TCA Officially Canceled

TVWeek's James Hibberd: Rated

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With no end in sight for the writers strike, Television Critics Association President Dave Walker has announced the cancellation of the January press tour.

In an email sent to members Monday night, Mr. Walker said to "consider the tour officially canceled whether the strike is settled before January 8 or not."

Mr. Walker said the decision was made after consulting with the networks and the Universal City Hilton, where the winter press tour was to be held.

"Given the current woeful state of the negotiations, as well as broadcast-network reluctance to present during a strike, [continuing with the tour] does not appear possible," he wrote.

Some critics have expressed interest in a strike-themed tour, noting the work stoppage could give the proceedings greater news value. But Mr. Walker wrote that the networks disagreed with this line of thinking.

"From the beginning of this process, the commercial broadcast networks have cited expected budget cutbacks and their presumed inability to present panels for scripted programs as their reasons for not committing to a strike tour," Mr. Walker wrote. "More recently, the networks have also reported that a strike settlement later in December or in early January would offer difficulties in presenting tour sessions, due to logistics issues and hurry-up production schedules."

Mr. Walker originally suggested Dec. 14 as a deadline for deciding whether to continue with the tour. A conversation Monday with the Hilton, he said, prompted him to accelerate his plans.

"The decision to cancel the tour now is also partly based on a moral obligation to allow the hotel to attempt to recover revenue it will lose as the result of the canceled tour," he wrote.

Mr. Walker added he does not intend for this setback to impact future press tours.

"It's the TCA's intention to continue the TV Tour in both January and July for the indefinite future," he wrote.
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