TCA Kick Off: Burning Questions for TV's Top Executives

John Landgraf - H 2015
AP Images/Invision

John Landgraf - H 2015

The Television Critics Association's winter press tour is now underway, and the semiannual confab will see broadcast networks, cable outlets and streaming services trot out legions of new and returning series. Peak TV is on full display between now and the so-called Death March With Cocktails' final day on Jan. 19.

Here, The Hollywood Reporter breaks down the burning questions facing many of the networks this tour.


The Paul Lee-led network is now tied for No. 3 with Fox. How do you plan to rebound by year's end? Quantico ranks as broadcast's biggest time-shifter. A hit is a hit, but its growth is almost head-scratching. What has research told you about how (and why) the show is being consumed the way it is? We promise not to make (many) cracks about Wicked City, but can you explain how you plan to revive your long-suffering 10 p.m. Tuesday time slot slot? It's one of the least hospitable on the broadcast calendar, as you know. (RIP, Forever, Killer Women, Lucky 7, Mind Games ... ) And can we talk about all of the behind-the-scenes antics on your midseason hour-longs? We've heard nothing but drama coming from Of Kings and Prophets and The Catch. What's the current plan for re-rebooting The Muppets?


The Blacklist— sorry, we mean Blindspot — is a hit. Bob Greenblatt, are you going to tempt fate and move it, like the Blacklist, or keep it in its choice post-Voice hour? The Wiz was a huge success and erased all those bitter Peter Pan memories. What's next on the musical front? What about comedy? You've been shying away, but Superstore seems to be sparking a bit on Mondays. You've got a stacked bench and have already effectively set your midseason schedule — so where will The Night Shift, Crowded, Heartbreaker, Game of Silence and mini Emerald City go? And, perhaps more importantly, when will The Carmichael Show return for season two, and how do you plan to build buzz around the critical darling? Also, please tell us you're not planning on a fourth series in Dick Wolf's Chicago empire. Three is enough, yes?


Welcome, Glenn Geller. It's your first time, so this shouldn't be too rough. But please tell us: is there be any difference between your taste and your predecessors — or will CBS continue to toe the Les Moonves-approved line? And No. 2 is nice, but Stephen Colbert has hardly lit the ratings afire. What do you think of the rollout thus far — and how do you plan to win over audiences after the Super Bowl? Speaking of the NFL, hear anything on the chances of Thursday Night Football coming back next season? Let's talk about Supergirl. It's hardly the biggest hit of the fall. How patient do you plan to be with the property? While we're at it, what happened to Rush Hour? It tested so well, but it's still nowhere to be seen on the schedule. And where's the fifth season of Person of Interest? Given both shows are produced by an outside studio (Warner Bros. Television), how much of a priority are they? NCIS is losing another star with Michael Weatherly departing at season's end. How much life is left in the series? Speaking of which, are you going to ever confirm Mike & Molly's final bow?


So, we're not talking about same-day ratings, but time-shifting doesn't heal all wounds. Are you ready to call a spade a spade on Sleepy Hollow? And have those Bones lawsuits stuck a fork in the chances of a potential 12th season? Empire is still broadcast's crown jewel, but it did experience some slight fatigue. What have you learned from the rollout this fall? Any feedback, creatively? Did that expanded 18-episode order have anything to do with it? And what of American Idol? How big of a send-off will the show get if it returns to more ratings drops? Speaking of which, we're entering pilot season. How many of those vacant Idol hours do you plan to give to scripted next season — and how much of that hinges on new reality?

The CW

Mark Pedowitz has won over critics with DC Comics fare, with Arrow and The Flash spinoff Legends of Tomorrow due this month, but how much is too much? Your vampires have been showing age with The Vampire Diaries and spinoff The Originals both moved to Fridays: will that be the final steak in their respective hearts or is there a future for the Julie Plec-produced duo? Plus where is Plec's Containment? Critical favorite Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is the lowest-rated show on broadcast TV. How can you feasibly plan to keep it on the air and, if so, boost ratings for that and Golden Globes darling Jane the Virgin?


AMC: You had a banner year in 2015 … how do you plan to keep it up? And is there any way to launch a show not on the heels of The Walking Dead?

HBO: Can we talk about the reality of True Detective season three? Also, Michael Lombardo, you're running out of time to play coy about Jon Snow. The Game of Thrones marketing campaign hinges on the "dead" protagonist. Also, what kind words will you heap on Lena Dunham and company when you confirm season six of Girls will be its last?

Showtime: Congrats on your promotions, David Nevins and Gary Levine, now just give us Twin Peaks. Speaking of which, will we really see that in 2017?! By the way, how much of it have you seen?

FX: John Landgraf will return for another TCA master class after last year's unforgettable "Peak TV" session. Speaking of, you were right about that — but what now? You've diagnosed a problem without offering a possible cure, and you're the one suffering for it. (Sorry about The Bastard Executioner and The Comedians, by the way.)

Turner: Welcome back, Kevin Reilly, it's been too long since we last spoke. What are you up to over there? You got our attention with a 25-hour marathon (and a renewal) for Angie Tribeca but what's your larger vision for TNT and TBS?

Starz: Congratulations on Outlander and your Golden Globes nominations. Can you make buzzy and long-gestating American Gods — from Hannibal's Bryan Fuller and Neil Gaiman — actually come to fruition?