Summer TV Press Tour 2015, or TCA as it’s often called in honor of the TV Critics Association whose members swarm the semi-annual confab, promises to be especially yeasty. Sure, it has its usual post-Comic-Con challenges. What with that San Diego fan-fest having wrapped two full weeks earlier, TCA organizers understandably wonder if the media will again clamor to hear Kurt Sutter discuss making a cameo in full prosthetic makeup on his The Bastard Executioner’s first season on FX. Can Greg Berlanti improve on his Comic-Con explanation as to why he chose to develop CBS’s Supergirl: “I’ve been lucky enough to participate in shows with male leads at their center. I felt it was time for a female to be at the center of the show.” Does a second first-look at new costumes for CW’s The Arrow and The Flash hold reporters as spellbound as did their first first-look, back at Comic-Con in San Diego?
On the bright side, Lee Daniels will pay a visit to TCA, and no doubt get questioned about the Emmy nomination snubs suffered by his Fox hit, Empire. Daniels, you’ll recall, was inspired on Emmy nominations morning to post on Instagram two videos with his thoughts about the TV Academy, using expressions which just show that you can bury yourself in your art and still somehow acquire a vocabulary. No doubt one picks up things from the neighbors, the garden club, and such.
Chelsea Handler, having emerged from her death-where-is-thy-sting era dating back to those final days at E!, is coming to TCA to talk about her new Netflix series, scheduled to debut in 2016, which she has described as 60 Minutes-only-hipper. Handler, who once called E! “a sad, sad place to live” and singled out the network’s brightest star-family the Kardashian ( “I just don’t want to ever have to see that again” were her exact words) may get a question or two on the subject nonetheless.
And Trevor Noah will be making his first press-tour appearance since Comedy Central announced he is replacing Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show and the media began digging up those tweets he’d posted over the years, of “jokes that did not land” but that did offend women, and Jews, and some other comics. Back when that happened, Noah had responded to the maelstrom with a quickly removed tweet saying “Twitter does not have enough characters to respond to all the characters on Twitter” – many of whom will be at the tour, and attending his Q&A.
John Travolta was on this TCA schedule, which would have been exciting enough in itself for press tour attendees, who have never lost the thrill of talking to movie stars willing to do TV, no matter how many times they hear all the good roles are in TV these days. But, in all the schedule shuffling going on in the days leading up to this clambake (and still going on even this morning, doing so much to contribute to the sense of excitement) FX informed organizers the panel for Travolta’s appearance along with other cast members and creators of Ryan Murphy’s much-ballyhooed American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, got moved to the January TCA. Gilding the lily, that panel was to have included CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin, who wrote the book on which Murphy’s Simpson project is based – the closest reporters may get at that tour to a CNN Q&A, the cable news networks largely giving this clambake a pass in recent years because heaven forbid they should take some tough questions. CBS News this TCA is rushing in where other newsmen fear to tread.