Cocktails with the Peacock Stars and Reality Celebs

Kathy Bates, star of NBC’s “Harry’s Law.”

A bash for the stars of NBC Universal networks’ new and returning shows was held during the winter press tour for the Television Critics Association. The gathering at Pasadena’s posh Langham Hotel was a fine showcase for the programs from NBC, Syfy, Oxygen, Bravo, Mun2, and USA Networks.

It was a parade of dramas, comedies, voyeuristic reality shows, and talent competitions. Among my picks for the best of the bunch is the drama The Cape (airing Monday nights on NBC), about a comic book hero (played by David Lyons) who comes to life to fight corruption with the help of a tech wiz (Summer Glau) and a group of carnival misfits (lead by Keith David). Sure it’s fantasy, but don’t we all hope for a heroic leader to emerge when we need it most? The new Syfy series Being Human has another exciting concept. It’s based on a popular BBC series about three supernatural hotties: a ghost, a werewolf, and a vampire (naturally). They live together to help each other survive their dark urges, sometimes with biting wit.

Promoted as “a mama with a lot of drama,” the star of I Love Jenni (on Mun2) Jenni Rivera is actually a great choice for a familia reality show. Her life is fascinating as the shapely Latina music star juggles her five children, recording career, and creates a home with her new husband, all the while being one hot grandma! Contrary to the Kardashians, there’s a lot of heart to Jenni’s show.

NBC did a great job of delivering stars to their “cocktails with the Peacock” event. I enjoyed seeing the remarkably ageless Henry Winkler, who is part of USA’s acclaimed Royal Pains series. He also has the Children’s Hospital show on the Adult Swim channel.

Some at the party were true stars, such as Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates, star of the new NBC courtroom drama Harry’s Law. Series creator David E. Kelley wrote the role for a politically-incorrect 60-something grump.

“I come naturally to that,” Kathy says with a revealing smile.

Lisa Kudrow, the Emmy-winning Friends star, was there to promote season two of her Who Do You Think You Are? She’s the executive producer of the family-tree discovery show, premiering February 4. The Hilton family was also on hand, with Paris Hilton strolling the red carpet along with her mom Kathy and dad Rick. Paris has a new reality series The World According to Paris, which premieres this spring on Oxygen. I found her to be a genuinely lovely lady, which I hope will shine through on the show that has cameras following Paris night and day. At the party someone mentioned that Paris turns 30 on February 17. What do you get the girl who has everything? I asked her mom, who just shrugged.

There were others celebrities famous just for being famous, such as Bravo’s Real Housewives of New York City and Beverly Hills. They didn’t come off as sweet as Paris.

Rock stars in the culinary world, chefs/restaurateurs Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone, Lorena Garcia, and Steve Ells (Chipotle CEO), were there for the announcement of a delectable competition show, America’s Next Great Restaurant. Debuting March 16, it’s a nationwide search for the next big thing in the food chains.

Part of NBC’s new “Comedy Night Done Right” Thursday lineup, the fun-loving bunch from Community proved to be the critics’ darlings. Donald Glover, the group’s class clown, was trading jokes with folks. Yvette Nicole Brown admits to being “the nurturing mother hen.” She also gushed about having Malcolm Jamal Warner play her husband in an episode. The intellectual in the cast is Gillian Jacobs, and the prom queen is Alison Brie, “or Ken Jeong,” jokes Joel McHale.

“We’ve become friends who just like to make each other laugh,” McHale said.

The cast of Outsourced were seen enjoying the bash. There was lovely Anisha Nagarajan, Rizwan Manji, Parvesh Cheena, and Diedrich Bader, all happy to talk about the lavish Bollywood-style musical number upcoming on the sitcom. More fun guys were Zachary Levi and the Chuck gang, and also Amy Poehler and the Parks & Recreation crew.

The Event will be back with a thrilling two-hour event February 28, says stunning Taylor Cole, who stars with our favorite actor Jason Ritter, and got a big hug from him. Lucky gal! It was a congenial celebrity crowd that chatted away with press and network execs. And it was nice to see NBC toppers Angela Bromstad and Jeff Gaspin there. The Peacock should remain proud.