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Preview This! With Mike from CW69/Atlanta

This past weekend, I attended the inaugural ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas, a festival created by Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson to celebrate the world of television, with the emphasis on interaction between the fans of TV and the actors, writers, creators and producers of the shows that they love.

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State TheatreFriday night kicked off the festival, with a red carpet affair at the State Theatre in downtown Austin. Stars such as Judy Greer (Royal Pains), Scott Porter (Heart of Dixie), Britt Roberston (Secret Circle), Shiri Appleby (Life Unexpected), James Lafferty (One Tree Hill), Jason Ritter (Parenthood), and Reshma Shetty (Royal Pains) appeared. The red carpet was followed with a screening of the season premieres of two of USA Network’s highly anticipated programs; Suits and Royal Pains. Following the screenings, a panel was conducted with Michael Rauch (Executive Producer of Royal Pains), Andrew Lenchewski (Executive Producer of Royal Pains), Reshma Shetty (Divya Katdare on Royal Pains) and David Bartis (Executive Producer of Suits).

On Saturday, a number of panels and screenings were conducted at several locations around Austin, including the Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel, the State Theatre and the Alamo Drafthouse – highlights from Saturday included a Life Unexpected screening/panel with creator Liz Tigelaar and stars of the show, Shiri Appleby, Britt Robertson, Arielle Kebbel and Ksenia Solo. Also, there was a screening/panel of The Vampire Diaries with co-creator Julie Plec, writer Joes Molina and star Arielle Kebbel (Lexi). Rounding up the day was the Friday Night Lights panel, with Executive Producers David Hudgins, Jason Katims and cast members Dora Madison Burge, Gaius Charles, Michael B. Jordan, Matt Lauria, Jess Plemons, Scott Porter, Louanne Stephens and Alicia Witt.

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Saturday night was the Friday Night Lights event at the Hotel San Jose. Live music started the evening off with Tigerbone, followed by Alicia Witt, with Cowboy & Indians wrapping up the night’s musical performances. The evening was topped off by a screening of the series finale of Friday Night Lights. Quite a few cast members of the show came out to celebrate the program that was shot in Austin.

Sunday highlights included a screening/panel for Once Upon A Time with legendary writer/producer Jane Espenson, a screening/panel for Criminal Minds with show runner Erica Messer, a screening/panel for the beloved sci-fi show Firefly with writers Ben Edlund and Jose Molina. Finally, a screening/panel for the NBC drama Parenthood, with creator Jason Katims, music supervisor Liza Richardson, music contributor Landon Pigg, and actors Dax Shepard, Mae Whitman, and Jason Ritter.

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Overall the ATX Television Festival was a blast to attend, where I met both the people who bring us the shows we enjoy and the fans that love the medium. ATX Television Festival website