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TCA: 5 Things We Hope to Hear At the Winter Tour

TV execs, creatives will face these trending topics during Jan. 9-23 gathering

If it’s January, it’s time for that extended game of Bingo known as the winter Television Critics Assn. press tour, which kicks off Thursday in Pasadena and runs through Jan. 23.

There may be an extra bit of goodwill among the assembled journos in the Langham Huntington Hotel ballrooms this year. Plenty of attendees will no doubt be happy to escape the frigid East and Midwest for a few weeks.

There’s always a few themes that run through the questioning of the execs, the actors and showrunners who greet the press at the twice-yearly tour. (TCA was trending before trending was cool.) Thanks to Twitter, it’s not hard to predict the topics that will be thoroughly covered (beaten to death?) during the cocktail-fueled long march.

BINGE VIEWING: This phrase will be uttered by someone at least once at every session. Even more than “Netflix” this time around. “Orange Is the New Black” is the poster girl for this topic, now that Netflix has given us the crumb of a viewership metric that the Lionsgate TV show is its most-watched original series.

“DUCK DYNASTY” FALLOUT: There will be much discussion of the nation’s red state-blue state divide and how it manifests itself in TV ratings. The power of the “faith community” to drive big numbers will also be parsed.

LIMITED SERIES: Will any of them work? Can we just call them miniseries already? ABC had a rough start last week with “The Assets.” Fox hopes to impress with its “24: Live Another Day” reboot, which will be shown off as the network’s opening presentation on Jan. 13. The return of Jack Bauer could be a hard act for Kevin Reilly to follow with his exec sesh.

STACKING RIGHTS: A little esoteric for most of the consumer press, but the subject of fighting between networks and studios over who controls VOD/SVOD rights on new shows will come up. It’s a simmering problem that is only going to get worse as pilot season progresses.

THE HILLS ARE ALIVE …: NBC’s score with “The Sound of Music Live” stunt will prompt many a “so what have you got up your sleeve” question to Bob Greenblatt’s peers.

In a bonus item, we hope for a fair amount of reasoned discussion about the vexing issue of diversity at all levels of the TV biz, especially in light of the recent scrutiny of “Saturday Night Live.”

Here’s the schedule of TCA events:

Jan. 9:
8:00 am – 8:45am BBC World News Channel Sponsored Breakfast
8:45 am – 11:15 am Discovery
11:30 am – 12:00 pm IFC
12:00 pm – 12:40 pm TV One
12:40 pm – 1:15 pm TV One Box Lunch
1:15 pm – 2:45 pm Lifetime/A&E
3pm – 6pm HBO
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm Discovery Evening party

Jan. 10:
8:00 am – 8:45 am Sportsman Channel Breakfast
8:45 am – 10:45 am Viacom
11:00 am – 12:30 am Starz
12:30 pm – 1:15 pm Lunch sponsored by MTV
1:15 pm – 2:45 pm Turner
3:00 pm – 3:30 pm Ovation
3:45 pm – 5:30 pm National Geographic Channel
5:30 pm – 6:45 pm Nat Geo Cocktail Reception
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm CNN/Turner Evening party

Jan. 11: Cable
8:45 am – 10:00 am AMC/Sundance
10:15 – 11:00 am Weather Channel
11:00 am – 11:45 pm Pivot
12:00 pm- 12:45 pm ESPN
12:45 pm- 1:30 pm Lunch
1:30 – 3:00 pm BBC America
3:00 – 3:30 pm BBC America Afternoon Sponsored Break
3:30 – 4:30 pm Up
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm Hallmark Channel Evening party

Jan. 12:
9:00 am – 9:45 am Breakfast sponsored by Al Jazeera America
9:45 am – 10:30 am Revolt
10:30 am- 11:15 am El Rey Network

Jan. 13-14: FOX and FX
Jan. 15-16: CBS, the CW, Showtime
Jan. 17: ABC
Jan. 18: NBCU cable
Jan. 19: NBC
Jan. 20-22: PBS
Jan. 23: Set visits

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