It’s that time of year again where the Television Critics Association camps out in a Los Angeles hotel for sixteen (!) days and talk to various network people about current, new, and upcoming shows. For those of us following pilot season, this TCA was smack dab during what seems to be the slowest period of ordering pilots ever. To date, barely 60 pilots received orders, compared to last year’s total of 76.
Unfortunately, like last year, a few networks did not host executive sessions. CBS is unsurprising. After all there’s been an almost weekly news drop that the network is absolutely horrible with workplace safety. I was surprised NBC didn’t host a session, however; when their exec turnover was due to Bob Greenblatt moving on amicably!
Still, Mark Pedowitz, now the longest sitting broadcast network president (wild!) held a session. As did newbies (to their networks) Karey Burke (formerly at Freeform) for ABC, and Charlie Collier (formerly of AMC) for FOX.
Here are some of the more interesting tidbits from their sessions.
Pedowitz spoke briefly about a lot of different things. He touched on the scheduling for next season, insinuating that Batwoman is likely coming since he’s not sure if they’re airing “all 6 shows at the same time“; and along those lines, episode counts for all of the renewed shows will be decided in May.
Of course there was the effusive praise for the network’s last to premiere newbie In the Dark and talk about their summer shows acquired from other networks. Interestingly for all you pilot nerds, they’re still hoping to order a few more. If they do, they only need five more to match last year’s 10!
Of note, the Nancy Drew show is the best of everything the network has to offer…which could mystery be bad or good. It’s a murder with a whole lot more! Katy Keene will be older characters (thank goodness) so if they do any crossovers, it’d be older Riverdale folk. But nothing on The Lost Boys.
Finally, on the streaming side, Pedowitz stated that he believes the parent companies will sort out streaming among themselves but none of the newbies got the lucrative Netflix deal this year so who knows how shows fare next year.
Karey Burke’s first executive session with ABC started with a bang! Jimmy Kimmel introduced her with some hilarious jokes including the one where Burke is ending DungeyCare (ouch). Most of her session was discussing where she’d like to see ABC go and her take on the Oscars going hostless. As for scripted, she reiterated how she wants ABC to get back into the number one spot with women which ABC has lost (slight shade at past Pres. Dungey), so we can expect more leading ladies in ABC’s series orders. There wasn’t much talk about any of their pilots, but ABc should be done ordering at the end of this week.
Charlie Collier actually didn’t say too much about Fox current shows or anything upcoming, but did let us know that NewFox is actually Fox Entertainment post merger. Plus the network is proud of Rent—even with the not so live debacle—and of The Masked Singer which is doing great in the ratings. The most interesting thing about his panel was his introduction by Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul actor Jonathan Banks in the Masked Singer hippo suit! I’m sure all of the TCA folks were having a great time.
Renewals and Cancellations
Prior to and during the TCA tour, we also got some renewals! At CBS, Magnum P.I., FBI, God Friended Me, and The Neighborhood all received renewals. They are also the only CBS shows that received full season pickups of seven or nine episodes in the fall. CBS also gave a two season renewal to Mom, which brings it to eight seasons after 2021.
The CW handed renewals to literally every show on their docket except the newbies All American and Roswell. Though, Pedowitz reiterated that the network loves the former and they want to see how it does on Netflix in March. To my knowledge, I don’t think it’s an international deal like the one keeping Dynasty alive, but anything can happen these days. Elsewhere Roswell has only aired three episodes and In the Dark premieres in April, but the latter is a CBS Studios show so it’s probably dead.
Unfortunately for fans of other network shows, only a few received early renewals: NBC’s Amsterdam, ABC’s The Good Doctor, A Million Little Things, and a renancellation for Modern Family, which will end next year. Finally, The Simpsons at FOX lives to see two more seasons. Fox did not announce anything else on Wednesday, suggesting that some shows contracts are still being worked out, while others are likely on their way out.
Overall, this press tour was pretty calm, considering just how much change has occurred since the summer sessions. We’ll see how chaotic the Upfront presentations are in three short months!