Paramount+ Kicks Off the First In-Person TCA Tour Since 2020

By Behind the Scenes in Hollywood Archives
Cover image for  article: Paramount+ Kicks Off the First In-Person TCA Tour Since 2020

Pasadena, CA: The Television Critics Association is returning to something resembling normalcy this week (albeit with strictly enforced COVID protocols) as members gather at the Langham Huntington hotel for the first in-person TCA Press Tour since January 2020. In a sign of the times, as streaming eclipses broadcast in the eyes of the industry, Paramount+ kicked off the proceedings with a robust day of panels promoting a slew of new streaming content. The long absence of in-person gatherings wasn't lost on the participating talent.

The day began with a panel for Rabbit Hole, an eight-part conspiracy theory-themed drama billed as a "paranoid thriller where nothing is what it seems," starring and executive produced by Kiefer Sutherland (pictured above) and co-starring Meta Golding, Enid Graham and Rob Yang. (It begins streaming May 26.) Sutherland couldn't help but make note of the fact everyone was gathering again. As the questions began to pour in from the press, and Sutherland began to recognize some familiar voices in the room, he noted, "First of all, with my glasses and the fact that a lot of us have not seen each other for three years, even with the masks, I'm starting to realize who you all are. Hi! It's so nice to see you!"

That in-person sentiment was echoed during the day's second panel, which was for Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies. It's a musical series debuting on April 16 that further expands the enduring Grease franchise, and it stars Marisa Davila, Cheyenne Isabel Wells, Ari Notartomaso and Tricia Fukuhara. Set in 1954, a few years before the collective of women that formed the Pink Ladies in the classic stage and movie productions, it isn't all summer loving and beauty school dropouts, as the ladies break traditions and rebel against the societal norms of women in the '50s. Davila (pictured second from left above) was grateful to be at an in-person event to promote the series. "First of all, I want to say thank you all for being here today," she said. "I know it's going to be a long day for you, so thanks for even wanting to promote our show and support us. It means a lot."

The Star Trek: The Next Generation-inspired spin-off Picard will begin streaming its third and final season on February 16. While this season promises many bombshells, the cast is trying to keep those under wraps. However, when asked if he could be enticed to return for more installments of the series, Stewart did not rule out the idea. "As long as we keep the standard of seasons one, two and three, there is still enormous potential here," he admitted. "And we didn't close all the doors. So, yes."

Romcoms are also on the Paramount+ menu with the movie At Midnight (premiering February 10) starring Diego Boneta and Monica Barbaro as an assistant hotel manager and a recently single famous actress, respectively, who find love at a resort. Boneta was proud to admit the movie also serves as a "love letter to Mexico," where the movie was filmed. The network is also serving its Young Adult viewership with the new series School Spirits (pictured above), which begins streaming March 9. Described as Pretty Little Liars meets Ghosts, the series centers on dead high school students who see other dead high school students (including those from earlier decades), with the most recent addition to the collective struggling to find the person responsible for her murder.

Paramount also has high hopes for Fatal Attraction (streaming April 30), a serialized adaptation of the classic Michael Douglas/Glenn Close 1987 big screen thriller starring Joshua Jackson, Lizzy Kaplan and Amanda Peet (in the role originated by Anne Archer). Its creator, Alexandra Cunningham, also expressed her happiness at the return to in-person communication. "I have been working on this since October of 2020, so I am excited to be in a room with other humans to talk about it," she declared. During the panel (which was very lively, thanks largely to Jackson's comedic delivery), Cunningham pled the fifth concerning the details of any "bunny boiling."

With today's conversation about mental illness at the forefront, as compared to 1987, the cast is excited the series can take a deeper dive into the issue, more than might be possible within the constraints of a two-hour movie. "The fact that there is a big cultural conversation now about mental illness makes this a really timely exploration," Peet shared. "I think Glenn Close, even in her personal life, has been trying to give some attention to all of those issues, and I think it's a testament to Alexandra's taste and imagination that she wanted to bring this into the foreground and sort of relook at the story."

"[My character] Dan's mental health is also questionable," added Jackson. "He is a man who is not being honest with himself and has not really come to terms with some of the darker places inside of his ego. He allows his fragility, and privilege, to drive him down a path that causes immense damage to the people around him. So, while he's not diagnosed, I do think that there is maybe not equal balance, but there is at least weight given to the reality that it's not just that Alex (Kaplan) has issues and bumped into a person. Alex has issues, and Dan has issues, and they met at exactly the wrong moment to create this toxic soup together."

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