Big Four Nets Bow Out of TCA Exec Sessions

ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC will not host executive sessions when the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour goes down in January. While the broadcasters will program their allotted days with show panels featuring producers and talent, the entertainment chiefs will not deliver presentations, though TCA stressed that the execs will at least be on hand during their networks’ respective days and might be reachable for comment through the appropriate publicists.

The CW is the exception among broadcast networks, promising an executive session Jan. 8. All are expected to resume exec sessions when TCA’s press tour convenes in Beverly Hills over the summer.

The news comes on the heels of Netflix announcing it is skipping the TCA winter tour, held in Pasadena, as is Amazon. A busy schedule, including CES (Jan. 5-8), the Golden Globes (Jan. 8), NATPE (Jan. 17-19) and a TV-enhanced Sundance Film Festival (Jan. 19-29), was cited as a factor.

The exec session dissolution wasn't about a crowded calendar, though, but rather the risk of having execs having to sit alone on a stage and field questions from a dramatically diverse crowd. In recent years, outlets from across the spectrum have flocked to TCA and often pressed execs about matters such as diversity or, in NBC's case, Donald Trump. Privately, many network execs have grumbled that they would prefer to get their messages out in a more tailored fashion. And apart from the exec sessions, networks are still planning full complements of show panels.

TCA’s winter tour, which sees the networks showcase their mid-season series, is set for Jan. 5-18.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.