NATPE’s winning again


The National Association of Programming Executives (NATPE, for short) convention is winning again, and what better way to celebrate than have Charlie Sheen show up.

Yes, NATPE is now “winning”!

A gathering that was once written off for dead several years ago is back with a vengeance – this year’s convention is being held at the Foutainebleau Resort in Miami for the second year in a row from January 23 to 25. According to Broadcasting & Cable, some 250 to 300 companies will be exhibiting on the convention floor, along with 50 new companies.

And for the first time in a long time, all of syndication’s heavyweights – CBS Television Distribution, NBCUniversal Television Distribution, Warner Bros., Twentieth Television, Disney, and Sony will be at the convention at the same time. Sony has skipped NATPE the last few years to concentrate more on C3 (a large consumer electronics show) in Las Vegas.

One of the reasons for the increased interest is the increased number of product the syndicators have to offer in the post-Oprah era- especially new daytime talk shows from Steve Harvey, Jeff Probst, Katie Couric, and Ricki Lake.

One of those companies (Debmar-Mercury) is rolling out its new Anger Management sitcom with Charlie Sheen, who is scheduled to appear at an invite-only party on behalf of Debmar- Mercury on NATPE’s first night. The series has already been sold to FX in the United States and to CTV owner Bell Media in Canada for a ten episode run. If the run is successful, the series would be picked up for ninety more episodes for a one hundred-episode package in broadcast syndication – similar to how Debmar’s Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and Meet The Browns were sold.

Attendance at NATPE is close to a sell-out – more than 5,000 are expected to attend, according to NATPE President Rick Feldman, who was the former longtime GM of KCOP-TV in Los Angeles. NATPE’s layout is being reconfigured so attendees won’t endure public transportation-like waits for elevators in the hotel like they experienced last year.

In addition, there are many workshops and panels being held over the three-day period. For the full detailed schedule of events, click here. Also scheduled to take place at NATPE is The 9th Annual Brandon Tarikoff Legacy Awards held Tuesday, January 24. One of the honorees is former WLS-TV GM Dennis Swanson, who now is in an executive position at Fox Television Stations. Previous reciepiants of the Brandon Tarikoff Legacy Award include Chuck Lorre, Stephen J. Cannell, Jeff Gaspin, Ben Silverman, Mary Hart, Regis Philbin, Bob Wright, Mark Burnett and Dick Wolf.