NBC to TV Critics: Drop Dead

NBC has become the first network to declare its intention to skip the TV Critics Assn. winter press tour if the strike is still on come January.

That’s the latest from the TCA’s own Henry Kissinger, prexy Dave Walker. Walker sent an an update to his own scribe tribe via an email this morning.

Per Walker, the Peacock declared its intention to pull out during a conference call Monday. The other broadcast nets remained on the fence. They all “expressed concerns about staging adequate presentations if the strike continues, but didn’t rule out participation,” Walker wrote. “They said they’d like to present but aren’t sure what shows or people they’ll have available.”

Cable and PBS are still set for the tour, and a quick poll of the TCA membership indicated that a big chunk still plans to attend a shortened event (though attendance would be down from last year).

NBC’s stance against attending the TCA is at once both expected and a head-scratcher.

It makes sense NBC would take the opportunity to save several hundred thousands of dollars. At least until Jeff Immelt unloads the network after the Olympics–if you believe the conspiracy theories floating around the Internets– it’s still owned by GE.

On the other hand, NBC capo Ben Silverman has been public about how well-prepared NBC is for a strike. He’s got pilots ready to roll, and a mountain of unscripted series waiting to be unleashed. Why wouldn’t the net want some face time with journos in order to hype shows such as “American Gladiators,” “Battle of the Choirs” and “Baby Borrowers”?

On second thought…

Walker’s full e-mail to the TCA is after the jump.

UPDATE: An NBC spokeswoman explains the Peacock decision as a prudent financial move at a time in which every dollar counts. Because of the strike, “These are challenging times,” she said. “We felt it was not prudent to move forward with a TCA session. It was a difficult decision.”

–Josef Adalian

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