HBO’s Next Hit Show Might Just Be From the Independent Television Festival

ITV Festival
Courtesy ITV Festival
ITV Festival

From October 11 to 15, the annual Independent Television Festival—sponsored in part by TV Guide Magazine—brought together industry pros and emerging talent in Manchester, Vermont.

Since it launched in 2006, ITVFest has been offering writers, editors, producers and directors a chance to connect with the folks who could get their shows on the air. “There needs to be a place where television executives can find the best new independently created stories,” says Philip Gilpin Jr., ITVFest’s executive director.

Original series submitted at previous ITVFests have been optioned by major studios, and some are currently being shopped around to networks and streaming platforms.

This year, for the first time, the creators of the festival’s winning shows were granted a sit-down with programming and development honchos from HBO (another ITVFest sponsor). “Obviously, we can’t force a network to guarantee a deal,” Gilpin says. “But we can put you in the room.”

As for who got the golden tickets? That’d be Matt Ferrucci for Companion, a comedy about a troubled NBA star who hires himself a minder, and Andrew Bryan and Alicia Davis’s Shepherd, a drama featuring a priest turned vigilante. It may be just a matter of time until one of these—or any number of the projects—turns up on your screen. Says Gilpin, “There were a few that got the audience reaction, ‘Where’s Episode 2? I want this on my television tonight!’”