Big-Four Broadcast Presidents Bow Out of Winter TCA

by Paige Albiniak  |  11.29.2016

None of the presidents of the four broadcast networks will address reporters and TV critics attending the winter gathering of the Television Critics Association in Pasadena, Calif., and Netflix, Amazon and Starz all are electing not to attend.

January is a busy time for the TV industry, with such events as the Consumer Electronics Show (Jan. 5-8), the Golden Globes (Jan. 8), the presidential inauguration (Jan. 20), a TV-enhanced Sundance Film Festival (Jan. 19-29) and NATPE (Jan. 17-19), as well as Winter TCA. And all of that takes place in the middle of what’s become effectively a second launch window for broadcast networks, with many new shows debuting and others coming back from hiatus.

“[TCA vice president Daniel Fienberg] and I have been in conversation with the networks and, unfortunately, given the jam-packed days ahead, Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC will not host executive sessions this tour,” TCA president Amber Dowling wrote in an email to TCA members on Tuesday. 

Dowling said that executives will still be circulating at the parties that each network holds during the event and will return to the tour in the summer. Each broadcast network will still offer a day of show panels, and The CW, which is having a strong fall with its lineup of superhero shows, will still hold an executive session with President Mark Pedowitz.

According to Variety, television executives have privately groused that TCA offers far more to members of the press covering the event than it does to them in the way of publicity. Moreover, some executives, talent and shows have been harshly criticized on social media — in some cases while they are speaking on stage. Reporters and critics who cover television find the event useful, TCA argues, and it gives many outlets access to executives and talent that they can’t always get. 

Last summer, some broadcasters — and particularly CBS — took a lot of heat from critics, both in the room and on social media. CBS was criticized for its lack of diversity both on screen and behind the camera.

READ MORE: Variety, B&C 

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