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TCA begins winter sesh with cablers

Networks schedule panels for hopeful new series

The Television Critics Assn. confab starts up in full swing Friday, with the networks using the 13-day confab to try and gather momentum for midseason.

Cable dominates the first two days, with heavyweights Turner and HBO bringing several new shows and telepics to the Langham Hotel in Pasadena. Though it would have make for an interesting give and take, HBO only schedules an exec session with programming president Michael Lombardo and newly installed CEO Richard Plepler during the summer portion of the tour, and Turner topper Michael Wright doesn’t face questions from reporters.

NBC will begin tour’s broadcast portion on Sunday, and will certainly crow about its fall turnaround. After languishing as the fourth-place networks for years, the Peacock has turned the ship around and is No. 1 in the 18-49 demo since fall.

Hoping to keep the momentum of its No. 1 drama “Revolution,” which is now off the air until March, NBC has scheduled a panel for the series, even though many of the show’s producers and cast appeared at TCA just last summer.

The network that comes into TCA with possibly the most pressure to turn things around is Fox, which saw disappointing results for “The X Factor” and newbie comedies “Ben and Kate” and “The Mindy Project.”

Network has “American Idol” on the way, however, and though numbers have been trending down from year’s past, the show will still deliver a healthy number compared to its broadcast competition.

What many scribes are talking about from Fox, however, is not the judges changes on the “Idol” set but, rather, the Kevin Bacon-starrer “The Following,” whose pilot has been getting strong reviews. Spooky drama could be a hit when it launches Jan. 21 in its 9 p.m. Monday perch.

Other intriguing new series that will take to the stage during the rest of the tour include “The Americans” on FX, “Golden Boy” on CBS, “The Carrie Diaries” on the CW and the freshman Showtime drama “Ray Donovan.”

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