TCA sets sights on summer


NEW YORK -- The Television Critics Assn.'s summer press tour is scheduled to start July 8 at the Beverly Hilton.

The cable networks will appear first, taking up the first four days of the tour, July 8-11, and PBS will follow with two days of presentations July 12-13. The broadcast networks will follow with presentations beginning July 14.

During the summer TCA tour, the broadcast networks usually each get two days for presentations of the upcoming new fall shows, but TCA president Dave Walker said the Big 4 networks -- ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox -- are unsure about whether they will have enough new programming scheduled, in the wake of the WGA strike, to fill two full days each. So how the broadcast networks' portion of the tour will play out will not be determined for the next few weeks.

Looming over the summer TCA tour still, is a potential SAG strike that could also stop production of the broadcast and cable network scripted shows. The SAG contract is up in June.

Walker said he is investigating a backup plan for the summer TCA tour, and one option could be moving it back into August.

"I'm aware that such a move would create hardships for many TCA members, but in my opinion, a makeshift tour later in the summer beats no tour," Walker said.

The TCA's winter press tour was canceled because of the writers strike.

John Consoli is a reporter for Mediaweek.