It's Fox's turn at TCA today and there's nothing like starting the morning with a panel about the creepiest new midseason premiere, "The Following," debuting Jan. 21.
The gory thriller from Kevin Williamson ("Scream," "Vampire Diaries") follows a former FBI agent (Kevin Bacon) called back to duty to track down an Edgar Allen Poe-worshipping serial killer (James Purefoy), the guy (cult leader) behind a growing web of murderers.
"These are people who don't need the slightest bit of convincing to do what they do," Purefoy said about his character's "following." "These are absolutely willing accomplices."
He and Bacon have an obvious cat and mouse dynamic, but they also have an interesting chemistry with one another -- a point a TV critic raised, prompting Bacon to lean over and plant one on the lips of Purefoy.
"Rule nothing in, rule nothing out," Purefoy said.
Williamson said his biggest struggle with writing for broadcast versus cable is trying to write a story that keeps the suspense going despite being interrupted by commercial breaks. But it can be done, he said.
"24 is like my favorite show of all time and Fox is where 24 lived," he said.
What is it about the genre of serial killers that appeals to him?
"Clearly Silence of the Lambs inspired me," Williamson said. "I read the book in a day and then I read it the next day again. The movie was amazing. When I was growing up, I always watched the scary stuff. I just liked the good guy versus the bad guy. This is sort of an escalation. Here's this guy who's not only this sort of mad man but at his core he's also a teacher...and he has found a way to assimilate his students to do his bidding. The FBI is constantly chasing its tail."
"The Following" marks Bacon's first time starring in a TV show. The veteran screen actor said he'd been looking to enter the TV arena for a while.
"I was looking for a long time, probably 3 or 4 years," Bacon said. "I initially had really thought it was going to be on cable. I read this one and I could not put it down. It was such a page-turner. I thought it was such an interesting character. Given the fast-paced, heart-pounding nature of it, it still had a lot of heart and sentimentality that I really responded to."