After Mandy Patinkin announced he had walked off the CBS series "Criminal Minds" in the early days of Summer Press Tour 2007, TV critics dove enthusiastically into the "Wither Goeth Mandy" mystery, asking any actor or producer who'd ever come within spitting distance of Patinkin what he is like in their effort to get to the nub of the story. Why would someone who -- if he had a shrewd agent and got a cut of residuals -- was probably making as much money in a TV season as some critics made in their careers, decide to chuck his gig on this perv-tastic crime drama in the middle of its run?
(As a sequel, let's hope they investigate why, given that Patinkin had also cut out early on CBS's "Chicago Hope," the network's suits thought he was a good gamble to lead one of the procedural crime dramas that do so much to keep the network number one among viewers, affording the network the luxury of putting on new series this fall that are all about trying to get CBS some of the buzz it so sorely lacks. Shows like CBS's new musical drama "Viva Laughlin," its new vampire detective drama "Moonlight" and its midseason drama "Swingtown," about a town of, yes, swingers, in the biblical sense.)
Among the critics' targets was Bryan Fuller, who wanted to talk to them about his new forensic fairy tale "Pushing Daisies".
"Pushing Daisies" is about a guy who discovers at an early age he can touch a dead person -- say, someone who's just been murdered -- and bring them back to life, which is really useful if you'd like to know who knocked him off. Sadly, he must then touch them again and send them back to dead-dom or someone else will have to die to take their place because those are the cosmic rules. "Pushing Daisies" is so thick with buzz it's off the charts. Sadly, it's not a CBS series -- you'll find it on ABC this fall.
Anyway, most of those who'd been asked The Mandy Question responded along broad "It's not the first time" or "What did you expect?" lines.
But Fuller, who worked with Patinkin on the cable series "Dead Like Me," did not rise to the bait when asked, "What was your secret in getting Patinkin to finish the series?"
"I had such a ball working with Mandy," Fuller said to critics' surprise/chagrin.
"He's one of the most creative people I have ever met in my entire life," Fuller continued adding he was "a little bit jealous that [Patinkin] just got up and said, 'Enough.'"
"So I can't fault him for something that we all, in the back of our heads, think about from time to time."
Editor's note: The Summer TV Press tour has ended, but Lisa will share some of her favorite moments in the blog this week.
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