It’s Debatable.

Date: Friday 6/5
Time: 12:00pm
Venue: Google Fiber Space

Last year there were 1,715 TV shows in primetime alone. Often viewers look to critics to help them wade through the plethora of the great, the good, and the soon-to-be cancelled. A panel of critics will discuss how the abundance of shows has changed their job and how they decide what they will and won’t cover. Plus they’ll let you be privy to an insider’s discussion most never get to hear…what they really think. THEN, we test how strong they are in their opinions in a classic debate. A topic will be chosen and sides defended as the time runs down on the clock.

Panelists: Tara Ariano, Todd VanDerWerff, Dan Fienberg
Moderator: Tim Goodman

The Buyers

Date:  Friday 6/5
Time: 12:00 PM
Venue: SFA Assembly Room

How does a studio or network know whether or not a show is “right” for them? What happens when multiple executives from different companies want the same series? Hear from a panel of network, cable, and platform executives responsonsible for buying content. These individuals will discuss what makes them unique, as well as, how they form and buy series.

Panelists: Kathleen McCaffrey (HBO), Ken Segna (Starz), David Sleven (NBC Entertainment), David Sleven, Grant Gish
Moderator: Lesley Goldberg

The Final Finale. presented by Entertainment Weekly

Date: Friday, 6/5
Time 12:30 PM
Venue: SFA Ballroom

As true fans, we’ve all had show depression. As our favorite story fades to black, that final image ingrains itself in our hearts forever. Now, imagine the weight that comes with deciding on that final shot, satisfying a viewer while doing the characters justice, and still being able to sleep at night. Only a select few shows are given the opportunity to end how and when their creators decide. Hear from these showrunners as they discuss the pressure, the satisfaction, the luxury, and pain of wrapping up their story.

Panelist: Marta Kauffman, Ron Cowen & Dan Lipman, Graham Yost
Moderator: Henry Goldblatt

Turn Down for What?! A Look at Testing + Focus Groups

Date: Saturday 6/6
Time: 11:30 AM
Venue: Google Fiber Space

For many TV series, testing a pilot is a thing of the past, yet, the major networks still keep the process alive, and to many creators, it’s an excruciating part of the pilot process. Kyle Killen returns for another indepth look at a specific track of television production with a presentation on the testing process. Following his breakdown of the unique stage of production, join Kyle and other showrunners/creators, as they tell of their own experiences with focus groups and testing and how that changed his or her show.

Panelists: Julie Plec, Dina Hillier, Chad Hodge, Ben Wexler
Moderator: Kyle Killen

The Pitch Competition presented by Final Draft Inc.

The Pitch Competition presented by Final Draft Inc.

Date: Friday, 6/5
Time: 10:00 AM
Venue: SFA Ballroom

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!

Judges: Kyle Killen, Scott Pennington, Dina Hillier, Jenny Bicks, Tegan Molloy
Moderator: Emily Moss Wilson

The Devoted Niche vs. The Casual Mass: Is It Really All In the Numbers?

Date: Saturday, 6/6
Time: 11:30 AM
Venue: SFA Ballroom

What makes an audience valuable? We know the ability for a show to continue comes down to advertisers and subscribers. We understand if a show’s not making money, it can’t continue. But that doesn’t change the fact that 20 million people who casually tune in might not notice if their show goes away, and 2 million who are passionately devoted to a show may never recover from its early demise.

Can a loyal, passionate fan base whose voice is ten times louder than a casual viewer make an impact? What would a producer/creative team rather have: a show that is continuously talked about by a small audience OR one that is enjoyed by the masses but doesn’t stick with them? Is it possible to be both?

Creators, showrunners, and execs of the highest and lowest rated shows on television discuss where they fall in the niche vs mass appeal, how it varies from network to cable to streaming, and essentially what their audiences mean to them.

Panelists: Phil Rosenthal, Bryan Fuller, Kathleen McCaffrey, Noah Hawley
Moderator: Ben Blacker


What’s Your Pitch?

Date: Saturday 6/6
Time: 2:30 PM
Venue: SFA Ballroom

Ever wonder how your favorite series was pitched in the room? How’d they get a studio/network on board with the show that eventually made it to your small screen? Do you think it morphed along the way into something else or did they always know?

Hear directly from showrunners/creators how they pitched their original series ideas, plus executives that have heard some of the most iconic pitches, then judge for yourself if that is in fact what made it to your small screen. Then they’ll discuss the factors that affected the original pitch, the pilot, and the ultimate series; and why certain changes may have been made to get their story onto your TV.

Panelists: Michael Jacobs, Dan Harmon, Kathleen McCaffrey, Mark Johnson

Moderator: Debra Birnbaum


Reflective Casting: Trends or Content? presented by Casting Society of America

Date:  Friday, 6/5
Time: 1:30 PM
Venue: SFA Assembly Room

From beginning to end, casting directors work with directors, writers, and producers to shape the look and feel of a series from leads to guest stars. They are the front line in creating the casts of your favorite series. Listen to this unique and diverse group discuss the trends they have seen in the past and in the current landscape of TV. Casting series like Girls, Orange is the New Black, Fresh Off the Boat, they have seen the rise of series to include more diversity. Keeping in mind that diversity means more than just “people of color” — and includes all minorities from gender, race, and sexualities.

As the casting (and TV) world finally appears to be shifting towards an accurate portrayal of the world we live in hear their perspective on if it is the content or the trends that are driving casting and creating new movements.

Panelists: Jen Euston (Girls, Orange is the New Black), Tracy Lilienfield (Grace& Frankie, Dream On), Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd (Moesha, Being Mary Jane), and Alyssa Weisberg (Lost, Workaholics)
Moderator: Laura Prudom

Defining Docuseries

Date: Saturday, 6/6
Time: 12:00 PM
Venue: SFA Assembly Room

The landscape of unscripted television continues to expand to include multiple sub-genres like “celebrity.” “lifestyle,” “competition,” and “docuseries.” Understanding the definitions of each is near impossible, with viewers and producers bringing their own perceptions to the table. Are the “Real Housewives” a docuseries? Are they celebrities?

As “reality” series rise to peaks of sensationalism, viewer’s expectations for quality reach an all time low. Though there are still some networks and producers who are raising the bar, creating content not only on par with scripted but at times surpassing it with cinematic storytelling.

Join executive producers and network executives responsible for “High Profits,” “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” “Morgan Spurlock Inside Man,” “30 Days” and more discuss, debate, and ultimately define, once and for all, what a “docuseries” should be.

Panelists: Lizzie Kerner (CNN Originals), Pat Kondelis (Bat Bridge Ent.), Ethan Goldman (Warrior Poets), Sandra Zweig (Zero Point Zero), Charlie Ebersol (The Company)

Moderator: Sandra Gonzalez