PASADENA, CA--After all the heat and headliners on the Cable and PBS portions of this press tour, ABC decided to bring it down a notch with the dullest TCA network day ever. The Disney network did at least have an executive session (unlike NBC, which is being Comcasted and doesn't plan to stand any of their suits in front of us just yet). Beyond that, however, they're only paneling one new show--Off The Map--a new medical drama from Shonda Rhimes (Grey's Anatomy) and featuring Canadians Caroline Dhaverneas and Rachelle Lefevre among the ensemble.The big ABC star in the house this morning was "Ballsy," a big red ball that worked the lobby wearing a long scarf in order to promote Winter Wipeout. "Ballsy" was not there to represent ABC's edgy new programming style, although that was what entertainment president Paul Lee tried to suggest during his session and after scrum.
Like the ABC talent not here today (there isn't even an evening event planned), Ballsy does not talk. One guy who was happy to gab was Winter Wipeout host John Henson, who had heard all about TVTropolis' upcoming spinoff Wipeout Canada.
"Ballsy wouldn't stand a chance in Canada," said Henson, who has seen our hockey fights. He wondered about the exchange rate. "Go for the Looney Wipeout," he suggests.
The Canadian stunt course is located near Buenos Aires, Argentina, which amused Henson. "Everything will look very tropical for you guys," he said. The large, outdoor B.A. stunt track is home to several international editions of the game, including versions shown in the U.K. and Russia.
The U.S. edition of Wipeout is shot about an hour north of Los Angeles, says Henson. "When you drive up to it, its like entering Thunderdome," he adds. "You expect to see Tina Turner descending on a wire."
Wipeout Canada still doesn't have a premiere date, but here's a suggestion for a Canadian mascot: Snow Ballsy. Hey, you're welcome.
ABC did have a few announcements today, including early pick ups for Castle, Grey's Anatomy, The Middle, Modern Family and Private Practice, as well as a show president Paul Lee was happy to stand behind, Cougar Town.
Not settled yet is the fate of Desperate Housewives. Lee says there is still plenty to hammer out--including contract extensions for the cast-- if the long running serial is to come back for an eighth season.