Notes and quotes about the new fall season:
*Later start dates . . . It doesn't look like the networks are going to follow past practices and premiere some new series in late August or early September before the official season begins.
Even the CW and Fox, which often try to get a head start on the competition, have announced later start dates than usual for series.
"It has had a bad track record I think," said new Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly of the early starts. "You have to be careful with August, because there really are those dog days where the [viewing levels] are down. More importantly, even if they are there, somehow it is very hard to pierce the culture. Your marketing efforts are just not really connecting. People are not in the mode to brush off summer and focus on the new stuff."
However, he added if you have a good show, like "Prison Break," the early premiere strategy will work.
"I'll tell you one thing that has gotta be on people's minds," added Reilly. "Given the challenges of the spring last year, where the repeat pattern was so hideous, if you use shows in August, you're going to be that much thinner come spring, and that weighs heavily on everybody's mind."
Reilly, who has been on the job a week, is unconcerned over reports that the producers of "24" had to scrap their original idea for next season. "I got to believe this has happened before, and it is coming off some more scrutiny," said Reilly. "I think it might be kind of in the wind -- something that might really be business as usual."
*Learning from mistakes . . . "American Idol" producer Nigel Lythgoe admitted some mistakes last season during a session for another of his Fox shows, "So You Think You Can Dance."
"We didn't really show the personalities of the people," said Lythgoe. "We were so engrossed with the mentors that were particularly good last season, and we focused on their stories and not really on the Melindas [Doolittle]. And we didn't know them as much as we knew the Kelly Picklers from the season before." It has impacted how "Dance" has been run this summer.
"This season, we've really gone out of our way to focus on the competitors' thoughts, their feelings, their emotions, so that we're all attached to them a little more than if they were just dance competitors . . . We can see what makes them tick and there are just little emotional hooks that come out and pull us into them."
*Actors in two series . . . It is hard enough for most actors to get one job, but there are several stars in new series that already have roles in successful shows and may have to find some time to end their stories from last season.
Nestor Carbonell, who has a big role on the new CBS drama, "Cane," plays the ageless guy on "Lost," Richard Alpert, who recruited Juliet to the island. Eric Winter, who stars in the CBS musical drama, "Viva Laughlin," plays the gay brother of the senator played by Rob Lowe on "Brothers & Sisters." And Missy Peregrym, who plays the character on "Heroes," Candace Wilmer, who can morph into other characters and give you the illusion she is someone else, plays a love interest in the CW show, "Reaper."
They all were available for new shows because they aren't contract players on their old series. But Carbonell said he would like to return to "Lost" if his schedule allows. Winter said he will go back for one episode of "Brothers & Sisters" to wrap up his story line. Peregrym said "Heroes" has already contacted her agent to see if her schedule can accommodate both series. She would seem to be the most easy to replace. After all, her character could easily morph into some other actress.
Of course, the scheduling conflicts might not be that big a problem when you consider how quickly many new series are canceled. Ask Kim Raver, who was able to return to "24" last season after her critically acclaimed ABC series, "The Nine," was quickly given the boot.
*Pussycat Doll news: One of the most popular CW series in Buffalo last season, "The Search for the Next Pussycat Doll," didn't exactly complete its mission. Dawn Ostroff, the CW entertainment president, provoked laughter here when she explained that the winner, Asia Nitollano, decided to pursue a solo career. "We always said that it's their choice to either do a solo career or join the Pussycat Dolls," said Ostroff. In the show's second season, the Dolls will be forming a new girl group that has to be able to dance and sing. "Obviously, they'll be quite attractive," said Ostroff. Obviously.
Gilmore reincarnation . . . Scott Patterson, Luke in "Gilmore Girls," has landed on his feet after that show's cancellation by playing the father in a new CW comedy, "Aliens in America." He replaced an actor who did a good job in the pilot but isn't as recognizable a name or face. Patterson may have given the most honest answer you'll ever get here when asked if he was anxious to return to a series after "GG" was canceled. He said he had signed a contract to do another season of "GG."
"I also had in that contract the hold deal with Warner Bros. that if, for one reason or another, 'Gilmore' didn't come back, that I would be placed on another Warner Bros. series," said Patterson.
*E-mail response . . . Finally, creator-executive producer Mark Olsen of "Big Love" has advised me via e-mail that the HBO drama wasn't eligible for Emmy nominations because of its late air date. And Isaiah Washington of "Grey's Anatomy" has reportedly said he didn't submit his name for a nomination.