ATX Television Festival Takes on the Coronavirus
Virtual festival will tackle how the pandemic changes lives
By Richard Whittaker,
12:00PM, Thu. May 14, 2020
The ATX Television Festival is going virtual this year, but even as ATX TV... From the Couch!, the celebration of all things small screen isn't hiding from the real world, with multiple previews, reunions, panels, and discussions that will look at how the coronavirus is affecting us all.
The three-day event, gathering TV lovers and creators in an online setting for its virtual ninth season, will be running as a linear stream on the ATX Television official YouTube channel, June 5-7. Originally scheduled as a regular, in-person festival, the current lockdown inspired the organizers to head online, and they've already transferred formats for some of the programming.
The fest already tweeted that two of the previously announced panels – a reunion of Cougar Town stars Busy Philipps (Laurie Keller) and Christa Miller (Ellie Torres), plus the eagerly-awaited reunion of series creator Bill Lawrence's landmark sitcom Scrubs, featuring Zach Braff (J.D.), Donald Faison (Turk), Sarah Chalke (Elliott), John C. McGinley (the irascible Dr. Cox), and Judy Reyes (Nurse Carla Espinosa), will still be happening, if in virtual form.
However, there's a whole new lineup of announcements, and today's schedule update brings in a multitude of new viewing opportunities, many of which tackle TV in our new stay-home reality:
• The Bold Type: An early look at what's happening in the pages of Scarlet magazine with the premiere of the second half of season four, just days before it broadcasts on Freeform, plus a conversation with showrunner/executive producer Wendy Straker-Hauser, and cast members Katie Stevens (Jane Sloan), Aisha Dee (Kat Edison), and Meghann Fahy (Sutton Brady-Hunter).
• Nancy Drew: An investigation into the enduring power of the teen detective (90 years and counting) from the team behind the CW's recently-renewed adaptation, including executive producer Noga Landau, showrunner/executive producer Melinda Hsu Taylor, and stars Kennedy McCann (the young sleuth herself) and Scott Wolf (Carson, Nancy's dad).
• New Amsterdam: A timely conversation with director/executive producer Peter Horton, writer/executive producer David Foster, writer/consulting producer Erika Green Swafford, cast members Ryan Eggold (Dr. Max Goodwin) and Jocko Sims (Dr. Floyd Reynolds), and a representative from the American Heart Association, discussing how shows like the NBC smash can help further discussions about health care, especially in underserved communities.
• P-Valley: A first look at the new drama from Starz, adapting creator/showrunner Katori Hall's play Pussy Valley, about life in a Mississippi strip club.
However, just as important to ATX Television as the show-specific panels are the broader-themed conversations about industry trends, and just because the fest has gone online that doesn't mean the organizers aren't still pushing those issues. Panels announced today include:
• Channel Changers: A Conversation with TV’s Presidents: An in-depth discussion with Sarah Aubrey (Head of Original Content, HBO Max), Lisa Katz & Tracey Pakosta (Co-Presidents, Scripted Programming, NBC Entertainment), Tina Perry (President, OWN), and more.
• Celebrating Authentic Stories: A look at the growth in Latinx representation on TV, in front of and behind the camera, with showrunner/executive producer/director/actor Gloria Calderón Kellett (One Day at a Time), creator/showrunner/executive producer/director Tanya Saracho (Vida), creator/executive producer/director Steven Canals (Pose), and creator/executive producer Ilana Peña (Diary of a Future President).
• The Pivot: In the middle of what seems like an industry shutdown, the creative process is still ongoing. HBO Max EVP of Original Drama Joey Chavez will be joined by more guests in this event presented by the Television Academy.
• A special panel with the ACLU Voting Rights Project director Dale Ho and guests on how TV can cover voter suppression and election issues.
• USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center’s Hollywood, Health & Society will look at mental health and addiction stories in narrative media.
And that's not all: ATX will be adding more content from TV's heaviest hitters, including:
• HBO Max
• CBS Television Studios
• FX Networks
• AMC Networks
ATX TV ... From the Couch runs June 5-7. RSVP via Eventbrite here.