Peter Tolan came to the TCA Winter TV Press Tour to talk about Fox’s new Rake, based on the successful Australian series about a charming, self-destructive lawyer with no self-edit button, on which Tolan’s joining series creator Peter Duncan as executive producer. One critic reminded Tolan he’s best known at press tour for his profanity-laced screeds against broadcast TV, and wondered what he was doing at one now. “I’m glad you asked me that question “ he said, explaining he’s so annoyed by a note he got from the Fox publicity department about coming to the tour today as to what he could, and could not, talk about in the presence of TV critics. “I was so upset I wrote about it in my journal.” Out came the journal:
Sept 16: First Day of Shooting, Greg showed up drunk and with hooker named Tammy on his arm, claiming she is part of his “process”… demanded we give Tammy producer credit, so now she’s a fucking co-EP.
Sept 20: Call from [Fox Entertainment chairman Kevin] Reilly. He feels Rake would be a better fit if one of our characters has no head. I have no idea how to respond, but will cut most of John Ortiz’s lines and hope that addresses at least the spirit.
October 1. Peter Duncan still speaking Australian. I can’t understand a fucking word. And so on. Tammy, critics learned, is no longer with Rake, having gotten an overall deal with the Fox studio and sold a pilot to ABC for a series called Maniacal Murdering Whores. “Why is Lena Dunham naked all the time in Girls?” Tolan read from his journal ( — a gag referencing the kerfuffle that erupted days earlier in the tour when a TV critic asked Dunham why she spent so much time in the show nude and all hell broke loose. Note to Judd Apatow: the gag played big in the room.)
December 10: “Really ticked off. Apparently people at Fox publicity think I’m a child. Sent an email included list of things not to be discussed (at press tour). Top of the list – no surprise,
Sure, it was totally off point, since the Q&A was intended to promote Rake. On the other hand, the Q&A hadn’t been going that well, with critics honing in on the decision to bury the pilot episode about five or six weeks into the first season — which no TV critic is going to take as a good sign no matter how deftly Duncan explained it away. Critics also seemed dubious as to whether American viewers would cotton to a lead character so seriously fucked up as is Kinnear’s Keegan Deane lawyer character and whether the show could attract and sustain a broadcast-TV-sized audience (Fox hasn’t asked them to temper the Keegan character, instead telling producers “the boundaries are there to be pushed,” insisted EP Michael Wimer). The critics didn’t even seem to like the show’s title, wondering why they went with one so “idiomatic,” that a lot of viewers wouldn’t understand.
Kinnear got asked if he’s ever called anyone “a rake.” “Yeah — all the time,” Kinnear responded. ” I have a long history of people calling me “rake” in my family and my life. I was called a rake just this morning.” Added Tolan: “We’re also trying to pull in the highly coveted viewership of people who were alive during Elizabethan times – the 350-400 year-old demo.”)
So invested in Tolan’s journal did TV critics become one wanted to know what’s become of Tammy. Tolan said he did not know but he’s concerned because “she signed with CAA.” “I said, ‘You’re going to be one whore among many,” Tolan said he advised her of that move. “You want to be somewhere you stand out.”
TV critics gasped and giggled. “It’s my agency! Come On! What the fuck!,” Tolan roared. “I can say it. They’re my fucking agents — not that I ever hear from them.” “You’ll hear from them now,” Kinnear snarked.
As critics mulled what the future held for Tolan, post CAA/whore cracks, a strange silence fell upon the room. “The pants are coming down if the questions don’t come!” Tolan warned. It’s a threat he’d made good on back in Summer TV Press Tour 2011 during what was supposed to be a fond farewell Q&A for his series (with Denis Leary) Rescue Me. During a similar lull in that session, Leary noted the critics seemed bored. Tolan took his pants off, revealing oddly colored briefs. The room roared. Sadly, the Peter Tolan who now works for a broadcast network, that was an idle threat. No pants were dropped.
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