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Winter TCA 2020 Preview: Apple TV+ to Make Its Press Tour Debut

Amazon Prime Video and Hulu are also among the streaming services that will promote their shows in a year defined by an evermore crowded market.

Damon Lindelof, Regina King, Nicole Kassell. Writer/executive producer Damon Lindelof, from left, Regina King and director/executive producer Nicole Kassell participate in HBO's "Watchmen" panel at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, in Beverly Hills, Calif2019 Summer TCA - HBO, Beverly Hills, USA - 24 Jul 2019

Damon Lindelof, Regina King, and Nicole Kassell participate in HBO’s “Watchmen” panel during the 2019 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Apple TV+ will be the newest streamer to hawk its wares at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour 2020, which kicks off the year’s upcoming TV season at The Langham in Pasadena Tuesday morning. The Apple TV+ announcements will close out the 12-day event at the start of a year that will be defined by unprecedented competition in the streaming television market.

Amazon Prime Video and Hulu will join Apple TV+ as the leading streamers promoting new projects during the Winter TCA, which Netflix is still conspicuously declining to attend. While the former two platforms have become TCA mainstays, the tour marks one of the first times Apple will promote its streaming service at a major press event that the company isn’t directly running.

Per company tradition, Apple hasn’t shared details about the projects it plans to promote during its TCA day, but its streaming service has several impending releases that seem like safe bets: “Mythic Quest,” a Rob McElhenney-led comedy, will portray employees at a video game development studio and premieres on Apple TV+ February 7, while docuseries “Visible: Out of Television,” will feature interviews with a variety of LGBTQ celebrities. “Little America,” the Apple TV+ anthology series about the true everyday stories of American immigrants, premieres on January 17, could also make a TCA appearance. Apple TV+ and its “The Morning Show” tentpole were snubbed at the Golden Globes and Apple will be keen on promoting new projects that could put its new service in the critical spotlight.

There are a multitude of other Apple TV+ projects starring or created by Hollywood power players in the pipeline, but the lack of release dates and other information about them means that the ball is in Apple’s court to surprise reporters with its Apple TV+ announcements. If Apple hosts any sort of Q&A, attendees will likely prod the company for an update on “The Banker,” a high-profile drama that was supposed to premiere last November and hit Apple TV+ this month. The release of the film, which stars Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie, was indefinitely postponed due to sexual abuse allegations against the film’s co-producer, and Apple hasn’t offered any updates since.

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As for Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, the veteran streaming platforms each have a roster of buzzworthy projects they plan on promoting during their TCA days. Prime Video will share details about “Hunters,” the Al Pacino-led Nazi hunting drama that will premiere on February 21, and “Homecoming” Season 2, which will feature a new plot and characters, including a new protagonist played by Janelle Monáe (“Moonlight.”) Prime Video enjoyed strong critical success in 2019 due to Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s “Fleabag,” which received two Golden Globes over the weekend, and the streaming service will aim to capitalize on that momentum with its upcoming series.

It’s also going to be a busy TCA for Hulu, which will open its presentation with a panel on “Hillary,” its upcoming Hillary Clinton documentary before featuring shows such as “Little Fires Everywhere,” a miniseries about the intertwined fates of two families starring and executive produced by Reese Witherspoon. Hulu will also share details about “The Great,” an alt-history series about Catherine the Great, and “Normal People,” based on the New York Times bestselling coming-of-age novel.

Although the Disney-owned Hulu, FX, and ABC will promote various shows at TCA (ABC will open its TCA day with a “Modern Family” sendoff) the company’s new Disney+ streaming service won’t be in attendance. Unique programming aside, how Disney will differentiate Disney+ and Hulu is one of the key TV questions the company has yet to answer. With that in mind, the winter tour could provide an opportunity for Disney to share more details about its FX on Hulu initiative, which will see the basic cable network stream its originals library on Hulu in March. The trailer for FX on Hulu was unveiled during Sunday’s Golden Globes broadcast.

The success of the upcoming Prime Video and Hulu series will be essential for each platform in the coming months due to the impending launches of NBCUniversal’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max streaming services, which are expected to launch in April and May, respectively. While both companies will have TCA sessions, there has been no indication that they will share specific details about their upcoming streaming services. WarnerMedia will promote “Avenue 5” and the upcoming adaption of Stephen King’s “The Outsider,” while NBCUniversal will feature the Rosario Dawson-led “Briarpatch” and is bringing back popular comedy-drama “This is Us.”

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