Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony, ViacomCBS and Warner Bros, whose international TV distribution divisions organize the annual LA Screenings, said Thursday they are canceling their annual new-series showcase in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The companies said they are exploring alternate options for the event pitching their wares to foreign buyers.
The LA Screenings becomes the latest entertainment and media event to be disrupted by COVID-19, which has sickened 125,000 worldwide and killed 4,600.
“It is out of an abundance of caution, and with the health and well-being of our clients and employees at the forefront, we have collectively decided to not hold L.A. Screenings events this year and will instead explore alternative options in which to showcase our respective upcoming content,” the companies said in a statement.
They cited “travel bans, travel restrictions and evolving public health concerns of our global client base” for the decision, adding, that “we believe that not having our clients and executives travel into Los Angeles from various locations around the world is the most responsible course of action.”
The LA Screenings at various studios in Los Angeles take place right after the network Upfronts Week in New York in May. All of the major TV companies presenting at the upfronts have canceled their glitzy in-person annual events for ad buyers, citing the uncertainty over the widening virus. They will be replaces largely by live-streamed/televised presentations.
The LA Screenings’ companies said today each would be individually communicating alternative screening plans to clients soon.
Last year, hot titles for foreign buyers at the showcase included the CBS Studios International-distributed Evil, Warner Bros’ Prodigal Son and Batwoman, and Disney’s Emergence.