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Winter TCA 2021: Get Ready for Another Odd, Illuminating, Virtual Event

Major television networks and streamers will promote their upcoming programming during the TCA 2021 Winter Press Tour.


Sarah Paulson at the Television Critics Association Awards in 2016.

Michael Buckner/Variety

The Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour is still moving forward, despite the ongoing pandemic, only this edition will host virtual panels for nearly a month.

The annual event, which typically occurs in Los Angeles over a period of two weeks, is set to return January 26 and run until early March. Unlike in-person TCA events, there will not be network presentations every day, but like last summer’s stripped-down press tour, the upcoming TCA panels will be done via videoconference and consist of Q&As with select talent and executives, updates from network heads, key programming announcements, and presumably a handful of trailers for new and returning television shows set to premiere over the next six months.

The names of most of the shows that will be marketed throughout the Winter Press Tour are under wraps, but the event is still expected to feature most of the usual TCA mainstays: HBO, CBS, NBC, PBS, The CW, Lifetime, History, Showtime, and ABC will host panels, as will streaming services such as HBO Max, Apple TV+, Discovery+, Peacock, and CBS All Access. Though Netflix participated in the virtual TCA during the summer of 2020, the streaming giant will not have a presence at the Winter 2021 event.

Disney+ will also continue to be absent from TCA; the House of Mouse recently announced a slew of Disney+ titles during its Disney Investor Day in December 2020, where the company debuted a variety of new Pixar, Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars shows among other titles.

The 2020 installment of the Winter Press Tour was akin to the calm before the storm for the entertainment industry, even disregarding the coronavirus pandemic and its adverse impacts on film and TV productions. The TCA’s last winter event took place months before the launch of big-money streaming services such as NBCUniversal’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and just a few months into the launch of Disney+ and Apple TV+. The streaming industry has since become more saturated than ever, and the 2021 event will serve as a key opportunity for streamers and their network counterparts to market upcoming titles.

While a variety of trailers and series announcements are to be expected at the 2021 Winter Press Tour, it’s unclear how coronavirus-related production delays will impact their release schedules. Many of the shows that will be marketed during TCA will likely have had their production impacted by the pandemic and though some companies have resumed productions on their titles, it’s possible that the pandemic could make it difficult for streamers and networks to offer firm premiere dates for some of the titles they will promote during the event.

Keep checking IndieWire throughout the 2021 Winter Press Tour for all relevant updates, breaking news, and analysis on upcoming slates.

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