Around the world in 80 shows: 2010 TV travel highlights Part One

Looking out toward the harbor from The Citadel in Halifax

Cover television, see the world. Who knew?
One of the great thrills of 2010 has been being offered the chance to go to so many exciting places and do so many interesting things. I’ve never traveled so often and so far in my life, 12 different road trips in 12 months. Five separate trips to California, twice to Halifax, once to New York and then Buenos Aires, Argentina (to the set of TVTropolis’ upcoming Wipeout Canada) and Budapest, Hungary (CTV’s The Borgias) with Yellowknife and another spin aboard a DC3 with the fly boys of Ice Pilots NWT earlier this month being the icing on the cake.
Coming off trips to St. John’s, San Francisco and Yellowknife in late 2009 and no wonder I was able to use points to book my flight to Pasadena and another press tour next week.
Here are some photo highlights from a busy year of travel at TV Feeds My Travel Bug:

March began with a flight out to Halifax as the gang from This Hour Has 22 Minutes were putting the finishing touches on another season. The four member troupe could not have been more accommodating as were all of the gang at Halifax Films or whatever they are calling themselves these days. Seeing a live taping of this show at the red-brick CBC studios is a perk I’ve enjoyed several times over the years, and it never gets old. With ratings up after a shortened 17th season, let’s hope CBC re-ups this East Coast treasure for a full run next year.

That Mentalist guy is good–he doesn’t even have to be there to conduct an interview. Actually he does and was–Simon Baker spoke to critics gathered on the set of The Mentalist during the Warner Bros. International press junket held last March in Beverly Hills. His executive producer compared the dude to Charlie Chaplin so pay attention next time you see him do the dance of the rolls or other bits of business.

The WBIPJ was held at the SLS Hotel, an uber trendy boutique close to everything Beverly Hills. Each floor had its own pool table play area complete with black and grey Mr. Ed chairs and chrome rifle lamps. The rooms were all very Austin Powers, with shag duvets and square sinks and taps.
The large Plasma screen in the swingin’ bachelor pad hotel room was hidden behind a floor to wall frosted mirror deal that took longer than usual for this critic to figure out. A slit in the side, I figured, was where DVDs went in. I had to screen the CBC Don Cherry movie “Keep Your Head Up Kid” and popped it into the funky screen-o-rama set up. Trouble was, I couldn’t get it out, so the beautiful people at room 212 at the SLS Hotel got a free two week preview of Grape’s bio-pic.

The mod rooftop pool at the SLS. “Critics delouse before entering”

A highlight of the WBIPJ was a visit to the set of The Big Bang Theory on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank. I’d been tot he set before on press tours but being embedded with foreign press on these deals seems a lot more informal and friendly. The show had not quite become the enormous hit it has since then (especially in Canada) and the cast were all very friendly and accommodating, yakking in small circles right on the set. I recall Kaley Culio talking about her three horses and riding and show jumping and how that was how she liked to relax every weekend. Doesn’t that give the studio fits, she was asked. “They don’t know the extent of it,” she replied. “I think they think I go pet my horse and give him a carrot. I don’t think they know exactly what’s going on. But, yeah. We’ll keep that between us.”
Oops. A riding accident at the start of the season knocking Culio out of a few episodes probably has put a dent in her weekend horseplay.

A return trip to Halifax in May brought me and several other eventually sunburnt critics out to the set of Haven, the new sci-fi drama already picked up for a second season on Showcase. Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant (right) and Eric Balfour were loose as gooses on set, with Balfour psyched about getting to challenge some Atlantic surf.
Kudos to new mom/Showcase PR doll Nikki Lamb Tudico for wheeling us all over Nova Scotia in her rented 4×4. The girl could drive for the Feds.
That trip eventually wound back to Halifax and a location shoot for those crazy bastards from Trailer Park Boys, Mike Smith Rob Wells and John Paul Tremblay. The trio was at work on their next whack job for Showcase, Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour. The scene they were shooting that day will never ever see the light of day, due to the untimely passing of the great Maury Chaykin, but hopefully the series will surface soon. I’m dying to see if it comes even close to being as funny as it was described to me by the boys, seen below winning a 2000 Neon.

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