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Actors talk about their shows, Emmy snubs, Betty White

Dale Roe
Katey Sagal keeps secrets on 'Sons of Anarchy.'

Television writer Dale Roe reported from Los Angeles for the Television Critics Association's annual meeting, which wrapped up last week. At austin360.com/tvblog, you'll find longer versions of these reports from the Fox, FX and ABC presentations, as well as news from other networks.

‘Sons of Anarchy'

Creator Kurt Sutter fielded the lion's share of questions from reporters at the FX cable network show's panel. Sutter, who also produced "The Shield," talked about working on basic cable. He said that since he's used to working on basic cable, he doesn't find it confining. "On pay cable, I'd have more room for violence," he said. "Although, do you really want more room?"

Some insights from the panelists on their characters:

  • Ron Perlman (Clarence ‘Clay' Morrow): "These guys are fighting for the lives that they have envisioned for themselves."
  • Katey Sagal (Gemma Teller Morrow): "It's interesting to be duplicitous and hold secrets."
  • Maggie Siff (Tara Knowles): "One of the writers told me, ‘I think you're the loneliest character on TV.' I rather like my lonely place."

A couple of other notes: Three of the nine panelists actually rode motorcycles to the panel. There was a discussion about Emmy snubs. Charlie Hunham, who plays Jackson "Jax" Teller, said that he feels that critical recognition has the potential to corrupt and ruin a good thing, so he was actually glad that the show was ignored by the Television Academy.

‘Raising Hope'

Feisty Cloris Leachman completely hijacked the "Raising Hope" panel during the Fox portion of the TCA Tour.

The comic actress demanded that reporters stand up; she insisted that she was not comfortable where she was seated, leading to co-star Garret Dillahunt moving her chair; she slammed Betty White.

"I'm so sick of Betty White," Leachman cracked. "Never liked her."

Once the rest of the panel wrested control back from her, they fielded questions about character and comparisons to "My Name Is Earl," creator Greg Garcia's most recent hit sitcom. "Raising Hope" features a lower-class family that inherits a baby when the son's girlfriend is executed in the electric chair.

"That's dark," Leachman said.

Garcia said that the show would share similarities with "Earl." "I kind of fell in love with that style," he said, but added that "Hope" will be more grounded.

‘Lone Star'

Extra! Extra! Adrianne Palicki misses Austin. The "Friday Night Lights" actress, now on Fox's new oil soaper "Lone Star," called herself "an honorary Texan," but bemoaned the fact that her new series is being filmed in Dallas.

"Dallas is no Austin," she noted (without any prompting from me) adding that at least the show wasn't filming in Houston. Ouch. Palicki later told me that Austin is her favorite city. "I'll be there on the weekends," she said.

Palicki plays one of two wives of a reluctant con man (James Wolk). Wolk's character is undergoing a moral crisis regarding his duplicitous and illegal activities that will spill from his professional to his personal life.

‘Body of Proof'

Dana Delaney has traded Wisteria Lane for Philadelphia. The former "Desperate Housewives" star is headlining ABC's "Body of Proof," a medical and police procedural described by executive producer Matthew Gross as "not your father's ‘Quincy.' "

Delaney plays Meghan, a disgraced, former neurosurgeon who becomes a hard-nosed medical examiner. I asked her whether her character, who is right to the point of being annoying in the pilot episode, will continue to be a crime-solving machine or if she will rely more upon the other characters to help solve the crimes she faces.

Delaney said that her character will be allowed to make mistakes. "I can see where it would be annoying — and ultimately, uninteresting — to always be right," she said.

Delaney said the character "goes back to my ‘China Beach' days. She's a complicated character and I like playing complicated characters."

‘Mr. Sunshine'

Matthew Perry is much nicer these days. Really.

The former "Friend" and star of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" talked about his new ABC mid-season replacement comedy, "Mr. Sunshine," and his somewhat friendlier disposition.

Perry talked about his character's epiphany: "This guy, while fun to be around, is just now learning not to be a jerk," he said. "This character is me five years ago, before any enlightenment," he said. "I'm much nicer these days." When asked about that difference, Perry said that all one has to do is to "look at any newspaper or magazine from 1996."

Dale Roe kept his Twitter stream humming with news from the Television Critics Association gathering. Catch up at twitter.com/djroe. Here's a sampling: