TV Critics Association president Amber Dowling announced to members this afternoon that Fox broadcast network has changed its position on not putting an exec on stage to take questions from members at January’s TCA winter tour, and will schedule an exec panel after all.
Dowling said the association received this email from Fox:
“We heard from many TCA members this week about how they value having an executive session twice a year. We were focused on presenting our mid-season programming and we underestimated the interest in this panel. We are happy to accommodate the TCA members and we have adjusted our schedule to include an executive session this January. We look forward to seeing you in Pasadena.”
CW’s Mark Pedowitz had, until Fox’s change of heart, been the only head of a commercial broadcast network brave enough to appear before the odd amalgam of reporters, TV critics and fanbloggers. (PBS’ chief Paula Kerger also is planning to take the stage and brave the press.)
Three days ago it looked as though the January TCA would go virtually exec free when ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox decided they would not host executive sessions. That meant journalists attending would not have the opportunity to ask questions of any execs of those networks during the semi-annual confab, in a move that seemed to bear a certain resemblance to the campaign strategy of Donald Trump during his successful run at the White House. In Trump’s defense, he at least showed up at January TCA in 2015 to promote what would be his final round hosting NBC’s reality series The Celebrity Apprentice.
Some cable network chiefs also are scheduled to take questions on stage, including FX’s John Landgraf, but many cable execs still take the stage only to deliver their ratings message and introduce a panel, declining to take questions from the media.
TCA reports it has not heard from CBS, NBC, or ABC on the subject at this time.