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NBCUniversal, NBC, Peacock & SYFY at TCA Press Winter Tour Langham Huntington Hotel – Wed Feb 14th

By Judy Shields

Pasadena, California (The Hollywood Times) 02/18/2024 – Love was in the air this Valentine’s day with panels featured throughout the morning and afternoon on Wednesday, like “Love on Peacock.” With three originals, Couple to Throuple, Queens Court, Love Island USA and their newest upcoming original Love Undercover.

The panelist for this segment was Corie Hanson, EVP Entertainment Unscripted Content, NBCUniversal; Dr. Sharmyra Howard, Relationship Expert, Couple to Throuple; Jamie O’Hara, Cast, Love Undercover; Holly and Rodney Peete, host of Queens Court, Rachel Smith, EVP Unscripted Content, Lifestyles & Documentaries, NBCUniversal and Simon Thomas, Exec. Prod., Love Island USA.

The upcoming season will join Peacock’s “Love Island” cinematic universe, alongside other “Love Island” offerings, including “Love Island Games”, “Love Island:  All Stars”, and acquired international formats “Love Island Spain” and “Love Island South Africa”.  Will Packer’s “Queens Court” will also return this summer, hosted by real-life husband and wife duo Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete, and featuring an all-new set of queens on a quest for love.  Announcement of a new dating series, “Love Undercover,” which follows five international soccer stars as they strip their public overseas personas to date in America without the distractions of fame and fortune.  That series will premiere on Peacock May 9.

Corie Hanson said that they have picked up back-to-back seasons of Love Island and that Love Undercover came in the door based on a little nugget of an idea that they developed internally.

Rachel Smith said that they brought back Queens Court for another season and it was a freshman series that they are very proud of.  She went on to say “Couple to Throuple, new shows, new IP, so it’s firing on all cylinders.”

Dr. Shamyra Howard was asked to talk a little bit about what see sees her role on this show as?

She said that the show is about poly-curious couples, who have never had any experience or very minimal experience in non-monogamy or polyamory.  Dr. Howard went on to explain that her role is to help bridge the educational and emotional gap between non-monogamy and monogamy.

A question for Holly and Rodney was that they have been married for almost 30 years.  When they see some of these other shows and people talk about Couple to Throuple and Love Island and all the other stuff, do they find this odd or fascinating?

Holly said that one of the ways they bond is watching these shows and they are fascinated. She said “do you think we could ever have made it through the social media age of finding love? Or the reality age of finding love?”

Rodney said that they did it the traditional way of meeting, dating and getting engaged and getting married. He went on to say “It’s hard out there to find love. And whatever route you take to get there to find that love, that’s okay, and we’re just thank — at least I’m thankful that we did find ourselves 30 years ago and there wasn’t social media and there wasn’t all these challenges that so many people have to go through today. I think that’s the thing in these last couple of years that we found out in talking to these women, as well as men, is that the dating world out there now is very difficult.”

A question was asked: So you said that Love Island is just now hitting its stride in the U.S. Can you give any updates on the new season? What can fans expect? Are there any twists coming?

Simon Thomas had this to say: We’ve got a brand-new villa. I think it’s probably the biggest pool that we’ve had yet, which is fun. I think we like to play our cards close to our chest until a few weeks out, and we’ve got fun things planned. I think what I would say is that we know who we are as a show now in the U.S., right? Like, you’re always sort of living in the shadow of the UK and I think we found our stride, so the stuff that’s planned is fun. Really fun.

Peacock’s The Traitors panel included Stephen Lambert, EP and Sam Rees-Jones, EP from Studio Lambert and Host/Producer Alan Cumming and Cast Member Kate Chastain.

Alex Martinetti said that Peacock recently renewed “The Traitors” for a third season. The show is currently Peacock’s #1 unscripted original series and season two continues to see week over week growth in viewership since its Jan. 12 debut.  Peacock also has a lot more Traitors coming your way. The second season of The Traitors UK will stream March 8, plus the The Traitors Australia season two and The Traitors New Zealand season one will be available on platforms starting March 28.

The first question asked was for Alan Cumming. “Alan, you look so good. Please tell me you get to keep your clothes.”  Alan said: “Oh, yes, hello.  Yes, I do get to keep my clothes.” (Laugher.)

Alan was then asked if he could elaborate a little bit about costume design or who he was working with?  Alan answered: the stylist who does me, who’s called Sam Spector, and when we did the first one, these guys said to me was there someone I wanted to use. I knew Sam, and so I went to him and after we’d talked, and sort of said there’s going to be this dandy Scottish laird sort of character.  He kind of ran with it, and so that’s how I’ve become this sort of crazy fashion mashup.  And so, yeah, and then it’s kind of great this year, it’s been sort of inflated a little bit more.”

Kate Chastain was asked from the perspective of bringing somebody in part way through, how she felt that would kind of disorient the game and how disorienting did she find it?

Kate response was: “I wasn’t sure going in if they’d be like, hey, you just got here, and I’d be the first one to go because, frankly, I feel like that’s how I probably would have felt.  Like, we’ve already done so many missions, and you haven’t done that, so — but I was pleasantly surprised that I did not go home that first day, and I think everyone was surprised to see me show up including myself.  So it was a great surprise.

Question: “You have your greenlight for season three.  Congratulations.  What kind of changes, if any, are you thinking about making for the casting of season three?  And are you getting people already coming up to you and say I would love to be a part of this?

Sam Rees-Jones said that the bar is set pretty high with season two and that the show is only as good as its cast.  They have started casting already.  He said that the thing he loves most about season two is the jigsaw, the variety that they had.  Sort of different personalities and the different voices.

Alan Cumming said:  “And I have to stop looking at my DMs on Instagram because there’s so many people asking me if I can get them into the show.

A question was asked about a huge push on social media right now to get a dance mom or a dance couple, someone from that universe.  Who would be on an upcoming season?

Alan Cumming answered Beyoncé right away! (Laughter.)

Stephen Lambert said: “Well, if we’re aiming that high, I’ll have Taylor Swift.” (Laughter.)

Kate Chastain’s answer was: “I would like to see some of the cast from “Vanderpump Rules.”  I think they’d be well-suited for this game.” Alan said: “Interesting.”

Sam Rees-Jones said: “I don’t want to give it away.”

Another question for the producers: “what goes into actually choosing the traitors? Like, what are your conversations about who would make a good traitor and why you’re selecting them? And Alan, do you ever feel like you, knowing who that is, you’re at risk of giving it away at some point?”

Stephen Lambert said they we’re looking for people who want to be a traitor, and who can pull it off and that it’s a lot more pressure being a traitor than it is being a faithful.  You have to make an assessment as to who’s got the personality to do it, and then, what’s the right combination.

Sam Rees-Jones said they do a personality test with everyone before they go in, which gives them a bit more of an idea if they could take it on.  “Alan has the chats with them, which we didn’t do in season two, in season one we didn’t do them. Those chats actually gave us a lot of information as well. We didn’t actually pick who the traitors were until, I don’t know, a couple of hours before the round table when Alan taps them on the shoulder.”

Alan Cumming said: “And in terms of picking them, it’s the most terrifying part of the whole series for me, because I could fuck it up hugely by just banging someone with my elbow. (Laughter.)  Oh, giving it away, secret-wise.”

Alan continued with: “You know, I have, I’m the most indiscreet person that you can meet. When I was on The Good Wife, and Will was murdered, remember, Will was shot?  I told everyone. (Laughter.) I remember once doing this fashion thing, and I sat down and the guy started to do my hair, and he went, ‘I’m a huge fan of The Good Wife.’ I went, Will dies! And I thought, like, I told a hairdresser. That’s like, you know, sort of traditionally the worst person you can tell a secret to. So, since then, I’m very conscious of it. I sometimes forget as well. Whenever I see my friends, I haven’t seen them for a while, like I was, I met some people last night and they went, hey, how are you? Don’t tell me. Because they know that I’m usually the person to blab. But, you know, I have a responsibility now.”

Next up was the panel for Peacock original Apples Never Fall

Annette Bening, Executive Producer, “Joy Delaney”, Alison Brie, “Amy Delaney”, Jake Lacy, “Troy Delaney”, and Melanie Marnich, Showrunner, Exec. Prod.

Joey Levine welcomes us and talks about the new Peacock limited drama series Apples Never Fall, based on Liane Moriarty’s New York Times bestselling novel. Apples Never Fall.  Newly minted five-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening, who also stars as Joy Delaney, the matriarch of the Delaney family. When Joy suddenly disappears, her kids begin to reexamine their parents’ so-called perfect marriage. Secrets are exposed as the family unravels. We’re excited to debut the official trailer with you today that highlights the cast and gripping mystery viewers can look forward to. All episodes will premiere on Peacock on Thursday, March 14.

The first question asked was how faithful is the adaptation to the book?

Melanie Marnich said: “Great, we’ll kick it off about the adaptation. Liane’s book is amazing. It’s so rich and some of the most important things that we took from -– that I took from that –- are the themes, obviously the story, the emotional reality and story of these kids, the family and the mystery of Joy Delaney. We had to make some changes to make it work for television obviously. It’s so rich with story, so now we have seven just repulsive full episodes. The big change we made was relocating the story from Australia to South Florida, West Palm Beach, which is the seat of so much professional tennis training. That was a really fun change. We changed some of the characters, some of their intentions, some of the relationships, but really stayed pretty true to her beautiful book.”

Annette Bening’s response was: “Thank you for the question. First of all, Liane’s imagination and she writes such juicy stories and juicy parts. So first of all, her. And then Melanie who came in and really took it over. I first read it and then spoke to Melanie, that’s what really got me super-excited because I could tell she was obsessed and that she had this really strong commitment to it and vision of it. So once I saw that and everything, I thought, wow, this is just such an opportunity. It was really fun for me because I had never done something over so many episodes. So, yeah, that was just a joy for me and to play such a rich character, it was just — it was such fun.

Next question was what does tennis bring to the show?  Why not have the Delaney’s into golf or sailing or something like that?

Melanie said that they are tennis players in the book, and she thought what’s so powerful about it is when you’re a family of deeply competitive people raised by deeply competitive people, it’s in the blood, it’s in the DNA and that amps up all the mystery.

She continued with: “What these people could do to each other in the name of competition, in the name of competing for love.  Tennis, I find, just a dynamic, sexy, wonderful sport, and it also is — in south Florida where I set it, it would give this family a certain stature in that community, and given what happens to the family, i.e. they get taken down a notch, that stature was very important.”

Next question was for the actors:  “What attracted you to this role?  Alison, did you ever have a conversation about blue hair because that’s a big thing in the book, too?

Alison Brie answered with:  “Yes.  I mean, I’ll start with the blue hair because, frankly, we had so many conversations about it, and you can’t quite tell from the trailer, but we did put blue pieces in my hair.  Some blue pieces were put in the hair.  We talked about a full — a dip dye, but like a full blue wig would be distracting, a dip dye difficult for continuity.” Jake Lacy said every dinner scene was like bright blue..

Alison followed up with:  Yeah, just like a bright blue with bangs.  Like, I just felt like it would be too Sonic the Hedgehog or something.  So we landed on doing these pieces but because the show is so dark and moody, they can kind of be lost.  I’m happy to talk about it so people can keep an eye out, because it is one of the things, actually, that I really liked about the character when reading the book and the episodes is how different she is from characters that I’ve played before, the blue hair, the tattoos, the general — I’m just going to say laissez-faire, but that’s far too casual for this character.  She’s not quite as driven as the kind of archetype of the characters that I’ve normally played, and I really liked that she is this open wound of a character and really sort of leads with her emotions, and the writing was extraordinary.  I have read so many of Liane’s books, but I hadn’t read this book before reading the first three episodes, and knowing that Annette was attached and Sam Neill and Jake Lacy.

A great question was asked about the theme in the show which seems to be secrets and if each of them could tell us something about themselves that people may not know?  (Laughter.)

Alison said: “How dare you?  Jake, you go”; Annette said: “Jake, you go, Jake”; Jake responded with: “I love secrets.  I live for secrets.  Something that people don’t know.  Um-uh, if I wasn’t doing this job, I would want to be a landscape architect”; Melanie said: “Ooh”; Alison Brie: “Whoa, why?” Annette Bening: “Juicy secret.”  Jake Lacy said: “Yeah, pretty — Get ready”; Annette Bening: “Whoa, wow, that’s going to go wildfire”; Jake Lacy: “Not for all audiences”; Alison Brie: “Break the internet much?” (Laughter); Jake Lacy:  “The internet falls asleep. Yeah, I don’t know.  I try to live my life free of secrets because I don’t want to live with the constant juggling of who did I tell what about what?  Landscape architect.  I think that’s a takeaway.”

Annette Bening responded with: “Well, it’s just such a great question.  My basically rant to young actors starting out is to maintain your privacy.  It’s so important right now, especially with social media and there’s just this culture of every event in your life you have to make public.  It used to be that everybody was dying to maintain their privacy.  Not in the work.  Like, in the work, we have to expose ourselves. That’s our job.  And to try to do that as truthfully as possible, which is interesting because even when you choose to be an actor, you are putting yourself out there, there’s part of the psyche when you’re working that says protect yourself.  And you have to say, no, no.  This is about taking the mask off and exposing yourself.  So, in the work, that’s the job.  But in our private lives, we have to have some privacy.  I think it’s important but it’s not only people in the public eye like we are but even regular folks.  Like, having some privacy I think is just — that’s my secret.”

Alison Brie responded with a great line:  “A great actor once told me to maintain my privacy.” (Laughter.)  “And that’s what I’m going to do today.”

Next up was Resident Alien with Corey Reynolds, “Sheriff Mike Thompson”;  Chris Sheridan, Showrunner, Executive Producer; Sara Tomko, “Asta Twelvetrees”; Alan Tudyk, “Harry Vanderspeigle”; and Alice Wetterlund, “D’Arcy Bloom.”  Isabel Raab, the publicist on the SYFY series Resident Alien said the show follows Harry, an alien who crash lands on Earth and passes himself off as a small-town doctor. Settling into his life, Harry finds himself balancing work, friendship, and love while fighting to save the planet from a new alien threat. Resident Alien’s” third season premiered Wednesday, Feb. 14th at 10 p.m. on SYFY and streamed the next day on Peacock.

The first question asked was about Chris Sheridan having to sit on the bench for a full year and a half, not having the show on the air and when coming back with the third season. Did he have pressure to kind of catch people up, realizing how long it’s been since the show was last on the air?

Chris Sheridan replied that there’s a little bit of pressure. That the studio and network did a great job putting pieces out there on social media with recaps and stuff like that, and getting the word out that people can watch the show on Peacock. The first two seasons dropped on Netflix last Tuesday. There’s a lot of ways that people can catch up and there is recaps at the top of the show.  Chris then said:  “I started rewatching the show again from the beginning and I’m reminded of how much story we’ve done up to this point, so — but I think people can catch up pretty quickly and enjoy Season 3.”

A question was asked of Alan Tudyk: Can you talk about any difference in how you’re playing Harry now that he cares? I mean, he kind of cared about his mission at the beginning, but…?

Alan Tudyk responded: “Well, he, yeah -– he was definitely more open to killing humans in the very beginning. Now that Netflix is showing those again, I watched them, it was like, whoa, I’ll kill anybody. I’ve got a knife out here. I’m going to kill the boy, her, him, her, him. He has emotions now. Season 3 is sort of the teenage years of Harry, and he is — he really falls in love. He’s left the nest a little bit from mom, and he’s (laughs) –- he’s fallen in love with the Blue Avian that we saw that’s played by Edi Patterson this season.  Not necessarily the best love, but the most intense love, and he’s going through that, and it’s a lot of fun, and it makes for some funny scenes, and some good story.”

Another question asked of Chris Sheridan was when he was staging those big party scenes, or group gatherings, how much practice goes in, how much rehearsal goes into them?  Chris responded: “Yeah, I think, unfortunately, there’s never as much rehearsal as any of us would want. I mean, the schedule is so rushed in so many ways, and the lighting’s got to get done, the cast has got to come in and do it. They do so much preparation on their own, I’ll let them speak more to that. But once we get on stage, they come pretty prepared. He said they were so excited to be together, they were just all talking.  Alice Wetterlund said there were as well as Alan.

Sara Tomko said: “We were a mess. It’s so fun to collaborate together. We all show up with our own preparations but then when we get there, they tell us where to land, but we ultimately have such an amazing chemistry as a cast that every take felt different, felt fresh. It always feels that much fun to work together.  I think there’s things that you can’t quite even put into words until you’re there and you’re doing it and you’re like, oh man, this is magic.”

Alice Wetterlund responded: “Yeah, I’ve struggled with — well, I usually — if I have a scene with Sara, Sara and I get to the makeup chair earlier than everybody else. And so — unless Alan’s in makeup, and then he’s there four hours before everybody else. So we get to sit next to each other usually in the makeup chair, and we do go over our lines. But that’s just dialogue because like she said, getting to the set and not only being around each other but being around our crew and our director.  It’s really about how excited we are to be around each other. I barely get to be in scenes with Corey.”

Corey Reynolds says: “Because it’s in my contract.” (Laughter.); Sara Tomko: “Oh, wow.; Alice Wetterlund: “And I’m just finding that out now.”; Sara Tomko: “I didn’t know.”; Alice Wetterlund: Breaking news.

Corey Reynolds responds to his costars: “But you know, if I could just piggyback on that, I think one of the things that was really unique with the scene work that Chris was referencing in particular is you know that we also filmed during COVID. So there was a lot of isolating, and there was a lot of trust amongst us because we were tested regularly. And so, when we were around each other, we had a freedom that we didn’t have under any other circumstances for the last couple of years.”

BTW Corey Reynolds was wearing a T-shirt that the press could not read and he was asked what his shirt said “It says, ‘I came, I saw, I had anxiety, so I left'” Corey said. I sure had to say I want that shirt! He also said he was about at step three right now. (Laughter)

There was an awesome candy bar in the lobby for the press to get a box with the Resident Alien logo on it to fill with the sweet treats. Also a life size of Alan Tudyk. Here are a few photos I took:

Before the last panel Jimmy Fallon appeared on the big screen with the following message:

JIMMY FALLON: “Jimmy Fallon. I just wanted to say hello, I hope you’re having fun at TCA’s –- are you having fun? I think it’s fun. I remember it being fun. Is it still in Pasadena? I love Pasadena, but I just wanted to say thank you so much for all your support throughout the years. Really. When you say something nice about our show, it really helps us. And we’ve been on for now –- this is our tenth year doing “The Tonight Show” from New York. That’s why I can’t be there, but we left you a little gift, a little sweet treat. I really can’t thank you enough. We love what we do and we appreciate all the support. So enjoy, have fun, and I also enjoyed The Bear. Bye”

The final panel of the day was NBC’s Extended Family with Jon Cryer, Executive Producer, “Jim Kearney”; Donald Faison, “Trey Taylor”; Mike O’Malley, Showrunner, Executive Producer and Abigail Spencer, “Julia Mariano”

Nicole Winer, the publicist on NBC’s newest comedy series Extended Family” talked about the show which airs on Tuesdays, at 8:30 on NBC following Night Court. After two parents divorce amicably, they decide to continue to raise their kids at the family home while they take turns on who gets to stay with them. When the owner of the Boston Celtics enters the picture, navigating the waters of divorce and child sharing gets a little more complicated.

First question asked was about a couple of her of shows Rectify and Timeless where her characters had pretty fraught family relationships. Which Abigail Spencer replied: “Um-hm, it’s my specialty, thank you. (Laughter.)  The next question was it easier or harder to have a character who has fraught family dynamics, but not quite so heavy?

Abigail responded with “there’s more ease because we can move into the laughter and the fun and the joy of it, but I think the delicate dance of any storytelling is that it’s rooted in something real, and family dynamics are very real. But what I love and what Mike has created is that there’s a joy and a knowing that we want to do it together. We’re on the same team. Whereas some of my other shows, it was not that. (Laughs.) So I’m so grateful to work in this medium, but what I love about what you’re saying is that you feel the family. You know, that you feel that this is still about a family and that’s shining through and that makes me very happy. Thank you.”

Next question was: We think it’s safe to say that there’s a generational almost definitive sitcom about families that come around every 10, 20 years or so. What does it mean to each of you to be a part of what could be considered that?

Donald Faison said: “I’ve been waiting for this forever. You know, Scrubs was a single-cam sitcom. I grew up on multi-cam sitcoms like A Different World and The Cosby Show and Cheers. Those were the shows I grew up on and I remember as a youth, I always wanted to be on NBC on a sitcom. And when I was young, Cosby was the only one in New York City that I can remember that had young Black characters on it. And so to now be on NBC a few years later, it’s amazing. This is the dream. I’m living it.”

John Cryer: “Yeah, for me, I grew up on Mary Tyler Moore, All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Maude –- all those things meant a great, great deal to me –- Sanford & Son. So it was always something I had just a gut level comfort with, and that I’ve gotten the opportunity to do this a lot.  I did like — I did three sitcoms before Two and a Half Men hit.  I did The Famous Teddy Z and Getting Personal and Partners before that, and it’s kind of an addictive format.  You just love it.  It’s great, great fun.

Jon Cryer said next:  “By the way, I just — I’m sorry.  I just want to take a moment and wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day.”

Abigail Spencer said: “Oh, yeah.  Happy Valentines.”  Then Jon said: “Just want to say it was at the TCAs back in like 1992 that I met my wife, Lisa Joyner.  So what I’d like you all to do is to look at the people next to you (laughter) and imagine spending the rest of your life. That’s just a thing.

Jon is such a funny fella!

Next question was a good one: Between all four of you, you really have a wealth of former co-stars who could make great guest appearances in future seasons.  Have there been conversation about that?

Donald Faison said:  “If we come back, Season 2, Zach Braff is on the show.  I promise you that. (Laughter) You heard it here now.

Jon Cryer:  “There have been discussions.  We need an Urkel, (laughter), and I think Sheen could be that if we brought him on the show.”

Mike O’Malley:  “I did a movie with Alan Tudyk 25 years ago, 28 Days.  It was, both of us, one of our first movies.  And I loved Alan, and I would love for Alan to be on the show.  Alan is unbelievable!”

The reception was really a lot of fun with more candy and delicious hors d oeuvres and drinks of all types to enjoy while spending some time talking with stars from the days panels. There were also stars from Lopez vs. Lopez, Night Court, Quantum Leap, The Irrational, Vanderpump Rules and Chucky

Here are a few pictures from the reception:

Don’t forget to catch all the television programs on NBC, Peacock and SYFY, so many great shows to watch.