TV Critics’ Press Tour: Move along; nothing to see here

A mere two days have passed since the conclusion of the TV Critics Association’s winter press tour in Pasadena and already two much bigger TV stories have broken than any that occurred during the tour itself: Paula Kerger being named as president of the Public Broadcasting System and, of course, UPN and The WB merging into a new network, The CW. (NBC also announced “The Book of Daniel” had been canceled, but that hardly qualified as a surprise.) Only an idiot would believe these announcements werent ready to be made during the press tour itself, and only an idiot would not be able to figure out why they werent made before the collected group of journalists who are TV specialists. Why break these things to journalists who would know what questions to ask of the executives involved when you can do so later and get what essentially amounts to a free pass in subsequent reportage?

In the case of revealing the creation of The CW, journalists were alerted via Email Tuesday of a significant announcement? a mere three hours before the press conference. (Said Email was sent at 5 a.m. Pacific time, with the press conference occurring at 8 a.m.) After the announcement, the resulting press conference, despite the wide-ranging repercussions of the merger, probably didn’t last but 20 minutes.
TV press tour has always been a hodgepodge of bald promotion and glib, nearly useless, gibberish-cluttered press conferences. I lost count this year of how many actors called the mere opportunity to work (i.e., draw a paycheck) on a “quality” show (regardless of what they were actually appearing on) a blessing? and “a joy” and declared that their current project was the most fun/rewarding/significant work theyd ever done. Which is not news, and which makes the fact that there are some 200 journalists on hand to record such drivel so galling. One network has even admitted it coaches panelists in advance to refrain from being provocative or even interesting during those press conferences.
Which makes me wonder: How much longer will newspapers from around the country pay thousands of dollars in travel expenses simply so their correspondents can report that Ed Cavanagh, star of CBSs Love Monkey? (a show that was probably already on life-support when the press conference began), gushed of his former Ed? co-star Julie Bowen, Shes a fabulous person?? If it’s roundly understood that nothing of substance comes of press tour, how long can it reasonably endure?
And what will be announced today? That NBC is shutting down?

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