The Future of TCA

As the programming industry–and the writers who cover it–settle in today for the Television Critics Association’s two-week confab, several TV journalists have been weighing in on the state of the press tour and its uncertain future.

Coming after the January tour was scuttled by the writers’ strike, the fact that the July tour opens under a cloud of anxiety about the SAG-AMPTP negotiations only scratches the surface of the issue. Just as Hollywood is suffering through its own turmoil and uncertainty about where the business is going, the print media industry that covers it is a bit preoccupied with its own troubles.

Aaron Barnhart of the Kansas City Star summed up those concerns this way in a post at his TV Barn blog: "Glum is the operative mood these days, of course, given that no television critic has a right to feel particularly secure in his or her position."

In his post, Barnhart offers a lengthy rejoinder to two other takes on the press tour, from The Hollywood Reporter’s Ray Richmond and TV Week’s Joe Adalian, which alternately hail the past, lament the present and contemplate the possible future.

While Barnhart, a member of the TCA board (and an online journalist himself before landing at the Star), takes issue with Richmond’s complaints about the marked presence of bloggers and fan-focused online writers, he commends Adalian for offering an idea for how the tour can evolve beyond its current rigidity.

"The situation at TCA is not as dire as either of these columnists make it appear," Barnhart concludes. "Above all, for tour to change, or even go away, someone has to deal the first hammer-blow, and it will take a lot bigger crisis for that to happen in this risk-averse town. Maybe, though, what Joe is arguing is not that the situation is dire, but we should be acting as though it is."

Read the full blog post here.

By Joel Topcik