PASADENA -- Notes and quotes from the Television Critics Association press tour:
The TV antihero apparently is not dead yet.
With the passing of "Breaking Bad" and "Dexter," there's been talk that it might be time for the medium to back away from the dark and embrace the light. Time to go easy on the damaged and/or highly flawed characters.
But someone forgot to inform Greg Kinnear and the producers of the new Fox drama, "Rake."
Kinnear, making his TV series debut tonight, plays criminal defense attorney Keegan Deane. No, he doesn't sell meth or kill people, but he has a chaotic life, self-destructive habits and all kinds of flaws. Among them: a big gambling problem and a prostitute friend he pays to be his mistress. In other words, the kind of guy Kinnear was itching to play.
"To me, he wasn't built like a typical television protagonist. And so that was kind of what appealed to me," Kinnear told reporters. "But, you know, the good thing is he probably doesn't charge very much for representation."
"Rake" is based on an Australian show and is executive-produced by Peter Tolan, who knows a thing or two about flawed characters -- he co-created "Rescue Me" with Denis Leary. Tolan is aware that some in the broadcast audience might be uncomfortable with a character as edgy as Keegan Deane. On the other hand, he sees Kinnear as a guy who can play the role for some laughs and "make being a (screw)-up charming."
Kinnear, meanwhile, embraces the challenge of playing a guy who doesn't have a heart of gold, or who easily finds redemption.
"There are a lot of episodes where he learns nothing and makes sizable mistakes and recognizes it," he said. "But I think at the end of the day, he's brilliant at his work, despite the other self-destructive parts of his life."
SHERLOCK LIVES: The love for "Sherlock" continues to grow.
PBS reported that ratings for Sunday's Season 3 opener on "Masterpiece Mystery!" hit a series high with an average audience of nearly 4 million viewers -- a 25 percent increase over the 3.2 million who tuned in for the Season 2 premiere in 2012.
Much of that can be attributed to the robust popularity of the show's star, Benedict Cumberbatch. The British heartthrob stopped by the press tour to talk about the series, but not before making his way past a clot of fawning female fans.
When asked by a reporter what it feels like to be the subject of so much adoration, Cumberbatch humbly replied, "I think a lot of it comes with who (Sherlock Holmes) is. He's an iconic figure."
Thanks to "Sherlock" and an expanding resume of big-screen roles, Cumberbatch is now more easily recognized in public. Still, he tries his best to maintain an everyday, typical routine.
"I still take public transport. I still go shopping," he said with a smile. "I don't send minions out while I sit at home at the top of a tall ivory tower with guns pointed at the street."
ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS: Jimmy Fallon, who takes over NBC's "Tonight Show" on Feb. 17, has had ongoing phone discussions with Jay Leno for the past several months. Leno's best advice for the newbie? Lengthen your monologue and make it newsworthy.
Fallon explained that his typical monologue on the "Late Show" runs about four minutes, but Leno's openers, which cover the news of the day, run about nine or 10.
"He told me that a lot of people work all day, or they work two jobs, and they don't get around to seeing the news," Fallon recalled. "If they happen to miss the news, weirdly enough, they go to you for it. So you have to have a complete view of the news and make jokes about what's going on so that everyone knows."
THIS 'N' THAT: After experiencing incredible ratings success with its live airing of "The Sound of Music" with Carrie Underwood, NBC is eager to do another stage musical during the holidays. Next in line is "Peter Pan," set to air Dec. 4. The show has yet to be cast. ... When Leno closes out his 22-year "Tonight Show" run on Feb. 6, his final guest will be Billy Crystal, who was also his first guest in May 1992. ... Fallon's first guests? Actor Will Smith and the rock band U2. ... Filmmaker Ken Burns, who took on "Jazz" in 2001, has set his sights on another musical genre: country. He'll do a multi-episode covering its roots and greatest stars. It is to air in 2018.
When: 9 p.m. Thursdays