'West Wing' and 'Ugly Betty' Reunions Highlight This Year's ATX Television Festival
Fresh off of its ultra-hip SXSW festival last month — which, as part of its focus on various art forms, included panels on popular TV series like Mr. Robot and Broad City — the city of Austin is now gearing up to host the fifth installment of the ATX Television Festival. As its name implies, this festival is ALL about the small screen. Running June 9-12, the 2016 ATX Television Festival is featuring a number of pretty awesome-sounding marquee events for fans of TV past, present and future.
Kicking off the celebration on Opening Night is a premiere screening of USA Network's upcoming drama series Queen of the South. Based on the hugely popular Spanish-language telenovela La Reina Del Sur, the reimagined series follows Teresa Mendoza (Alice Braga), who is forced to go on the run and seek refuge in America after her cartel boyfriend is murdered. Following the screening, a panel with the cast and creators will take place.
Also of note, especially in this presidential election year when all eyes are turned toward politics, the festival will host "The West Wing Administration" panel, featuring the iconic series' creator/executive producer Aaron Sorkin and director/producer Thomas Schlamme, along with the following cast members who have committed so far: Bradley Whitford, Dule Hill, Joshua Malina, Richard Schiff and Janel Moloney. The panel is marking the 10th anniversary of The West Wing's series finale, and will delve into the show's storylines, characters and enduring fandom.
Closing Night of the festival features a 10-year anniversary of another sort — a reunion celebration of the comedy Ugly Betty. Cast members America Ferrara, Eric Mabius, Becki Newton, Michael Urie, Ashley Jensen, Ana Ortiz, Tony Plana, Mark Indelicato, Vanessa Williams and Rebecca Romijn are confirmed to be attending. (America Ferrara will be busy at the festival, as she is also appearing in a panel following a screening of her current NBC series Superstore, which has been recently renewed.)
Also of note at this year's ATX Television Festival:
- Denis Leary returns with a panel for both his FX series Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll — with fellow cast members Elizabeth Gillies, Elaine Hendrix, John Ales and Bobby Kelly — and as part of a special Rescue Me reunion, with fellow creator Peter Tolan, and cast members Callie Thorne, Andrea Roth, Michael Lombardi, James McCaffrey, Lenny Clarie and Larenz Tate. Additional panelist are to be announced.
- Starz will host the Season 3 premiere of its comedy series Survivor's Remorse. Creator Mike O'Malley and direct Ali LeRoi will be on hand, along with cast members RonReaco Lee, Jessie Usher and Teyonah Parris.
- WGN's Outsiders will host a panel with EPs Peter Tolan and Peter Mattei, to discuss Season 1 and where the show is headed in Season 2. Never-before-seen footage from the series will be screened.
- AT&T Audience Network makes its ATX debut this year, with a panel for its original series Kingdom.
- The upcoming TBS series Search Party will have a screening, followed by a conversation with star Alia Shawkat and creators Sara-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers.
- The O.C. Writers Room reunion will feature creator Josh Schwartz and the beloved former CW series' writers, along with a script reading of the pilot episode; a Friday Night Lights High School Reunion will take place on Panther Field, with surprise guests and events; Everybody Loves Raymond will have a 20-year reunion with cast and producers; The Shield Writers Room reunion will feature creator Shawn Ryan and the famed crime drama's writers; and plenty more.
Sounds like a veritable feast for TV fans! For more information, tickets and badges, visit atxfestival.com