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Dearly Departed

NBC's first day at Summer TV Press Tour 2007 to tout its new and returning shows for fall involved a surprising amount of talk about subjects having to do with neither.

Toward the end of the Q&A session for NBC's new "Life" - watch it for Damian Lewis alone - co-star Adam Arkin was asked about the morning's news that Mandy Patinkin had exited CBS's hit "Criminal Minds," on which Patinkin starred as FBI profiler Jason Gideon.

"He's done it before," Arkin responded. Patinkin was Arkin's co-star on CBS's "Chicago Hope," leaving that show in its second season, though he later returned to the doctor drama. All told, Patinkin shot 54 episodes of "Chicago Hope"; he's done just 45 episodes on "Criminal Minds."

"Criminal Minds" is an important player for CBS because it is probably the most "American Idol"-proof show on any network. The producers say they are going to add a new character to replace Patinkin and his character's exit will be explained early on in the coming season.

Then, during a Q&A with stars and exec producers of NBC's Thursday comedies, "30 Rock" creator Tina Fey was asked whether, one year earlier, she would have predicted hers would be the primetime series about a "Saturday Night Live"-ish comedy show to survive. "30 Rock" was one of two freshman NBC series to tackle that subject last year; the other being Aaron Sorkin's much ballyhooed "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip."

"100 percent," Fey shot back, then thought better of it and added, "I have a nasty 'SNL' streak in me, so I'm going to say 150 percent."

Later, during a "SNL" Q&A session, executive producer Lorne Michaels said Sorkin "put himself in a difficult position" on "Studio 60" -- "doing a drama series about a comedy show."

Editor's note: For more on the Summer TV Press Tour, read Lisa's column: NBC's Rosie-Colored Glasses

Watch a clip from the new NBC series "Life" from our Fall TV Video Preview

VIDEO | Life

By Lisa de Moraes  |  July 17, 2007; 7:56 AM ET
Categories:  Summer TV Press Tour 2007  
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