1696586_1280x720PASADENA, Calif. — A funny thing happened on the way to the Disney/ABC Television Group All-star cocktail party Tuesday night: a wake broke out.

Critics and the talent from the network made their way to the Viennese ballroom at the Langham-Huntington Hotel. Many of us stopped before we went in, however, arrested by a TV drama far more compelling and emotional than anything presented here at the TCA press tour: president Barrack Obama’s farewell address to the nation.

It played out on two giant, 4K monitors placed high up against the wall in the hotel hallway. Obama’s eloquent, classy goodbye was moving and impressive, but it was the moment that gripped the room. Stars from American Crime, new shows Downward Dog and Imaginary Mary, Scandal and the crusading social drama When We Rise stood in silence and faced the screens.

The sadness in the room was palatable. Mary-Louise Parker, one of the stars of When We Rise, was sobbing in the corner. Her co-star Rachel Griffiths looked stunned. It was sinking in to everyone that Obama was leaving and with him, seemingly to many, so much hope, so much promise.

Had America just jumped the shark? These are the thoughts that go through a TV critic’s mind.

Instead of working the party, gathering quotes from the stars of General Hospital or the young actors on Disney’s Freeform channel, all talk turned to Trump. Weeks of political denial seemed to unravel all over the party.


This as word of Trump’s latest alleged embarrassment filtered through the banquet room. The term “streaming” started taking on a whole new meaning.

Those of us from Canada recalled Rob Ford and looked sympathetic. I had several soul-searching conversations with colleagues, some asking how much blame the press should bear for an election outcome many dismissed as impossible.

Not everyone was glum. Young Vancouver native Burkely Duffield was still celebrating the surprise renewal earlier in the day when Freeform announced a second season pick-up of Beyond. Well-mannered and genuinely joyful, nothing was going to trump his night.

Otherwise, ABC likely took a hit on coverage Tuesday night. For once, critics escorted ABC’s hired security goons out of the room.

It would probably have been a good night for AMC to host a Walking Dead reception: the room was already filled with zombies.



Disney | ABC Television Group All-Star Cocktail Reception & Interview Opportunity
Join the stars and executive producers of ABC and Freeform shows for hors d’oeuvres in the Viennese Ballroom.

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