"You've got spunk. I hate spunk."
Any self-respecting TV aficianado knows Ed Asner spoke those words to Mary Tyler Moore in the first seg of Moore's iconic '70s sitcom, and spunk is what Asner brought to the Hallmark Channel presentation on the opening morning of fear and loathing between beleaguered nets and disgruntled journos, aka TCA.
During a panel dedicated to the upcoming Hallmark pic "Generation Gap," the first question asked of Asner -- a former president of the Screen Actors Guild -- was whether he thought his fellow thesps would strike.
"I have no idea, but I doubt it," Asner said, just warming up. "The town has been fairly terrorized and actors don't have more guts than the average person. ... The actors would vote for it (AFTRA deal) for it, and I would vote against it, but I always do the opposite thing."
Asner also went off about how Hollywood and the TV biz has changed over the many decades in which he's been doing stellar work.
"TV has been in horrible shape for awhile," he said. "When I came to California in 1961, there were three big networks and I remember going to MGM. It was the city on the hill. I didn't go back for a long time, after Kirk Kerkorian had taken over, and the city on the hill had sunk into the ghetto. It looked like a dump. It was amazing to see the deterioration and shocking to see MGM that way, because it was the king.
"Everything now is based on the cheap, with 30-second soundbites. And who owns the network this week, that sort of thing... What everyone is looking for is stabilization out of the chaos."