BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. >> A roundup of news from the Television Critics Association summer meeting, at which TV networks and streaming services are presenting details on upcoming programs.
Curry on Frank-n-Furter
Tim Curry's participation in Fox TV's "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" helped erode fan resistance to a remake of the 1975 cult film, producer Lou Adler said.
"As you can imagine, when we announced we were doing this there was a tremendous backlash from fans who have been with us for 40 years," said Adler, who was behind both the big-screen original and the Fox version airing in October.
"That all loosened up," he said, when Curry signed on to the role of Narrator. The actor played scientist and transvestite Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the film.
"You really made the difference," director-choreographer Kenny Ortega told Curry during a Q&A about the project.
"It was a blessing. I loved being there," Curry replied. Asked how he felt about Frank-N-Furter being his most enduring role, his reply was droll.
"That's not much I can do about it, really," he said.
The lovefest resumed when producers discussed the performance of Laverne Cox ("Orange is the New Black") as the new Frank-N-Furter. Cox didn't participate in the panel.
"She had so much to give to it," Ortega, also a producer on the project, said of Cox, citing her depth of talent, life experience and "incredible respect" for the movie. He recalled the first day of rehearsal for the cast album, when Cox performed "Sweet, Sweet Transvestite" with Curry, who uses a wheelchair, sitting alongside the pianist.
When she finished, Ortega said, Curry was the first to respond, shouting "bravo!"
Henson works it
Viewers may pay a lot of attention to what Taraji P. Henson wears as Cookie on Fox's "Empire," but guess who doesn't? Taraji P. Henson.
"It's not my job," Henson told TV critics Monday at a bi-annual press event.
She added that some actresses get caught up with what their character would and would not wear, but she's personally too busy paying attention to her lines.
That's not to say that some outfits have caused her to have colorful commentary.
"I remember one outfit I looked like I had aluminum foil on," another time "a sushi roll," and then there was a time she wore what resembled "fur noodles." But, in the end, she's fine with what's picked for her.
"I'm not the costumer. I tell them bring it to me, I'll put it on and make it work."
"Empire" returns for its third season on Sept. 21 at 9 p.m.
The talks are out there
Significant talks are underway with "The X-Files" stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny and creator Chris Carter for more of the drama series, Fox's entertainment president said.
"Schedules are hard, but we are working hard to get this done and we would love to get another season out soon," programming chief David Madden said.
Fox touted the 16 million viewers who watched each of the six episodes that brought the 1993-2002 sci-fi series back to this year.
But what about the mixed reviews it got, reporters asked Madden and Dana Walden, chairman and CEO of Fox Television Group. Because the series had been off the air for so long, it faced the challenge of filling in its larger "mythology" and fast-forwarding the characters' lives, Walden said.
"Going forward, there won't be the same obligation to reset the series," she said.
Walden disputed the characterization of how the show was received, saying it earned glowing reviews as well as negative ones. The chatter on Fox's social media platforms was overwhelmingly positive, she added.
Jake, meet Jess
Worlds are colliding on Fox as Andy Samberg's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" character Jake is about to meet Jess from "New Girl," played by Zooey Deschanel.
The network said characters from "New Girl" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" will cross over in back-to-back episodes airing Oct. 11.
The only plot detail revealed is that the "New Girl" gang will head to New York, where they meet the crew from the "Nine-Nine" precinct.
This isn't the first series combo event for the network. Last season "Bones" and "Sleepy Hollow" also crossed over, to ratings success.
"New Girl" premieres its sixth season, and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" debuts season four Sept. 20.
'Simpsons' times two
"The Simpsons" is doubling down with an hour-long episode in January.
It will be the first time the half-hour animated series has expanded to a full hour, Fox said.
Al Jean, executive producer of the series that revels in daring humor, included a political shot in announcing the episode.
"I just pray it won't be the last thing people see before a Trump inauguration," Jean said in a statement.