TCA Tour Jeopardized by Strike, Network Pullouts

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It looks like the TV writers’ strike may derail the Television Critics Association tour after all.

Over the weekend, TCA president Dave Walker informed his members that on Friday PBS told him it would not participate in the tour in January if the strike is still on.

“PBS’s abrupt defection, linked with word that some of the cable networks that had been confirmed to participate as late as midweek are now wavering, means that the likelihood of a TV Tour occurring if the strike is still on is now very low,” Walker, TV critic for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, wrote in an e-mail Saturday.

Last week, the TCA was planning to move ahead – despite the strike – with at the very least a “strike tour” with a four-day schedule for cable networks, from Jan. 8 to 11, along with PBS.

But then came the PBS defection, plus word that cable programmers including Turner Broadcasting, Disney, Lifetime Television, and reportedly MTV Networks and A&E Networks, were pulling out.

Walker suggested setting a Dec. 14 deadline “by which the strike must be settled or the January 2008 TV Tour will be cancelled, subsequent strike settlement or not.”

He planned to confer with TV networks today, Monday, about setting the deadline. 

 “If the strike is solved in the next couple of weeks, something resembling a full TV Tour will take place,” Walker said in his e-mail. “If not, it won’t.”