The Television Critics Association’s summer press tour — at which the broadcast-TV networks, cablers and some streamers showcase for critics and journalists their new and returning shows and stars — has been cancelled for 2020.
This summer’s tour was to be held in Pasadena, Calif., running late July through the middle of August. California Governor Gavin Newsom recently said that gatherings of hundreds or more will likely be banned at least through summer, as the state waits to plot out its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The TCA board said in a statement that while 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.”
The cancellation of this year’s TCA summer press tour comes just weeks after the same fate befell the San Diego Comic-Con, which typically precedes the critics organization’s series of press conferences.
Earlier this spring, the broadcast-TV networks announced that they will forego their in-person and star-studded Upfront events, held in mid-May and at which they unveil their schedules for next season, and instead hold streamed presentations for advertisers and the press.
TCA (to which this writer belongs) holds two tours annually: one in the summer, which is primarily to preview fall premieres, and a second one in the winter, for midseason fare. (This year’s winter tour was held in January.) On any given day during a press tour, TV outlets take turns presenting the casts and producers for new shows and the occasional returning favorite, to answer questions from the TCA body. Additionally, network presidents and other executives will sometimes make themselves available for a press conference on their assigned day.
The plan for the organization’s annual Television Critics Association Awards, which are typically held midway through the summer press tour, will be announced at a later date. The big winner in 2019 was Fleabag Season 2, which was honored for Program of the Year, Best Comedy and Individual Achievement in Comedy (for Phoebe Waller-Bridge).