Ellen Gray is the television critic for the Daily News and the Inquirer, and has written about TV since 1994. Her mind will go blank if you ask her to name her favorite show, because she has so many, but she would love to hear about yours.
What's happening on the West Coast, where TV critics have once again invaded an unsuspecting hotel -- this time it's the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, and are grilling actors, producers and the occasional network honcho:
No, it wasn’t anything we said.
Jimmy Smits’ new show for NBC, “Outlaw” – where he plays a Supreme Court justice who resigns and begins taking on long-odds cases – may not be staying in Philadelphia, where the pilot was filmed, but that’s just a matter of geography, Smits said Friday.
“We had a great time. The Philly crew was just incredible. The pilot episode had Philadelphia locations and because of that and the Atlantic City proximity [key to a plot point in the pilot] …and the historic facades of the buildings,” the city worked well for the pilot.
“Having said that, though, that was like the jump-off point. And since we’re going to be tackling cases that can conceivably be in Miami or Arizona or on the East Coast, the decision after we shot the pilot was, you know, Los Angeles kind of doubles for everything,” said the actor.
“Since all of us live in Los Angeles, we were always intending to do the series in Los Angeles if it got picked up,” said “Outlaw” executive producer David Kissinger. “So it was nothing about Philly that was disappointing. It was a fantastic experience in every way, but Los Angeles is our home.”
But at least Smits and company made it to Philadelphia.
"Body of Proof," a new ABC drama that stars Dana Delany as a know-it-all medical examiner in Philly, cheated on the city with Providence, R.I., where the series will be filmed.
"Proof" creator and exec producer Christopher Murphey set the show in Philadelphia because he's from there (a 1984 graduate of Central Friends, he grew up in Bala Cynwyd), but "a couple of curveballs later," he found it shooting in Providence, he said, claiming ignorance of the details.
"We call it Provi-delphia," said exec producer Matthew Gross, digging the hole a little deeper.
Afterward, Murphey did say that a crew had been sent to Philadelphia to film "establishing shots" that could be projected on a green screen to help make Providence look a bit more like the real thing.