Cable TCA Press Tour: Chuck Wepner On Boxing, Training & Ali [ESPN]

At the Television Critics Association Cable Press Tour today, Inside Reel attended the ESPN panel where it announced several of the subjects for the second season of ESPN Films’ “30 for 30” documentary series.  The series returns on September 27 at 8 p.m. on ESPN after a critically successful first season. On hand was the subject of one of the films, “The Real Rocky” directed by Michael Tollin.

The film tells the tale of Chuck Wepner, a New Jersey-born heavyweight boxer who is said to be the inspiration for Rocky Balboa. One year before that film, Wepner, a relatively unknown boxer, went 15 rounds with world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali until finally getting TKO’d in the final 20 seconds. It is said that Sylvester Stallone, watching the fight from home, was inspired to write the script for the Best Picture winner after watching Wepner’s performance.

Chuck Wepner was on hand at the ESPN stop of the summer press tour and had this to say about the status of heavyweight boxing in America today and his famed fight with Ali:

“I was only down one time with Ali in the 15th round. We don’t have good heavyweights [in America] anymore. Now it is these little guys. The people from Europe [still] train hard. The guys here want to go in a lot of different directions. They just want a payday and then they’re out. For the Ali fight, Don King sent me up to camp even though I was a 40-to-1 shot.”

“The Real Rocky” will debut on ESPN on October 25.

Wepner knocks down Ali in the 9th round

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TCA Summer Press Tour Studio Day: “The Simpsons” At Film Roman

Inside Reel stopped by Film Roman Productions yesterday as part of the Television Critics Association Studio Day. We snapped some exclusive photos of animators and storyboards at Film Roman’s headquarters in Burbank. We also attended a talk from Showrunner and Executive Producer of The Simpsons Al Jean who gave us some insights into the writing process for the show (now approaching its 23rd season). He told us what creator Matt Groening felt was the difference between The Simpsons and his newly-revived cult-phenomenon Futurama, and gave us a hush-hush sneak peak at what would happen on the show’s 500th episode coming up this season. Check out the quotes and pictures below.

Al Jean [The Simpsons]:

“We are a show that is written for adults that kids like.  The hardest thing is not to repeat.”

“I always think about how the shows will play in 5 or 10 years. Matt [Groening] always says that ‘The Simpsons’ is a cartoon but ‘Futurama’ is real.”

“There is a big town meeting we’re doing for the 500th episode (airing in Feb 2012) where Springfield plans to get rid of the Simpsons.”

Homer Being Drawn

An animator at Film Roman works on Homer Simpson

Animation on The Simpsons

Animator works on Simpsons character

Homer Simpson Storyboard

Storyboard art of Homer Simpson

TCA Summer Press Tour Studio Day: CBS Panel On Twitter

Inside Reel’s Tim Wassberg attended a panel of CBS stars discussing their thoughts and opinions on Twitter at the Television Critics Association Studio Day this afternoon. Here’s what some of the panelists had to say:

L.L. Cool J (“NCIS”):

“I would think having social media is akin to having radar and sonar.  You see 
what is coming. You see the trends, You see what is on the  horizon. It gives 
you the ability if you pay attention to adapt to what  is going on in the 
world.”

Pauley Perrette (“NCIS”):

“I have “Don’t drink and write on my computer”…and I definitely don’t drink 
and tweet. As a celebrity, when you are in the public eye, it is dehumanizing. 
Social media has given us the power back. Anything I read, I can put the real 
information out. You can combat lies about yourself. That specifically takes the 
fear out of the fodder.”

Jeff Probst (“Survivor”):

“Twitter allowed me to be back in control of what I say and not go through a 
publicist or network. We’re doing a casting twist that was done by an informal 
twitter poll. The response was so fast and so clear to what they [the fans] 
like. It is a direct impact to how we are producing the show.”

Chloe Sladden (Director Of Content & Programming at Twitter):

“There is alot of open innovation. it is a night and day shift from two years 
ago.”