×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

4 Things We Learned at TCA: Day 4

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.

More TV

  • Rory Kinnear

    Showtime's ‘Penny Dreadful: City of Angels’ Adds Rory Kinnear

    Rory Kinnear is returning to the world of “Penny Dreadful,” Variety has learned. The acclaimed British actor, who is best known for playing MI6 operative Bill Tanner in the James Bond films and portrayed the horrifically scarred Creature on the original show, has been cast in the role of Dr. Peter Craft in “Penny Dreadful: City [...]

  • Gary Knell

    Listen: National Geographic Chief Gary Knell on Disney Future, Fox's Legacy

    The marriage of National Geographic Partners and Disney, which becomes official today, is the proverbial brand match made in heaven. Disney is taking over the stewardship of Nat Geo Partners — a joint venture with the National Geographic Society — as part of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The transition comes at a time [...]

  • Joke Stealing Legal Recourse

    Why It's Rarely Easy to Prove Joke Theft in the Legal World

    How far would you go to defend a dirty joke about having sex with a pumpkin? Comedians Ryan Hoffman and Nick Ruggia spoke with Variety about their claims that recent “Saturday Night Live” segments “Pumpkin Patch” and “Pound Puppy” plagiarized two of their sketches that were uploaded years earlier to the YouTube channel for their comedy troupe [...]

  • John Slattery

    John Slattery Cast as Lead in Fox Pilot ‘neXT’

    “Mad Men” star John Slattery has been cast in the lead role for the upcoming Fox drama pilot “neXT,” Variety has learned. The show is described as a fact-based thriller grounded in the latest A.I. research. It features a brilliant but paranoid former tech CEO who joins a Homeland Cybersecurity Agent and her team to stop the world’s first [...]

  • Chris Hayes MSNBC

    Chris Hayes on What the College Admissions Scandal Says About America

    The business of Hollywood doesn’t often intersect with the world of academia, but it did last week when actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were each charged with taking part in a college admissions cheating scheme that also ensnared dozens of alleged perpetrators beyond the entertainment business. Chris Hayes, who anchors MSNBC’s “All In With [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content