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Slimmed-Down Fox, Karey Burke’s ABC Debut and 6 More Burning Questions for Winter Press Tour

TCA 2019: Will the Disney-Fox deal consummate before Disney, Fox reach the Pasadena ballroom?

It’s the end of January, which normally means we’re gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday. We still are, but we’re also getting ready for yet another Television Critics Association (TCA) winter press tour, which kicks off a few weeks later than usual this year.

The twice-annual TCA event begins Tuesday morning, with NBCUniversal joining other broadcast, cable and a small sampling of streaming networks (smaller than usual since Netflix is sitting this one out) as they present their upcoming series to TV critics, serve up their casts, showrunners and a few executives for Q&As.

Here’s what TheWrap is hoping to learn from the weeks-long festivities at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, California.

1. So, ah, Whatcha Wanna Talk About?
You know, since a lot of your new midseason shows have already premiered.

Winter TCA 2019 was pushed back from its usual early-to-mid-January slot to run from late January through early-mid February… for some reason. The shift moved the biannual press event away from the Golden Globes, but dropped it smack on top of the CBS’ Super Bowl LIII. Another consequence of the calendar shift is that a number of new series slated for midseason starts have already premiered, whereas the networks would’ve typically used the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour to debut the frosh, hoping to drum up some buzz just before launch.

Well, we can’t really do that now for some of these, so, ah, whatcha wanna talk about?

2. Will Disney-Fox Deal Close While We’re in Pasadena?
Though Disney’s $71 billion acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox’s film and TV assets was first announced back at the end of 2017, the companies are finally clearing every last regulatory hurdle and ready to make this thing official.

You know the important parts by now: Disney is getting everything but Fox’s broadcast network, Fox News and Fox Sports. The Walt Disney Company’s earnings call is set for Feb. 5, which is the same as its TCA day, and a day before Fox takes the stage.

With Disney telling investors they expect this deal to finally become official in the early part of 2019, it’s a safe bet this happens while everyone is in Pasadena. Speaking of which…

3. The Floor Is Yours, Karey Burke and Charlie Collier
On Feb. 6, Charlie Collier will get his first chance to tell us his vision for the new, slimmed-down version of Fox. Collier built AMC’s scripted business from scratch with “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad,” and Fox needs to prove it’s going to be more than just football and wrestling after the Disney sell-off. Good luck to you, Chuck.

Karey Burke, Channing Dungey’s replacement as ABC’s entertainment president, will also make her TCA debut, and she will soon fall under the purview of former Fox execs Dana Walden and Peter Rice. This will be the first time both Fox and ABC will get to show off their new post-merger looks.

4. Will HBO Show New “Game of Thrones” Footage?
The Super Bowl is a good bet for HBO to finally release that long-awaited trailer for the upcoming “Game of Thrones” final season. HBO’s day in Pasadena will come a few days after the big game, and if we don’t have a trailer by then, critics will surely be asking just when we might see, well, anything from Westeros.

Save a little something just for us, Casey Bloys.

5. Are We Gonna Get DC Universe Subscriber Stats?
DC Universe, the nascent streaming service launched by Warner Bros. last fall, will make its TCA debut to pitch “Doom Patrol,” its second live-action series. Will we also get any idea of just how many people are subscribing to the service, launched with “Titans”?

I mean, c’mon guys, Netflix is even giving out ratings these days. Sort of.

6. What Are You, BYUtv?
BYUtv’s time is scheduled for the final day of a grueling 16-day tour. Drilling down deeper into Feb. 13, only Amazon claims the ballroom after BYU — there’s a pretty big difference in awareness levels between those two platforms.

But what in heaven’s name (we didn’t go with “the hell” there out of respect) is BYUtv? As the name implies and you’ve probably guessed, BYUtv is owned by Brigham Young University. The Provo, Utah, school is a private, nonprofit research university owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and run under the auspices of the Mormon Church’s educational system.

What’s on their network? Something called “Dwight in Shining Armor,” for starters. Here is the logline:

While exploring the woods outside his suburban town, Dwight, a twenty-first-century teen, falls into an ancient underground chamber and accidentally awakens a warrior princess and her hordes of enemies. What happens when the worlds of modern chivalry and medieval mayhem come crashing together?

So there ya go.

7. What the Hell is ‘Big Little Lies’ Season 2 Gonna Be?
Liane Moriarty wrote only one book “Big Little Lies,” but that didn’t stop HBO from ordering a second season of its hit limited series (but not that limited, we suppose). We’ve seen some photos and a very brief teaser video during the Golden Globes, and we definitely know Meryl Streep is in it — as has been repeatedly plugged by the promotion — but that’s about all.

Here’s hoping the ladies of Monterey and showrunner David E. Kelley give reporters a clue or two about how they plan to continue the story in Season 2, since the primary mystery at the center of Moriarty’s 2014 novel was already solved in the show’s Season 1 finale. RIP Perry.