Monday, January 11, 2010

The TCA Press Tour


I can't recall a Television Critics Association Press Tour so newsworthy in years.

At least not so early in the proceedings.

I should know. This is the 43rd time I've attended the semi-annual Hollywood gathering of TV critics and columnists from across the U.S. and Canada.

The news has certainly been coming fast and furious out of the grand ballroom at the posh Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa in stately Pasadena, Calif.

Well, the buzz hasn't all taken place at the Langham.

There was CBS's huge Survivor reunion party on Saturday night, for instance. Geared to mark the upcoming 2oth season / 10th anniversary of the reality show, the event was the biggest collection of the longrunning show's contestants ever in one place, filling a massive soundstage at CBS's famed Television City complex with a rockin' case of jungle fever.

Back at the ballroom, though, there was NBC's confirmation announcement on Sunday about its upcoming plans for Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien once the Winter Olympics have finished their run next month. That caused a media frenzy that made it to the front page of USA Today and countless other papers.

On Monday, it was Fox's turn to do the big reveal. The announcement: That Simon Cowell will leave American Idol at the end of this season in order to focus on the Fall 2011 arrival of Cowell's own pet TV project, The X Factor.

As Cowell signed the deal on the ballroom stage at the Langham, there was an almost-deafening cacophony of chattering keyboards as reporters raced to blog, tweet and otherwise get stories transmitted to their assorted media outlets.

All of which means ABC, which is up next on Tuesday, will really have its work cut out for it.

That is, if it hopes to come anywhere close to the buzz that its network rivals have already been generating at the TCA Press Tour.