As a observer of things associated with The Television Critics Association, I have noticed a few similar themes and trends attached to upcoming cable programs in just a mere four days into the Summer Press Tour. The first theme that I noticed, which of course is a given, are the number of tributes planned for the 10-year anniversary of 9-11. Pretty much if you plan on turning on your TV a month before the event, you will be messaged about some special take on that dreadful day in America. Nick News will be presenting a special that talks to kids about the event. Nat Geo is presenting a documentary where former President George W. Bush recounts his actions on that day. Nat Geo has a slew of other programming about that horrific and life changing catastrophe.
After that, we’re going to be seeing more men. Not mad men. But, men who do “manly” things like chase cougars and build stuff in garages and take adventurous rides. In fact, not only will there be individual programs, but a whole new Discovery Channel devoted to men, called Velocity. It’s for affluent men and the clip I watched showed fancy cars and awe-some motorcycles. TV Land also presented a new sitcom written by divorced men about divorced men who live together. So, it’s raining Men on Cable. But, we all know the true #1 man on cable is MAD MEN’s Don Draper character.
Another trending topic was “weed.” Not weeds in your lawn, but yes, you guessed it “marijuana.” Nat Geo’s BORDER WARS will show you what happens to the drug after its seized by law enforcement officials and then there’s Discovery’s “Weed Wars,“ a new reality series that features the daily work associated with Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, the nation’s largest medicinal cannabis dispensary.
Other Things Overhead and Observed
- A Personal Highlight – One of the most inspirational moments actually surprised me. I’ve known about Gloria Steinem, but I’ve never really known her. In HBO’s session about the documentary “Gloria: In Her Own Words,“ Ms. Steinem was extremely likeable, warm, real and full of wisdom. She is one class act who changed the world and helped give us gals a leg up in the corporate boardrooms. So far, my favorite personal highlight.
- Funny Promo Clip – MTV is bringing back Mike Judge’s cartoon duo “Beavis and Butthead.” I had no idea, and I’ve loved this franchise from its start, so to be able to enjoy new versions of this animated classic is well classic. New episodes start rolling Oct. 27 and let me tell you, it’s even better now than its original. And yes, Cornholio is back!
- Warm Hearted Session- When Discovery’s “Animal Planet” began its session I wasn’t that interested, but its clip for “Saved,” about dogs who have intervened to save people’s lives was a tearjerker. One panelist, Patrick Major, told us how his dachshund Sammy Davis brought him through a deep depression. It was a priceless session.
- Show To Catch – By far, Rosie O’Donnell knows how to entertain and be real in front of any audience. She was the most comfortable star I’ve ever witnessed in my 20 plus years of TCA experience in front of this critical audience. Rosie will be returning to television with a show on OWN and it definitely is one to watch.
I could go on and on about every show presented at the Tour and may tell you about more them in later posts, because each panel had newsworthy content and was organized well. As a PR pro, who has planned hundreds of TCA panels, I could certainly notice how many hours went in to the planning of each from satellite hookups to press kit materials to travel and attendance. A PR job well done.
A wonderful four days in the hands of CTAM. Kudos to all. Now its all about PBS.