TCA Diary, July 21: The lesbianish weekend update

It’s been a few days since my last TCA Diary, so I’ve got a lot to get through. In the interests of brevity (and so that you don’t also feel like you’ve been trapped at this press conference as long as I have!) I’m only going to give you the highlights. They are: Lucy Liu, Lauren Lee Smith, Elizabeth Reaser, Toni Collette.

Although Cashmere Mafia has bitten the dust, Lucy Liu hasn’t entirely gotten the shaft. “I got a call from Steve McPherson
[ABC’s entertainment president] saying that Cashmere Mafia was most likely not
going to come back and that he still wanted to
work with me and keep me in the family,” she said. “And I
told him that I was a huge fan of Dirty Sexy

Liu then sat down with Dirty Sexy Money‘s producers and brainstormed about her character, who was created to fit in with some of the story lines the producers had been discussing. She’ll be playing Nola Lyons, described in ABC’s press materials as “whip-smart, overachieving and very fashionable.” When asked whether her character will be romantically paired with anyone, Liu answered: “I hope so. I think I’ll be
romantically paired maybe with all — everyone
that’s up here, including the women.”

Lucy Liu

Photo credit:

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

We always appreciate a shout-out, Lucy.

In other news, former soup chef Lauren Lee Smith has traded in her apron for a microscope (and various other scientific instruments) as the newest crime scene investigator on CSI. CBS’ president of entertainment, Nina Tassler, said that “this new
character is also going to give to the other
supporting characters and Marg [Helgenberger] an opportunity to sort
of show parts of their character, show parts of their
personality, that the audiences perhaps haven’t seen
ever before or at least in a while.”

Wait — Lauren Lee Smith is going to give Marg Helgenberger an opportunity to show off part of her personality we haven’t seen before? That sounds promising. Also slightly lesbianish, but I won’t hold my breath.

Lauren Lee Smith

Photo credit:

David Livingston/Getty Images

This season of CSI — the series’ ninth — starts off with a guest appearance by Jorja Fox in the conclusion of a cliffhanger that left Warrick dead. I had the opportunity to watch a screener of the season premiere, and though Jorja does show up, she has little to do with solving the crime, since she’s no longer working for the Las Vegas crime lab. The episode, which premieres Oct. 9, is certainly a thriller, though.

In another series featuring an actor who once played a lesbian, Elizabeth Reaser (Puccini for Beginners) will be starring in a new CBS series called The Ex List, executive produced by Diane Ruggiero (Veronica Mars). The series focuses on Reaser’s character, Bella Bloom, “a single, successful, 30-something business owner who is surprised to learn from a psychic that she’s already dated her future husband and … if she doesn’t find him in the next year, she’ll remain alone forever.”

Elizabeth Reaser

Photo credit:

David Livingston/Getty Images

Doesn’t seem like there’s much opportunity in here for any lesbianish tendencies, since the story seems focused on hammering home the “must get married to a man” story line, but hey, at the start of the press conference one male TV critic commented to Ruggiero that “there’s an inordinate amount of vaginal humor in the pilot.”

Ruggiero quipped in response, “I actually let my vagina write half the script.” Ba-dum-bum. (Personally, I was wondering what constitutes inordinate, anyway? There are certainly inordinate amounts of jokes about male anatomy everywhere!)

I also thought you’d be interested in hearing a bit about Showtime’s new half-hour comedy series, United States of Tara, starring Toni Collette and written by Diablo Cody. The series goes into production in September and will air on Showtime in early 2009.

Toni Collette as Tara in United States of Tara

As you may have heard, Toni Collette’s character, Tara, suffers from multiple personality disorder. In the clips that we were shown, one of the characters is a teenage girl, and one of them is a male redneck named Buck who likes to go shooting. Buck looked kinda like a badly done-up drag king, and I mean badly. I’m not sure that the clips made me want to watch the show, to be honest, but since it’s still early days, I’m sure it will change a bit before it goes on the air.

We also saw previews for several CW shows, including the new 90210 in which, yes, Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling will return; Privileged, based on the teen book How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls; and Stylista, which is a reality version of The Devil Wears Prada.

Stay tuned for details on the TCA Awards, in which Tina Fey took home two prizes.