Big Four Broadcasters Pull Out of Winter TCA Exec Sessions; Amazon Scraps Press Tour

Big Four Broadcasters Pull Out of
Courtesy of CBS

Executives from ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox will not participate in the traditional Q&A sessions at the Television Critics Association winter press tour next year. The TCA board confirmed the move by the Big Four in a note to members Tuesday.

Amazon Studios also confirmed to Variety Tuesday that it has scuttled plans to participate in winter press tour. The streaming service had been scheduled to present Jan. 5, the first day of the more than two-week long event.

“[TCA vice president Daniel Fienberg] and I have been in conversation with the networks and, unfortunately, given the jam-packed days ahead, Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC will not host executive sessions this tour,” TCA president Amber Dowling wrote Tuesday. “(They will resume the practice in the summer.) We’ve been assured the execs will be on hand during the networks’ respective days and that anyone needing quotes for their stories should reach out to the appropriate publicists. If you have any problems with access please let someone on the board know. (As ever, we encourage you to let the networks know how much you value executive sessions in both summer and winter.)”

Executive sessions have been a traditional cornerstone of press tour, which has for decades gathered reporters twice a year for a series of press conferences. The change of plans by the Big Four and Amazon comes after Netflix and Starz confirmed last month that they also will not participate in the coming tour.

Television executives have grown increasingly uncomfortable with the tenor of TCA press conferences, complaining privately that they receive little benefit in the way of generating publicity for series while exposing executives and talent to virulent criticism on social media. TCA members have argued that the event continues to be a useful forum for industry coverage.

Netflix and Amazon are expected to participate in the summer TCA press tour. The streaming services, which in the past have hosted their own press-tour days, are expected instead to be scheduled as part of lineup for CTAM, the cable-television industry group that hosts several days of each press tour.

The fifth major English-language U.S. broadcast network, the CW, still plans to hold an executive session at press tour in January.