Tuned In

Survivor L.A.!: A TCA Roundup, From Someone Who's Not There

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Another reason the McPhenestration of Steve McPherson at ABC is not such a surprise, at least in its timing, is that yesterday was the beginning of the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles. Networks often dump execs before their TCA sessions, because that allows them to get unpleasant business out of the way, while the new bosses get to duck questions about the old bosses’ failings.

I’m not at TCA this summer; I (and my editors) don’t consider it a must-do, so the times I do go (like last year) tend to overlap with my being in L.A. on other business already. I don’t like to belabor the reasons I don’t go, because (1) who cares and (2) plenty of my TV-critic peers who do consider TCA a must-do have a hard enough time getting their employers to send them out. (There’s a cottage industry of pieces attacking TCA as a cushy junket; whatever I think about its essentiality, for the critics and reporters out there for two weeks, it’s exhausting work.) So, suffice it to say the tour is a must-visit for some folks and not for others, and that’s why Baskin-Robbins makes 31 flavors.

But here’s a taste of what’s gone on so far:

* Yesterday, TCA members—who spend much of the tour attending panels of TV executives, stars and producers—went on group set visits. EW has some (spoilery, though not egregiously so) news from the Parenthood set.

* Tim Goodman, who I believe coined the term “Death March With Cocktails” for the press tour, has an overview of the whole shebang.

* The first network presenting, starting today, is CBS, which I assume will confront the issue of how exactly to say “$#*! My Dad Says” out loud.

* And CBS’s first bit of news? Survivor: Nicaragua will pit a tribe of under-30somethings against a tribe of over-40somethings. It’ll be a battle of the generations, making it exactly like the rest of the TV business! With the exception that an older person could conceivably win this one.

* For up-to-the-second Twitter updates on the happenings at the sessions, search Twitter for the hashtag #TCA, or just follow my list of fellow TV critics and TV reporters, many of whom are on scene.