Two important themes have already emerged at Summer TV Press Tour 2005.
No, we're not talking about Why Are There So Many New Paranormal Series and Why Are There So Many Shows (mostly on HBO) About the Entertainment Industry -- two themes you've probably read about elsewhere. That's kids' stuff, the musings of press-tour flibbertigibbets -- the kind of journalist who probably wound up wearing a toga at the HBO ancient Rome-themed party on Friday night.
Serious students of television have, after careful observation, unearthed two bigger issues: Jennifer Love Hewitt and Adam Carolla.
Jennifer Love Hewitt -- "Love" to her friends -- and Adam Carolla are doing enough TV-related projects to program a minor broadcast network. Why, we want to know? And we're here to find out.
Something in the water has caused multiple TV suits at such far-flung places as CBS, ABC Family and AOL Television to conclude that what we crave in these troubled times is more Jennifer Love Hewitt. She actually kicked off Summer TV Press Tour 2005, appearing in a skintight black skirt and black peasant blouse tastefully unbuttoned at the top last Monday afternoon to announce the nominations for the AOL TV's Top 5 Viewer Awards, including such must-see-TV moments as Brit Brit and Kev having lots of sex on UPN's "Chaotic," girl-on-girl kissing on "The O.C.," Ken Jennings losing on "Jeopardy!," Paula losing her mind on "American Idol" when America boots rocker Constantine, and, of course, armadillo sex on David Letterman's late-night show.
After reading, perkily, the list of nominees, Love posed, Betty Grable-esque, at a computer on a plexiglass dais up on the stage while pretending to cast the first vote as a paparazzi mob screamed "Love -- to the right!" and "Over here, Jennifer, one more time!"
Friday, Jennifer Love Hewitt popped up in the clip of an upcoming ABC Family flick called "If Only," playing a super-sweet impetuous musician damsel in distress (actually dead damsel to be completely accurate) whose slightly self-absorbed but extremely gorgeous British boyfriend (Paul Nicholls) gets one of those do-over opportunities for their last day together again, with lots of helpful advice from a wise and kindly taxi driver played by the enormously talented Tom Wilkinson, who is probably wishing he could have one of those do-overs right about now.
Sadly, Love was not able to join us that day at the tour to talk about the challenge of playing a dead woman perkily.
But, she's on the calendar to appear early next week during CBS's portion of the tour. She'll speak to critics about the challenges of portraying, perkily, a super-sweet impetuous antique-store-owner chick who talks to dead people, while keeping an eye on her little white T-shirt to make sure it slips down her cleavage just enough to attract the elusive 18-to-34-year-old male audience. But not so much as to cause Brent Bozell to rev up his laptop and fire off another of those fire-and-brimstone complaints to the Federal Communications Commission. Yes, Love does all that and more in the new CBS drama "Ghost Whisperer."
In the interim, Adam Carolla has already appeared twice at Summer TV Press Tour 2005. Yesterday, he smacked down a critic when he came to pitch his new home renovation show for Discovery's The Learning Channel.
Carolla had appeared at the tour just the day before, to pitch his new late-night talk show "Too Late" for Comedy Central. That seemed to have gone well, with Carolla regaling the Mostly Men Who Cover Television with some of his of his "Man-Show"-esque schtick:
"I'd rather date an ugly woman than an attractive woman, so I get to be boss. You know what I mean? . . . You marry a troll and you're in charge . . . .Sure you take a beating in the bedroom but it's worth it."
We actually missed most of it while chatting up Comedy Central boss Doug Herzog in the back of the room as to what the heck is going on with missing-in-action, grossly overpaid show host Dave Chappelle. (Comedy Central boss to TV Column: "The ball's in [Chappelle's] court . . . if you see him tell him to phone home.")
Critics appeared to be having a good time. The next day, however, things got ugly. One critic began a question by noting that Carolla had starred in a short-lived sitcom. Which Carolla said, unpleasantly, was not the case.
"After 15 years [covering the TV industry] you all run together," responded the critic.
"Just go write 'The show sucks' and leave me alone!" Carolla shouted. "Go write something [poopy] about the show and give the mike to somebody else.
"Everyone has a problem with everything I do, but the shows are good," he complained. "So there you go . . . 'Minus four stars' . . . I got minus a million stars . . . .Fine, the show goes on and everyone likes the show . . . Next question . . . You got an axe to grind, go up to your room and write something [poopy]."
Later, another critic noted that he'd done a short-lived reality show.
"That was after the failed sitcom," Carolla snapped, about "me and a Hungarian soccer team" living in cramped quarters on a dry-docked submarine.
Things usually don't get this nasty until the second week.