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2015 Winter TCA’s announce bevy of show returns and new releases

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Television Critics Association announce Colbert will take over the "Late Night" Sept. 8 (Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

Television Critics Association announce Colbert will take over the “Late Night” Sept. 8 (Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

For a little less than two weeks in Pasadena, California, top television networks and content creators took the stage to discuss their newest shows and deliver some much-anticipated news.

The TCA’s, or the Television Critics Association, tour is held twice a year – once in the winter (from Jan. 7-20, this year) and once in the summer. It is an opportunity for critics to get networks to open up about their upcoming projects. It is mutually beneficial for the networks, as it allows them to drum up publicity and buzz for their content in the coming year.

The networks use many of these panels to announce which of their shows will be renewed for another season. Amongst the most confident in its current programming is the CW, as it announced the return of their entire fall programming lineup. This includes the likes of, “The Flash,” the perennial, “Supernatural,” “The Vampire Diaries,” the surprisingly good “Arrow,” “Reign,” “The Originals” and “Jane the Virgin.” The CW has carved out a nice little niche in the television landscape, providing viewers with all of the unabashedly good-looking 20-somethings they can possibly find and placing them in surprisingly compelling programs.

Netflix announced the release dates of a few new shows, with “Daredevil” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” drawing the most attention. “Daredevil” will premiere on April 10, the first of many interconnected Marvel superhero shows to come to the streaming site. “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” the latest comedy from creator Tina Fey, will premiere March 6.

Fox is extremely happy with the early success of, “Empire,” evidenced by its renewal of the show after just two (highly rated) episodes. The network also renewed “Gotham” and the Golden-Globe winning comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” The biggest news to come out of Fox’s panel, and possibly the entire event, was the announcement of a limited run miniseries of “The X-Files.” Leads David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have both expressed interest in returning to these characters, giving many fans reason to hope for much more “X-Files” to come if the miniseries is successful.

“Fresh Off the Boat,” a comedy set in the 1990s focused on a Taiwanese family that has just moved to America, was responsible for the most-talked about panel during ABC’s round of previews. Much of the discussion came from an article the show’s creator, Eddie Huang, wrote for New York Magazine just days before his new show’s panel, in which he made criticisms about the homogenization of his memoirs just to appease a primetime audience.

Huang attended the panel and fielded many questions about the article and the show itself. Despite his problems with how his memoirs treated in the transition to television, Huang said, “This show, to me, is historic and has a huge place culturally in America.” “Fresh Off the Boat” premieres Feb. 10 at 8 p.m.

The ever-predictable, yet still No. 1 network, CBS announced the renewals of “NCIS: New Orleans,” “Scorpion” and “Madam Secretary.” Of more interest was the Late Night announcements regarding David Letterman’s final episode airdate and Stephen Colbert’s premiere date. Letterman will be leaving the show on May 20, while Colbert will take over on Sept. 8.

The time in between will be filled with reruns of CBS primetime TV shows, according to chairman Nina Tassler. Meanwhile, Colbert will still be working out the structure of his show, although it is confirmed he will be interviewing guests and the show will include a band.

Continuing the theme of major comeback sci-fi TV news, Showtime announced that star Kyle MacLachlan will return for the latest iteration of “Twin Peaks,” reprising his role as FBI agent Dale Cooper. The Internet was subsequently flooded with mentions of coffee and cherry pie.

By far the network with the most promising future seemed to be FX Networks (which also includes FXX). Even with the end of “Justified” coming this year, the network will still remain one of the prime providers of quality content. With returning shows such as “The Americans,” “You’re the Worst,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Fargo” and “American Horror Story” all set to return this year, it’s hard to argue with FX Networks CEO John Landgraf’s bold statement that FX and HBO are the top contenders for the best producers of high-quality TV. We’ll see if this statement holds true in the coming months when the networks finally get to roll out the programs they’ve been talking up throughout these TCAs.

Cory Willey can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @cojwilley.

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