The 1980s and ’90s Hollywood hotties cast in Investigation Discovery‘s three-part summer series Heartbreakers got pretty undie-bunched this morning at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014 when a TV critic re-named their true-crime series True Crime Sharknado.
But a giant V-shaped depression had formed in the hall long before that. TV critics in the audience had guffawed pretty loudly before the Q&A portion of the festivities when the network showed them clips of the series’ three episodes — all based on real life stories about “dreamboats who turned into nightmares,” as Group President Henry Schleiff described the project, debuting August 13.
When one TV critic began to prattle on happily about how “campy” the project is, former Baywatch babe Nicole Eggert shot back: You call it campy — but it’s a true story…It was very emotionally honest.”
“You have to approach it with a realistic sensibility… you don’t want to approach it as a joke,” chimed in former Growing Pains cutie Tracey Gold. Kevin Sorbo explained to critics they were not seeing the interviews with the stories’ actual victims that will be woven into each episode, which he said, with a straight face, gives them a “20/20 feel.”
“On top of that, they paid us a lot of money,” Sorbo snarked.
That’s when another critic suggested the series wasn’t so much 20/20 as True Crime Sharknado. “Sharknado was a hit,” snapped Eggert, like she meant it to sting.
Exec producer Pamela Deutsch jumped in here to calm the waters, agreeing there could be — “like life” — “moments of real seriousness, moments of tenderness” and “moments of humor” in the series, adding, “it ebbs and flows that way.”
To recap: Heartbreakers is a sort of macedoine of 20/20 and Sharknado. And peace reigned — for about a minute.
Sorbo bristled when a TV critic asked him to discuss his recent “comeback” having “left Hollywood” — or, having had Hollywood leave him. “I don’t know if I left Hollywood. I shot 50 movies in the last nine years. I’ve got about eight other movies in the can,” he said.
Another critic asked Eggert to talk about the “ridiculousness” of her storyline, in which her character finds herself married to a guy who’s already got a wife. “You’re asking a woman who’s never been married — and I have two kids. Relationships are hard, and they’re difficult. The woman I portrayed had already had a failed marriage and a child and was trying to open her heart and trust somebody and he wasn’t a good guy. It’s almost typical,” Eggert responded.
Another critic, probing a wound, asked the panelists to discuss how it feels to be so entirely identified with their decades-old characters.
“They don’t ever go away,” replied Christopher Knight, aka Peter Brady, who’d looked particularly unhappy to be here — but then his clip got the biggest laugh from the critics. “I’ve reached a peace with it.” Sorbo said he hated being Hercules in the ’90s, but loved playing Captain Dylan Hunt in the more recent Andromeda, adding that he knows loads of actors who would “give one testicle to get on one series in their lifetimes.”
“If we weren’t on those shows we wouldn’t be here,” Eggert added, accurately.
Sorbo told the oft-told Michael Caine story — it may even be true — in which he was asked why he took a role in one of the Jaws movies, and if he ever actually watched the finished product, and Caine responded, “No — but I saw the house it bought me in Spain.”
In April, Investigation Discovery unveiled its new slate of cheesetastic shows, including A Stranger In My Home, Obsession: Dark Desires, Beauty Queen Murders, I’d Kill For You, Evil In-Law, Fear They Neighbor, and our personal fave, Elder Skelter, about people “too old to keep dry britches” who nonetheless committed cold, calculated crimes. “Did they suffer from dementia, or had their spent a lifetime surpressing sick fantasies?” ID asked, rhetorically.