Note: Terry Morrow is reporting from the Television Critics Association meeting in Beverly Hills.
BEVERLY HILLS — Knoxville wasn't far from the minds of some celebrities at the CBS summer party for television critics Sunday night.
Billy Gardell said he wants to get back to our fair city a year from now, which will be the earliest time in his very busy schedule. Between shooting "Mike & Molly," doing stand-up, being a husband and a father, he's one busy guy.
"I want to go back and (do stand-up) there," Gardell, the star of "Mike & Molly," said of Knoxville. "I also want to get there to have more barbecue and sweet ice-tea. You can't that (in Hollywood)."
Meanwhile, Knoxville's barbecue menu was also on the mind of Phil Keoghan, host of "The Amazing Race." In 2011, Keoghan visited Knoxville to promote a documentary he produced and starred in. While in town, he dined at a barbecue spot off Kingston Pike.
Gayle King, who is a Chattanooga native, recollected that the last time she was in the Knoxville area was when she did a road trip with Oprah Winfrey for "Oprah." "Oh yeah," King, now a co-host on CBS's morning news show, said, "we zipped right through there. It was quite a trip."
Jeff Probst, host of "Survivor," had no direct stories to share of Knoxville, but he did have a comment on two of our most famous "Survivor" players: Knoxville natives Tina Wesson (who won the game's second edition) and Ben "Coach" Wade (who has played the game three times already).
"The thing with Tina is that she's so level-headed," Probst said, "but she's not the greatest contestant on the show. She's just a really good, level-headed player. She played a good level-headed game against Colby Donaldson."
On the other hand, Wade would be welcomed back anytime.
"I'm not done with Coach. I am never done with Coach," Probst said. "He's not on ('Suvivor') this next season. But you never know what will happen. We always have the season after (this next one). Coach is never done as far as I am concerned."
The CBS/ CW party brought out a small army of celebrities. Matt LeBlanc was there, chatting up "Episodes," his Showtime comedy now playing out its second season. He was unusually accessible. He arrived early and stayed until the party almost closed down. He really didn't have to try so hard. The critics — including me — already love "Episodes" and its send-up of Hollywood behind-the-scene antics.
Julie Chen, Justin Kirk, Tyra Banks, Brandon Roth, Jonny Lee Miller, LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell were just a few of the stars who were there to mingle with the press.
Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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