4 Things We Learned at TCA: Day 4

Sam Esmail and Julia RobertsAmazon 'Homecoming'
David Buchan/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Starz, Amazon, and AMC braved the TCA summer press tour on Saturday.

Charles Donalson III of the docuseries “America to Me” held the gathered reporters in rapt attention with an impassioned speech, while Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke touted the company’s diversity.

Here are 4 things we learned from Saturday’s session.

1. Charles Donalson III, one of the subjects of the Starz docuseries “America to Me,” held nothing back when he laced into TCA attendees about the real issues affecting minorities in America during the panel for “America to Me” and the other Starz docuseries, “Warriors of Liberty City.”

“I want each and every one of you to take away from both documentaries not that these are stories of black power or black struggle,” Donalson said. “That’s cool; we’ve seen that. But start giving us stuff where we ain’t got to struggle.”

“Don’t just say that you care,” he continued. “Act like you care. Don’t write about the show. Write about the problems that the show is dealing with, the struggles that made the show possible.”

2. During Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke’s first TCA exec session since joining the tech giant in February, one questioner likened the image her onstage — flanked by Amazon TV co-heads Albert Cheng, who is of Asian descent, and Vernon Sanders, who is African-American — to “The Mod Squad.” The comment came from a white, male press member, and could have made for an awkward moment. But Salke instead used it as an opportunity to tout her team’s diversity. “I came from NBCUniversal with Vernon, where 10 of my direct reports, seven of them were diverse, six of them were women,” she said. “So for me it was just part of how I surround myself with creative people and different types of voices and the smartest people, frankly.”

3. How big is Julia Roberts’ TV? “My TV is really big,” Roberts quipped when asked about doing her first television series, and why she made the leap to “the small screen.” Roberts was on hand for “Homecoming,” Sam Esmail’s new Amazon series. Roberts, as expected, charmed the TCA crowd — at one point faux-sternly correcting one questioner about the plot of “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”

4. Bob Odenkirk proved his commitment to “Better Call Saul” when he made an unexpected appearance at the beginning of the AMC portion of the day. Odenkirk shocked the room when he dropped his pants, revealing a (hopefully temporary) tattoo on his pale posterior featuring the show’s title and the Season 4 premiere date.