CHANNEL ISLAND: TV critics tour is a strike casualty

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

The writers' strike has claimed another victim: the TV press tour slated to begin early next month.

After weeks of wrangling to keep it alive, the Television Critics Association pulled the plug late Monday on the event that would have started Jan. 8 at Universal City.

The semiannual events, attended by hundreds of critics and reporters, are key opportunities for the networks to expose new shows to broad audiences.

After the strike began Nov. 5, TCA officials had hoped to deliver a smaller tour devoted to networks' altered midseason schedules.

Those lineups now will be composed of reality shows and repeats, with a smattering of scripted dramas mostly completed before the work stoppage. But the networks, worried that reporters would pelt executives with questions about the strike, cooled to the idea of a stripped-down tour, according to officials interviewed in recent weeks. The networks also believed that actors and writers would not show up for promotional activities during the strike.

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