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TCA: Penn Pals, Cat Assassins, Strategic Sleepovers

Complete Coverage TCA Winter Press Tour

Plenty of juicy story lines popped out of the TCA winter press tour last week in Pasadena, Calif. Just as Sean Penn tracked down El Chapo, Charlie Rose has tracked down Sean Penn.

Speaking on a CBS This Morning panel, Rose said he had met with the actor/filmmaker/activist/journalist the night before and an interview with his “friend” is coming (CBS later announced it will air on 60 Minutes Jan. 17). “I have a thousand questions for Sean and for all the other people involved in this,” said Rose, who stole some thunder from This Morning colleague Gayle King, who announced a sit-down with the Obamas on Super Bowl Sunday.

Showtime broke news too, with David Nevins, president and CEO, saying the next season of Homeland will be set in New York, and that it’s not ending any time soon. Nevins tried his best to manage expectations on the Twin Peaks revival; good luck with that, pal.

The CW president Mark Pedowitz spent much of his session fielding questions about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Pedowitz expressed his love for the show repeatedly but stopped short of saying it would come back. Crazy’s Rachel Bloom was a surprise Golden Globe winner for best actress in a comedy, breathlessly saluting Pedowitz in her speech. “He’s the one who saved us,” she said. TV is a cold business, but it’s hard to see Pedowitz splitting with his Crazy-Ex after that.

Other entertaining panels included CBS’ Rush Hour, in which exec producer Bill Lawrence took serious issue with a question about reinforcing racial stereotypes, and Showtime’s Roadies, which included Cameron Crowe’s heartfelt remembrance of David Bowie. Crowe, who depicted his teen journalism tribulations in Almost Famous, spent six months with Bowie when the filmmaker was 16 and called him “the most generous and exciting interview subject that I was ever allowed a lot of time with.”

We also got a kick out of the panel for Amazon’s Mad Dogs. Amazon calls the Shawn Ryan series a “dark comedy,” but it’s way more dark than comedy. The anxious pilot features a character meeting his untimely demise at the hands of an assassin in the creepiest cat mask you’ll ever see. The beaches look gorgeous, but the Belizean tourism board can’t be too happy about this show.

More along the lines of straight-up comedy was Glenn Geller, in his first TCA executive session as CBS entertainment president. Asked about how rivals at the other networks have treated him, he quipped, “They all shared their programming strategies—at a sleepover at Dana [Walden] and Gary [Newman’s] house.”