Every year, the holidays abruptly halt when CES and the TV Critics Association’s winter press tour get started. CES, the massive consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, is already underway and TCA kicks off with Fox at the Langham Huntington in Pasadena on Tuesday, Jan. 7.
Some things are certainly more interesting than others during the long sugar-fueled days of TCA, but here are a few things we can’t wait to hear a little more about.
1. HBO has long offered many of TV’s most exciting shows but because HBO has been just one of many cable networks, it’s usually been given very little time to reveal those programs to critics and reporters. But now that HBO is expanding into HBO Max and includes the Turner Networks in its purview, WarnerMedia is getting an entire day, Jan. 15, to show off its wares, which include HBO, TNT, TBS and truTV.
With HBO Max launching in May, we’re eager to hear more about what the service will have on tap at launch and what else it’s got in development for the future. We’re hoping to hear Bob Greenblatt, Kevin Reilly, Casey Bloys and the team expand on many of the programs they announced at WarnerMedia Investor Day on Oct. 29, including the straight-to-series Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon.
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2. Apple TV+ got a nice endorsement from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) at Sunday night’s Golden Globes with three nominations —although no wins—for its original series, The Morning Show, starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.
Still, Apple has some catching up to do in the streaming space, especially considering that unlike HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu and Peacock, it has no library content. We’re interested to see where the service plans to go after this first round of originals, which, besides The Morning Show, includes For All Mankind starring Joel Kinnaman, Dickinson starring Hailee Steinfeld and See starring Jason Momoa.
3. FX Chief John Landgraf always makes news at TCA and we expect this time to be no different. We’re especially interested to hear his take on FX on Hulu, which will exclusively premiere two big shows this spring: Devs, starring Nick Offerman, and Mrs. America, starring Cate Blanchett.
4. Showtime has some exciting projects on its schedule, including Vice led by Jesse Angelo, who just joined the network after serving as publisher and CEO of the New York Post. Vice had been on HBO until last February.
Showtime also has James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird starring and executive produced by Ethan Hawke, and the next iteration of Penny Dreadful, starring Natalie Dormer and Nathan Lane.
5. What will the new ViacomCBS look like? The two companies—Viacom and CBS—came back together in early December and we’re just starting to see what the fruits of that re-merger will be. Several panels during the 14 days of press tour will touch on the new company, including CBS and CBS All Access on Jan. 12 and Showtime and Pop on Jan. 13.
Meanwhile, here are a few things we would like to hear more about, but aren’t on the list for this go-round:
1. Disney+, where are you? No mention of a Disney+ day or even a panel? Here’s a note, DIsney+: a panel featuring Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni and Pedro Pascal ahead of season 2 of The Mandalorian would make the whole long slog of press tour worthwhile. There’s still summer tour to make this happen.
2. Same question for you, Netflix. Netflix tends to want to do its press and marketing in its own way, side-stepping such crowded venues as TCA. Still, it would be a great opportunity for all of that out-of-town press to get a jump on everything coming from the streaming goliath.
3. NBCUniversal’s streaming offering, Peacock, is debuting in April. While NBC will be on stage on Saturday, Jan. 11, Peacock doesn’t appear to plan to strut its stuff.
4. Finally, a fourth streaming service, Quibi, also is launching in April, and still nobody understands exactly what the service is, what its name means and why consumers should add it to an already overflowing docket of streaming options. TCA would have been a good opportunity for the service to start getting its name out there.
Winter TCA runs Jan. 7-Jan. 19 at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, Calif.