Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour Goes Virtual Due to BA.5 COVID Variant

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The Television Critics Association (TCA) has canceled all in-person components of this year’s summer press tour.

The news came Thursday afternoon, hours after TCA shared with press that Disney, PBS, CBS/Paramount+ and Fox had pulled out from the tour’s long-anticipated return to the Langham Hotel in Pasadena, Calif. from July 27 to Aug. 13. The press tour will now move to a virtual format which is now being organized with TCA sharing that the schedule may or may not align with the originally planned dates.

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According to TCA, Disney executives requested a meeting with the board on July 21 where they shared that their brands — ABC, FX, Hulu, NatGeo and Onyx — would be offering online programing only during their block of five consecutive days from July 31 to Aug. 4, citing concerns over the rising number of cases of the BA.5 variant of COVID-19. The same was said for PBS, which was set to present on July 27 and 28; CBS and Paramount+, which were set for July 30; and Fox, which was set for Aug. 8.

Other groups began canceling their events after the initial announcement was made, such as Blumhouse, which shared directly with press that they would no-longer more forward with an in-person event, and NBCUniversal and CTAM, which both began internal conversations about their events and had not yet released a decision. The rapid decline in network participation forced TCA to cancel the conference altogether.

These switches come in addition to the previously announced news that Showtime, Warner Bros. Discovery and the CW would not be participating in the press tour.

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