The Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour for 2020 has been canceled. The move becomes just the latest example of the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on the entertainment landscape. Broadcast TV networks, cablers, and some streamers showcase their work for critics and journalists during the press tour and now that will have to wait. The event ends up being a huge source of information about the upcoming seasons for so many shows, so the loss of that event will be felt for players all across television. Pasadena, California was scheduled to play host to this year’s gathering, but that will not happen this year.
California Governor Gavin Newsome recently said that gatherings of a hundred or more people are likely to be banned until the end of the summer at the earliest. Their state awaits word on how soon it can get back to operating a bit closer to normal.
The TCA issued a statement about the cancellation that indicated the board is “working with the networks to explore virtual alternatives both within the original press tour time frame and later in 2020… given the current state of television production, as of now, this is a cancellation not a postponement.”
For most years, TCA holds two tours annually: one in the summer and one in the winter. The summer tour covers the fall premiers and winter handles the midseason finales. In addition to producers and casts on these programs, occasionally, network brass will also be available for questions or give more information about the companies at large. Also complicating matters is the fact of the TCA Awards which usually occur sometime during the summer tour. Fleabag Season 2 was last year’s big winner. It netted awards for Program of the Year, Best Comedy and Individual Achievement in Comedy.
Luckily for the networks at play, earlier this spring they decided to hold streaming presentations instead of the large upfront events that take place in the summer. This will still allow outlets to see what's coming and provide that information to audiences once the streaming events take place. It’s a strange situation all the way around. This summer has already seen E3, Evo Gaming Tournament, and San Diego Comic-Con all fall by the wayside. It’s settling in for a lot of observers that this will definitely be a strange summer after early hopes for a little normalcy.
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