ATX features panels focused on a wide variety of industry related topics.

Start planning your perfect festival now with our Online Guide & Schedule, and remember that Programming and Panelists may be added all the way up to the weeks and days before the festival, so make sure to check back often!


    Date: Saturday, 6/10

    Panelists: Ronald D. Moore (Writer/Creator/Director/EP); Cast: Edward James Olmos, Katee Sackhoff, Mary McDonnell, Tricia Helfer, Grace Park, James Callis, Michael Hogan, Michael Trucco
    Moderator: James Hibberd (Entertainment Weekly)

  • Series - Sons of Anarchy

    Date: Saturday, 6/10

    Adrenalized soap opera, bloody pulp fiction, highly complex characters…” For seven seasons, an all-star slate of television directors deftly navigated the challenging gauntlet set forth in Kurt Sutter’s Shakespearean biker drama, Sons of Anarchy — a series that featured some of television’s most gruesome violence and debauchery, while also tenderly exploring the dynamics of power, legacy, and family through a thoughtful lens. From alumni of The Shield to seasoned veterans, this group of directors reunite to reflect upon their craft, their methods of navigating the tonal shifts of this darkly funny series, and the lessons learned from their time with the Men of Mayhem.

    Panelists: Kurt Sutter (Writer/Creator/Director/EP), Paris Barclay (Director/EP), Guy Ferland (Director), Adam Arkin (Director/Actor), Billy Gierhart (Director)
    Moderator: Mandi Bierly (Yahoo! TV)

  • Panel - Mara & Salim website

    Date: Sunday, 6/11

    For nearly 20 years, producers, collaborators, and spouses Mara-Brock Akil and Salim Akil have brought their unique points of view to iconic series like Girlfriends, The Game, and Being Mary Jane, culminating in the creation of their own creative brand: Akil Productions. Now, join us for a one-on-one conversation with Mara and Salim as they discuss their partnership as writer/director (respectively), the creative voice and direction behind Akil Productions, and their new CW series DC Comics’ Black Lightning.

    Panelists: Mara Brock Akil (Writer/Creator/EP), Salim Akil (Director/EP)
    Moderator: TBA

  • Date: Saturday, 6/10

    With each passing year, more TV networks are dipping their toes into original programming, new streaming services are rapidly sprouting up, and out-of-nowhere smash hits are appearing in the most unlikely of places. As the landscape becomes unpredictable and malleable, each network is grappling to find its own place on the spectrum — do they chase the success/format of other networks’ breakout hits, dig their heels in and produce content similar to their tried-and-true mainstays, or take the risk of gambling on unseasoned prospects/talent? The top executives of these major networks gather to discuss their respective programming ethos’ and how their competition’s successes/failures inform the direction they lead their networks.

    Panelists: Kathleen McCaffrey (HBO), Nick Hall (Amazon), Grant Gish (Marvel), Bryan Seabury (CBS), Simran Sethi (Freeform)
    Moderator: Dan Fienberg (The Hollywood Reporter)

  • Date: Sunday, 6/11

    the person who has overall creative authority and management responsibility for a television program.

    Despite a clear and succinct definition, the job is anything but concise. Every series is run differently, and every job has a new set of perks and challenges. Listen as this group of showrunners have an in-depth discussion with one another on what their job actually is, swapping stories, asking each other for advice, and giving insight into the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

    Panelists: Danielle Sanchez-Witzel (The Carmichael Show), Javier Grillo-Marxuach (The Middleman), Bob Daily (Superior Donuts), Greg Garcia (Room 104)
    Moderator: Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries)

  • Date: Sunday, 6/11

    Join Paul Scheer for a compilation screening of rarely (if ever) seen, never-picked-up-pilots that he’s both starred in (alongside some very familiar faces) and produced, including Playdates, which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Following the screening, Paul will host a conversation about both the traditional and independent pilot process, discussing the intricacies, decisions, pains and triumphs inherent in departing from the “pitch, pilot, pick up” model.

    Panelists: Paul Scheer (PlaydatesThe League, Fresh Off the Boat)
    Moderator: Bill Keith (Entertainment Weekly)

  • Date: Friday, 6/9

    We all know love is complicated, but not every great relationship arc exists in the dramatic surroundings of romance and family. Some of the most compelling storylines on television are anchored in the loyalties and complexities of friendship and brother/sisterhood. The writers and actors behind some of TV’s most indelible friendships discuss the rare mix of chemistry, great writing, and (we assume) a tiny bit of witchcraft that goes into earning (and maintaining) viewers’ trust in these platonic soulmate relationships.

    Panelists: Mara Brock Akil (Being Mary Jane), Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (Sweet/Vicious), Jessica St. Clair & Lennon Parham (Playing House), Kevin Falls (Franklin & Bash)
    Moderator: Jarett Wieselman (BuzzFeed)

  • Date: Friday, 6/9

    Now more than ever, television is home to a range of increasingly complex female characters: ones that are bold, funny, fierce, sensitive, loyal, fragile, complicated, and kick ass (sometimes all in the same moment). Prepare to be awestruck as these powerhouse creatives and actors discuss the legacy of female characters before them, the necessity of women’s stories at this particular moment in pop culture, and why there’s no one way to write a “strong” woman..

    Panelists: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (Sweet/Vicious), Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer), Liz Tigelaar (Casual), Mara Brock Akil (Being Mary Jane), Taylor Dearden (Sweet/Vicious), Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica)
    Moderator: Sandra Gonzalez (CNN)

  • Spon - Casting Society of America

    Date: Saturday, 6/10

    The delicate relationship between the creator and the Casting Director is rarely explored. Often the first to be hired on a project, the Casting Director collaborates with the showrunner from the ground-up to begin fulfilling their vision. Together, they navigate creative preferences, negotiate with agents and managers, take on studio and network input, location casting, actor approvals, and much more. The stronger the relationship, the easier it is to maneuver through the challenges of the process. Join these pairs as we get an inside look at the intricacies of a relationship that hinges on trust and collaboration from one-time gigs to decades of work.

    Panelists: Jennifer Euston & Liz Flahive (GLOW), Tracy Lilienfield & Marta Kauffman (Grace and Frankie), Wendy O’Brien & Mike Royce (Enlisted), Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy)
    Moderator: Ben Travers (IndieWire)

  • Date: Friday, 6/9

    You’ve heard it before, “Film is a director’s medium,” clearly implying TV belongs to the writer. While that statement can easily be debated, it is undoubtedly true that the showrunner is at the helm, and an episodic director must follow his or her lead. As different directors tackle single episodes or an entire series, a strong relationship between these two entities is crucial in maintaining a cohesive and dynamic vision of the storytelling. Join these showrunner + director pairs, who have worked together across multiple episodes, as they discuss the challenges of collaborating across a season of stories, establishing trust, and what occurs when opinions collide.

    Panelists: Kevin Falls & Paris Barclay (Pitch), Mara Brock Akil & Salim Akil (Being Mary Jane), Joe Weisberg & Joel Fields & Thomas Schlamme (The Americans)
    Moderator: Kat Candler (Queen Sugar)

  • KIND

    Date: Thursday, 6/8

    Breaking into every industry requires a combination of timing, luck, talent, and relationships. For many TV writers, that “big break” is getting a showrunner to take a risk by inviting a newcomer into the writers room for the first time. This unique conversation between pairs of writers, one who took a chance and one who caught a break, explores the relationship from both sides of that first gig – what led to the hire, the ups and downs, and what the opportunity has done for both people involved.

    Panelists: Graham Yost & Dave Andron (Justified), Julie Plec & Carina MacKenzie (The Originals), additional panelists TBA
    Moderator: Sara Osburn (Mix 94.7)

  • Date: Saturday, 6/10

    The transition from “in front of” to “behind” the camera is simultaneously a natural and complicated move. An actor’s primary focus is on a performance and character, while a director collaborates with a multitude of departments to craft the entire episode. Join some of your favorite TV faces as they discuss what drove them to take on this new role, the struggles (and perks) of creative collaborations, and how their perspectives and experiences as performers informed their new job.

    Panelists: Kyra Sedgwick (Story of a Girl), Patrick J. Adams (Suits), Adam Arkin (Justified), Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica), Ken Olin (thirtysomething)
    Moderator: Mandi Bierly (Yahoo! TV)

  • Network - The Splat

    Date: Friday, 6/9

    In the ’90s, Nickelodeon broke unprecedented ground for children’s entertainment with an innovative slate of sitcoms, game shows, and animated series.  Unlike any other channel, kids could turn on the TV and see themselves in the center of it all.

    With NickSplat, home to the first generation of iconic Nickelodeon hits, we revisit summers spent at Bar None and Camp Anawanna, and the crazy adventures of Pete & Pete.  Join the writers, creators, and cast members for an in-depth look at their experiences behind the scenes of these beloved shows.

    Panelists: Graham Yost (Writer, Hey Dude), David Lascher (Cast, Hey Dude), Kelly Brown (Cast, Hey Dude), Steve Slavkin (Creator, Salute Your Shorts), Danny Cooksey (Cast, Salute Your Shorts), Chris Viscardi (Creator, The Adventures of Pete & Pete), Danny Tamberelli (Cast, The Adventures of Pete & Pete), Michael C. Maronna (Cast, The Adventures of Pete & Pete)
    Moderator: Leanne Aguilera (Entertainment Tonight)

  • Date: Friday, 6/9

    Phil Rosenthal may have created Everybody Loves Raymond, but his heart is in his stomach, and he’s taken his love for food to the small screen with his James Beard Award winning series, “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having” — five words that won’t steer you wrong. Join us and Phil for a bite as we talk about the two things every ATX-er loves: TV and food!

    Panelist: Phil Rosenthal
    Moderator: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (Sweet/Vicious)

  • Date: Sunday, 6/11

    High school settings have been a staple of popular TV for decades, but lately these “teenage dramas” are disappearing. With many characters graduating, and new series being developed or revamped to focus on the college, why has television abandoned these young formative years? Creators and showrunners who are immersed in the world discuss the NA (“new adult”) genre, why it has taken the place of YA, and the fun (yet challenging) parts of storytelling from this new (older) age bracket.

    Panelists: Anna Fricke (Dawson’s Creek), David Hudgins (Friday Night Lights), Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries), Rebecca Serle (Famous in Love), Amanda Lasher (Sweet/Vicious)
    Moderator: Jarett Wieselman (BuzzFeed)

  • Date: Friday, 6/9

    While it may come in a variety of shapes and sizes, the concept of ’family’ is undeniably universal — which is why it so often finds itself central to many of TV’s most compelling and emotional series. The creatives behind some of the most memorable modern family dramas discuss the process of shaping these familial relationships, how they are inherently complicated, and why they believe week after week (or all at once) audiences invest in the struggles, successes, and tragedies of these fictional families.

    Panelists: David Hudgins (Friday Night Lights), Michael Rauch (Royal Pains), Anna Fricke (Everwood), Paul Garnes (Queen Sugar), Mitchell Burgess (Blue Bloods), Robin Green (Blue Bloods)
    Moderator: Sarah Rodman (LA Times)

  • Network - MTV

    Date: Saturday, 6/10

    Whether you see reality TV as an intriguing, ever-evolving art form, or a never-ending disrupter, there is simply no denying MTV’s legacy as the birthplace of the modern genre. From the early days of The Real World and Road Rules, which set the stage for conflict resolution and drama queens; to the highly stylized worlds of Laguna Beach and The Hills; to current staples like Teen Mom and The Challenge, this network has been at the forefront of the evolution of reality programming. Join the pioneers of this highly addictive genre as they reflect on the ongoing journey of reality television, and discuss the art of capturing explosive moments that bring audiences back, week after week.

    Panelists: Nina L. Diaz (Head of Unscripted Programming, MTV), Jon Murray (The Real World), Sally Ann Salsano (Jersey Shore), Morgan J. Freeman (Teen Mom)
    Moderator: Jarett Wieselman (BuzzFeed)

  • Date: Saturday, 6/10

    Through its innate intimacy and week-to-week stories, television is arguably our most impactful medium, having the power to literally change hearts and minds. Hear creators, EPs, and executives discuss how their series have surpassed diversity trends and token characters by organically weaving in storylines of race, religion, sexual assault, the foster care system, immigration, health care, and many many more, with the belief that exposing audiences to a variety of people, experiences, and worlds they might never encounter will normalize these unfamiliar issues and defuse them once and for all.

    Panelists: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (Sweet/Vicious), Justin Simien (Dear White People), Gloria Calderon Kellett (One Day at a Time), David Hudgins (Friday Night Lights)
    Moderator: Maury McIntyre (President, Television Academy)

  • Date: Friday, 6/9

    “Peak TV” means that there’s room in the marketplace for both original ideas and pre-existing stories, much of which is mined from source material (graphic novels, comics, fiction and non-fiction books, movies), otherwise known as I.P. (Intellectual Properties). Join a conversation with executives and creatives as they discuss the pros & cons of finding and purchasing pre-existing properties across all formats, employing appropriate talent to adapt, packaging with cast and directors, and selling to networks. Whether it be limited/event series or anthologies or ongoing series, join us for a dialogue about how IP is playing a bigger and bigger role in what we’re watching!

    Panelists: Kathleen McCaffrey (HBO), Grant Gish (Marvel), Carolyn Newman (eOne), Alex Maggioni (Amblin), Ali Krug (Annapurna Television), Peter Gal (Dreamworks Animation Television)
    Moderator: Dan Fienberg (The Hollywood Reporter)

  • Series - Suits_S7

    Date: Sunday, 6/11

    After six seasons of smooth-talking, case-closing twists and turns, USA Network and Universal Cable Productions’ hit legal drama SUITS is going back to the beginning with a live table read of the original pilot episode at the ATX Television Festival. Join executive producer and creator Aaron Korsh, alongside the full, original cast – Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams, Rick Hoffman, Gina Torres, Sarah Rafferty and Meghan Markle – as they reflect on the show’s key moments, tease what’s to come in Season 7 (premiering July 12th on USA Network) and celebrate their upcoming 100th episode milestone.

    Panelists: Aaron Korsh (Writer/Creator/EP); Cast: Patrick J. Adams, Gabriel Macht, Gina Torres, Meghan Markle, Rick Hoffman, Sarah Rafferty
    Moderator: Robyn Ross (Entertainment Weekly)

  • Series - Talk Show the Game Show

    Date: Friday, 6/9

    Panelists: Guy Branum (Host)
    Moderator: TBA

  • Date: Friday, 6/9

    After an election that resulted in riveting and addictive TV-viewing, much of the world has come out the other side feeling a spectrum of emotions: from fear to anger to confusion and perhaps, motivation. We’re often faced during this time of change with the question, “Where do we go from here?” Join creatives as they discuss approaching their art as both an outlet and a tool, how (or if) they plan to write for fans that might not agree with them, and where the responsibility of an artist lies in a divided world.

    Panelists: Liz Tigelaar (Casual), Javier Grillo-Marxuach (The Middleman), Paul Garnes (Queen Sugar), Michael Rauch (Royal Pains), Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries)
    Moderator: Michael Schneider (IndieWire)

  • Date: Thursday, 6/8

    It’s no secret there are a plethora of quality and addictive TV shows that do not live on “traditional” television — but in the age of cord-cutting, competing cable & streaming providers, and traditional audiences still learning to navigate their options, what draws a casual viewer or die-hard fan into the wild west that is digital content? Once there, how are they convinced your content is worth the “buy-in”? Creators and executives from digital platforms and production companies showcase the series all TV-lovers need to be watching, why they chose to sidestep the mainstream route, and the pros and cons of operating outside the box.

    Panelists: Jina Jones (Producer, AwesomenessTV) & Hannah Macpherson (Writer/Director, T@gged), Burnie Burns (COO, Rooster Teeth) & Josh Flanagan (Writer/Creator, Day 5), Kulap Vilaysack (Creator/EP, Bajillion Dollar Propertie$), Spencer Griffin (EP, CollegeHumor Originals)
    Moderator: Michael Schneider (IndieWire)

  • Date: Sunday, 6/11

    Television producer, writer and creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason has penned over 350 comedic episodes, and in the process, earned a reputation as the voice of smart, Southern humor on television. From the legendary Sugarbaker women of Atlanta (Designing Women), to the critically lauded small-town characters of Evening Shade to the darkly hilarious political comedy Hearts Afire, and even the Texas women of 12 Miles of Bad Road that never made it to air, Bloodworth-Thomason and team have fearlessly tackled misogyny, racism, political correctness, domestic violence, mental illness, AIDS, homophobia, elitism and regionalism, while delivering it with sophisticated charm. Join an expansive conversation on these series’, the Southern identity, and the current state of culture, politics, and art on TV.

    Panelists: Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (Writer/Creator/EP), Harry Thomason (Director/EP), Jeff Sagansky (former President, CBS); Cast: Marilu Henner, Markie Post, Hal Holbrook, Kim Dickens
    Moderator: Bill Keith (Entertainment Weekly)

  • Spon - Final Draft resize

    Date: Saturday, 6/10

    The Pitch Finals have arrived! After narrowing down from hundreds of applicants, the judges are aching to hear our finalists pitch live, and name a winner! Join us as our ten finalists each get 3 minutes to give their best pitch. The winner will receive a development meeting with one of our judges and a chance to pitch to our network partners. Y’all never know, one of these series could be on your TV (or computer) next year!

    Panelists: Hannah KS Canter (Okay Goodnight), Athena Wickham (Kilter Films), Alex Maggioni (Amblin TV), Bryan Seabury (CBS), Liz Tigelaar (Casual), Anna Fricke (Wayward Pines), Phil Rosenthal (Everybody Loves Raymond)
    Moderator: Sara Osburn (Mix 94.7)

  • Date: Friday, 6/9

    From network to cable to streaming platforms, these individuals are deciding the fate of your current and future favorite programming. As we continue to live in a perpetual state of “Peak TV,” how does a network or studio decide what content to create? How do they balance their brand, while continuing to grow and challenge their viewers? As the landscape grows, “channels” are racing to build audiences’ trust in what can be expected from their content — but budgets get tighter, decisions to make a pilot vs. straight to series get harder, which equals a rising pressure to define their brands and establish audiences.

    Panelists: Jennifer Salke (NBC Entertainment), Casey Bloys (HBO), Nick Grad (FX), Craig Erwich (Hulu), Gary Levine (Showtime)
    Moderator: Debra Birnbaum (Variety)

  • Date: Saturday, 6/10

    When it comes to comedy, most viewers simply ask “is this funny?”. Sitcoms are meant to entertain, bring audiences in on the joke, and be an escape from “real life.” In today’s climate, tides are turning as the children of Norman Lear take his lead by seamlessly incorporating issues and debates that are meant to challenge and teach. From race to gender, and politics to religion, these sitcom writers achieve bigger conversations about issues that make a difference in your life, while still making you laugh.

    Panelists: Danielle Sanchez-Witzel (The Carmichael Show), Bob Daily (Superior Donuts), Justin Simien (Dear White People), Mike Royce (One Day at a Time), Gloria Calderon Kellett (One Day at a Time)
    Moderator: Sandra Gonzalez (CNN)

  • Series - Grace and Frankie

    Date: Sunday, 6/11

    An intimate conversation with the on and off-screen women that create “Grace & Frankie;” a comedic and heartfelt series that boldly tackles gender, age, sexual orientation, and a spectrum of relationship dynamics from mother/daughter to husband/wife to dating and of course, friendship. Relationships define the stories both in front of and behind the camera, from the production company (Okay Goodnight), to the development process, casting, and production, this panel will delve into the groundbreaking characters and storylines they represent for women across multiple generations.

    Panelists: Marta Kauffman (Showrunner), Hannah K.S. Canter (Producer), Robbie Rowe Tollin (EP), Rebecca Asher (Director); Cast: June Diane Raphael, Brooklyn Decker
    Moderator: Jarett Wieselman (BuzzFeed)

  • TSP Logo

    Date: Friday, 6/9

    Inspiration for a story can be drawn from an infinite amount of places, one of which is the writer’s own personal experience. These writers discuss storylines they’ve created or by happenstance been assigned to that have mirrored parts of their own lives, how they walked the line between truth and fiction, and how they personally tackled subjects that might be a little too close to home.

    Panelists: Liz Tigelaar (Life Unexpected), David Hudgins (Parenthood), Javier Grillo-Marxuach (The Middleman), Robia Rashid (Atypical)
    Moderator: Natalie Abrams (Entertainment Weekly)

  • Date: Saturday, 6/10

    In the age of too-many-shows-and-not-enough-time, a distinct musical language can be the make or break element that sets a series apart and strikes a lingering note with viewers. When creating a “world” and “setting the tone,” it starts with the music supervisor and creator and expands from there. What’s the secret to crafting the perfect TV mixtape — one that lends page & screen to ear & emotion, and keeps viewers thinking about a show long after an episode ends? Join us for an in-depth look at the delicate (and often powerful connection) between the right song and the right scene, and the creative collaboration between producers & the music supervisors who craft the sound of their show.

    Panelists:  Maggie Phillips & Dave Andron (Snowfall), Liza Richardson & David Hudgins (Friday Night Lights), Justin Simien (Dear White People)
    Moderator: Michael Schneider (IndieWire)

  • Date: Saturday, 6/10

    A common element of humanity that spans generations of social and cultural interactions, and is deeply embedded in our DNA, is the concept of the “enemy” (or the “other”) that we all must face. Whether it is external or internal, this conflict continues to grip us as we explore the meaning of our own enemy: what it means to be one, to have one, and ultimately, understand and see the “other” as human. These writers discuss the questions they’re forced to confront in crafting “both sides” of a story, exploring human and character motivations in creating understanding, challenging notions of “good” and “bad,” and how they have to abandon (or reconsider) preconceived notions of “who” is the enemy.

    Panelists: Joe Weisberg (The Americans), Joel Fields (The Americans), Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), Graham Yost (Sneaky Pete)
    Moderator: Eric Goldman (IGN)

  • Date: Friday, 6/9

    With the rate at which TV is being produced and consumed, it’s not surprising that the ways in which we discuss and process television have evolved dramatically. From Reddit threads and think pieces, to live-tweeting and podcasts, the TV Theory business is booming. Yet, for a series with an ongoing mystery and unanswered questions, it can begin to feel like the fandom is more about solving a show than experiencing it. The creatives who produce your favorite shows and the critics who cover them discuss how hyper-analysis does (and doesn’t) affect the creative process, balancing the art of misdirection vs. deception, and what it means to cede your story to an audience in 2017.

    Panelists: Monica Owusu-Breen (Midnight, TX), Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Lost), Michael Rauch (Royal Pains), Noreen O’Toole (Westworld)
    Moderator: Natalie Abrams (Entertainment Weekly)

  • Date: Thursday, 6/8

    ATX Alums & Staff share their tips, tricks, and breakfast taco recommendations for getting through the festival. Whether you’re a first-timer or ATX pro, join us (and some special guests) to help kick off Season 6!

    Panelists: TBA
    Moderators: Caitlin McFarland, Emily Gipson

*** All individuals/artists' schedules and panel topics are subject to change without notice and are not guaranteed.