NATPE’s Opening Day

As far as NATPE goes, the days of the big booths with a just-as-big picture of Mary Hart front and center are long gone. But the mission remains the same – for individuals to gather and network with industry professionals (not to mention making a sale or two.) The three day gathering got underway Monday with increased attendance and increased expectations in its second year in South Florida.

Here’s a brief synopsis what happened on the first day:

– There were panels a plenty at NATPE and among the first that were held was a discussion of web video and what it would have to do to evolve from videos of cats falling off TVs to premium content. The panel was led by News Corp. Chief Digital Officer Jonathan Miller and Yahoo’s executive VP Ross Levinsohn. Both men believe the premium content revolution will begin this year (and the sooner, the better. If yours truly has to watch YouTube videos of imbeciles snatching food from drive-thru windows one more time…) Both men also talked about how Netflix and Hulu are playing an important role in that revolution.

– NBC president of late night and alternative programming Paul Telgady appeared at a panel Monday and acknowledged the talent show competition is glutted, but there might be room for at least one or two more similar shows as NBC is readying The Voice for its post-Super Bowl season premiere on February 5. Earlier, American Idol had its season premiere and was down significantly from last year. Meanwhile, Telgady addressed the difficulty on programming on Saturday night as Fox recently announced it was programming original animated programming in the daypart.

– Former ABC and Comcast Cable Networks executive Ted Harbert spoke about his new duties as head of the NBC-owned stations, which WMAQ is a part of and how excited he is. He spoke about the upcoming Steve Harvey and Jeff Probst shows in daytime, and the upcoming new series Smash and Fashion Star in primetime. He also stressed that being cheap didn’t exactly work out at the owned station group (having news vans parked in New Jersey while a fire is raging in Queens to save money isn’t exactly the best way to utilize your newsgathering tools.)

You want sales? Well, we got them right here:

– Chicago-based MeTV acquired rights to several classic children’s animated series from syndicator Broadcast Partners. The package contains several series from the Filmation library (Fat Albert, Archies, He-Man, She-Ra,) and other cartoons such as Gumby and Mr. Magoo. The deals come as MeTV plans to launch a classic animation block on Saturday mornings this spring.

– Meanwhile, the other Chicago-based retro TV network had some news of its own: Antenna TV, run from WGN-TV (and appears on 9.2 here) announced Monday it has acquired WKRP in Cincinnati for airing beginning this April, where it will air Sunday nights in primetime. The deal covers only the original CBS series and not the syndicated revival, which aired from 1991-93.

– Don’t know why, but the Peter Rodgers Organization acquired rights to failed 1990’s syndicated dramas Conan The Adventurer, which ran during the 1997-98 season and Acapulco Heat, which ran during the 1993-94 and 1998-99 television seasons. Both series were formerly syndicated by the now-defunct Keller Entertainment Group (the 1993-94 airings of Acapulco Heat were originally syndicated by All American Television, which folded into Fremantle Media in 1997.)

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