Hope springs eternal for actors in new fall TV series

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It’s the moment before the moment of truth.

The new fall series are in the wings, just days or weeks from bursting into view and discovering their fate. Their stars, producers and network bosses are full of anticipation and resolve.

That’s what the recent Television Critics Association powwow was all about: Casts and execs parading before the nation’s TV reporters to get them stoked.

Granted, many of the stars who hawked their show with such conviction were relying on blind faith. Most were still a few days from resuming production. Some hadn’t even seen any upcoming scripts. Their only firsthand knowledge was based on the series pilot they shot months ago.

But never mind the unknowns to be dealt with once they got back to work. They were excited that soon their show would reach the public and, just maybe, catch fire and air for years, then reign forever in syndicated reruns — a jackpot that might bring them new or boosted fame and untold riches, even a place in the annals of great TV.

The stakes are sky-high and, each fall, hope springs eternal.

So does reasonable doubt for most of the stars. They know launching a series that clicks with viewers is like striking oil or taking gold at the Olympics.

The painful truth is, shows the stars plugged at TCA most likely will be gone a year from now, when some of the same actors could be right back here promoting their next series — those actors, that is, who are lucky enough to land another series so quickly.

Consider Laura Benanti from the NBC comedy “Go On,” who a year earlier sat on the dais in the Beverly Hilton Hotel’s grand ballroom as part of the ensemble of NBC’s “The Playboy Club” — which was axed last fall after airing for just three weeks.

Alongside her was “Go On” co-star Matthew Perry, who last season was at TCA plugging his ABC sitcom “Mr. Sunshine.”

During the “Go On” session one reporter’s question to him began with, “A lot of people in this room liked ‘Mr. Sunshine,’” whereupon Mr. Perry got laughs with a joke at his own expense: “This is the room where people liked 'Mr. Sunshine'?”

“Mr. Sunshine” came and went in early 2011. Now Mr. Perry (whose new show got a sneak preview on Wednesday after NBC’s Olympics coverage) is primed to take another swing.

So is Anthony Anderson, whose many TV credits include the Fox drama “K-Ville,” which lasted just a few weeks in fall 2007.

Now he’s in the NBC sitcom “Guys With Kids,” and exuding positive energy.

“It’s the job that I have at hand,” said Mr. Anderson at NBC’s poolside party, “so I send nothing but positive energy to it. That’s the only way it’s going to be successful. You manifest your own destiny.”

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