election.

“I actually re-wrote them after the conclusion of the election,” Kerrigan said. “I was originally…I was just really open to the idea that reality is now becoming stranger than fiction. So in the writing of it, the rewriting of it,I just tried to be really open to that.”

4. Tracey Ullman, one of the leads in the upcoming Starz-BBC period drama “Howards End,” had the audience rolling when she joked that co-star Matthew McFayden was “probably paid twice as much” as she and co-star Hayley Atwell. Ullman was of course referencing the recent report on salary disparities between the genders at the BBC.

(Pictured: “The Lowe Files'” Rob Lowe, John Owen Lowe, and Matthew Lowe)

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