Showtime and The CW were up on Day 3 of the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Thursday.
Showtime previewed its new drama “City on a Hill” and the premium cabler’s first late-night series “Desus & Mero.” The CW held an executive session with network head Mark Pedowitz and brought along the cast of its upcoming series “In the Dark.”
Here are 5 things we learned at TCA day 3.
Kevin Bacon Drew Inspiration From Scorsese and Lumet for “City on a Hill”
Kevin Bacon plays an FBI agent in the upcoming Showtime drama “City on a Hill,” with the screen veteran saying he drew inspiration for the character from films of the 1970s. “The thing I loved immediately from reading the pilot was Jackie’s voice, which was something I heard,” Bacon said. “This world of ‘90s cops and robbers had a gritty vibe to me and was reminiscent of movies I loved in the ‘70s from Scorsese and Sidney Lumet and I felt there wasn’t much on TV in this pocket, there was nothing that felt like this.”
Desus & Mero Keep it Authentic
Desus Nice and The Kid Mero kept the TCA crowd rolling with their nonstop banter in promotion of their upcoming Showtime late-night show. The comedy duo also said that the last thing they want is the interviews on their show to feel like interviews on any other show. “We try to make really authentic, organic interviews,” Desus said. “We don’t do a lot of research…We’re friendly guys. People let down their guards…once people realize we’re not trying to throw them under the bus or make them look like a clown.”
More Details on the “Jane the Virgin” Spinoff Emerge
There weren’t many specifics that “Jane the Virgin” creator Jennie Snyder Urman and star Gina Rodriguez would reveal about the show’s final season, but they did share a couple details about the recently announced spinoff pilot. “Jane the Novela” will tell the stories of “Jane’s novels that she’ll write in the future.” Rodriguez, who will be narrating the show as Jane, remarked that she’ll be seeking tips from “Jane the Virgin’s” resident voiceover actor Anthony Mendez (who apparently recorded Rodriguez’s outgoing voicemail message back in season 1). And while there are currently no plans to have any “Jane the Virgin” actors show up in the first season, but as Urman pointed out, “Jane the Novela” was conceived of as an anthology series with each season following a different novel,” so a future season easily could.
The CW Is Sticking With the Pilot System
The CW is still confident it can retain top talent even though it recently lost “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” to Netflix after the streamer gave the show a straight-to-series order, while CW golden child Gina Rodriguez just set up a project at Disney+. “It all depends on the project,” CW president Mark Pedowitz said. “There’s a lot more competition these days. When they get known on the CW they get gobbled up by other people. But that said, I like the pilot system. I’m not a big fan of straight to order or straight to series because I believe pilots give you the good and the bad. It gives you the red flags of what the research says, and then you lead with your gut. It gives you the understanding of what needs to be altered.”
“In the Dark” Team Addresses Not Casting Blind Lead Actress
“In The Dark,” the CW’s new one-hour drama, centers on a young woman who is blind and relies on a guide dog and/or a cane to get around but is determined to solve the murder mystery of her best friend. Executive producers Corinne Kingsbury and Nicky Weinstock shared that they searched for a blind actor for the role “immediately.” “At one point we were told by our casting department we had gone to 29 schools for the vision impaired,” Weinstock said. But ultimately, they went with Perry Mattfeld, a sighted actress, because they felt “she was the best actor” for the emotionally complex role. While Mattfeld may not be blind, Kingsbury pointed out that they did surround themselves with those who are blind to “really walk us through this and help us.” That included Lorri Bernson, who was in great part the inspiration for the show after she spoke at a CW senior management meeting through her work with CW Good, a writer in the writers’ room, and Calle Walton, a young actress they found in one of the schools and cast in a supporting role. “I just think she’s the most magical, special actor, and I’m really excited to see the show develop,” Kingsbury said of Walton.