Yesterday’s NBC day at the Television Critics Association (TCA) Summer Press Tour ended with a cocktail party around the pool area of the Beverly Hilton, where the network gathered the stars of its new late summer/fall broadcast and cable series to mingle with reporters. While the guest list included the likes of Matthew Perry (of the new sitcom Go On); Anthony Anderson and Tempestt Bledsoe (the new sitcom Guys With Kids); Style Network’s Bill and Giuliana Rancic; Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells (the new Ryan Murphy sitcom The New Normal); and the stars of J.J. Abrams’ new drama Revolution, there were a couple appearances that stood out.
The first stand out was from a non-human. Crystal the Monkey of the new NBC sitcom Animal Practice – who livened up a panel about the show earlier in the day — proved to be even more of a crowd-pleaser at the party. The monkey, famed in Hollywood for her role in The Hangover Part II, was with her handler in a corner of the party area, where reporters and celebrities (including Giuliana and Bill, as seen in the picture below) posed with the cute little primate for photographs. The handler had Crystal go through an array of gestures and poses with each person, including smiling, tapping the person’s head, hugging the person, standing on the shoulder, and even simulating a kiss (complete with tongue on the cheek). Crystal performed each act flawlessly for a long line of people, receiving with each successful maneuver a little bit of orange from her handler, making a chirruping/purring type of sound most of the time.
Later in the evening, another crowd formed, and it turned out that Sarah Palin had made an appearance at the party, in support of her husband, Todd’s, role in the new NBC competition series Stars Earn Stripes, premiering Aug. 13 at 8pm ET. In the series, from producers Mark Burnett and Dick Wolf, eight celebrities gather at a remote training facility where they will be challenged to execute complicated missions inspired by real military exercises. From helicopter drops into water, to long range weapons fire, the contestants will be tested physically, mentally and emotionally. Each will be paired with a special operative from a military branch or one of our first-responder forces, including former U.S. Army Delta Force and Green Berets, U.S. Navy SEALS, U.S. Marines and police officers, who will train alongside their partner and compete in the missions with them. Each of the teams is competing for a cash prize on behalf of a military, veterans or first-responder charity.
“The motivation is the show’s cause, you know, military. Shedding a light on the military, on our veterans, and then our first responders, and raising money, competing to win, competing to raise money for military-based charities,” Todd Palin said on an earlier panel about the show, regarding his interest in being on the show.
But most interest at the party was on his famous wife, and there was a rush to get photos — and, frankly, some unseemly and fannish behavior among normally professional journalists who acted more than a little “lamestream” on this night, becoming uncomfortably paparazzi-like.
Unfortunately, NBC did not bring the stars of its returning series to the party. It would have been interesting to see 30 Rock‘s Tina Fey meet Ms. Palin, whom she once famously parodied on Saturday Night Live.
Photos: Lisa Rose/NBC