When Press Junkets Go Horribly Wrong

(not Anne Heche)

The Boston Globe’s Suzanne Ryan
had the distinct pleasure of attendending a TV critics’ summer conference in Los Angeles recently, a occasion presumably designed so the various networks could showcase their offerings for the upcoming fall season. W.C. Fields’ admonishment, “never work with children and animals,” apparently never reached Anne Heche, but were Fields alive today, “never work with Anne Heche” could well be useful advice for the American Broadcasting Company.

ABC is launching a new drama starring Anne Heche, a New York relationship coach who finds herself stranded in Alaska. In the pilot episode, she is freaked out when she discovers a raccoon in her hotel’s closet.

During a press conference, reporters wanted to know all about the raccoon, whose name is Elvis.

Is that a real raccoon or an animatronic? (Real)

Did you fly him into Vancouver to shoot? (No, a local hire)

Is he a recurring character? (Yes)

In the pilot, Elvis had a STUNT DOUBLE that ran down the stairs for him? (Yes, a DOG NAMED BOOMER DONNED A RACCOON SUIT for a staircase scene since raccoons don’t run, they lope).

Since raccoons are noctural, did you wake Elvis up to shoot? (Yes and Anne pet him to make him feel better)

Later, a Touchstone Television publicist told me with all seriousness that he and his co-workers had tried to anticipate every question we reporters might have tossed out but no one even thought about Elvis.

“We should have brought him here,” he said sadly.