Editor’s note: This article was originally published May 22, 2014
Bigger and better.
That’s the promise organizers of the ATX Television Festival are making to this year’s attendees.
In its third year, the festival features screenings and meet-and-greet sessions with producers and celebrities from current TV shows, as well as cult classics.
It runs June 5-8 at several downtown venues, including the State Theater, the Stephen F. Austin Hotel and Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz.
About 1,250 people — a mix of locals and out-of-towners — are expected to attend this year, co-founders Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson said. That’s up about 30 percent from last year, which itself was up 30 percent from the inaugural festival in 2012.
"The same people who came the first year are returning and bringing their friends," Gipson said. "I don’t think we ever could’ve known where we’d be by our third year. Thankfully, this year is shaping up great. It keeps exploding with new programming. We keep trying to find places for it. It’s exciting and overwhelming."
In total, about 30 shows will be on hand this year, including current hits "Archer," "Bates Motel," "Orange is the New Black" and "The Goldbergs."
Classic shows represented include Nickelodeon’s "Hey Dude," which is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its debut this year. The show aired from 1989 to 1991. A number of writers, as well as several actors, will be here for a reunion.
"The reunions are always fun," McFarland said. "There’s usually lots of crying."
Another reunion will feature the cast and crew of the WB network’s "Roswell," which is marking its 15th anniversary.
"We’ve been able to build great relationships with a lot of studios and networks," McFarland said. "They know that everyone who’s coming is a big TV fan."
"Most festivals lean one way or the other," Gipson said. "One of the best things about our festival is the balance between fans and people who work in the industry. That makes us more accessible."
One of the highlights this year, McFarland and Gipson said, is a visit from Henry Winkler, who will be presented with the first-ever Achievement in Television Excellence Award. Winkler, 68, is perhaps best known for his role as Arthur (the Fonz) Fonzarelli on "Happy Days," but he continues to be active in the TV industry, working in front of the camera and behind the scenes on several projects.
"It’s not as hard as you might think to get these actors and directors to come to Austin," Gipson said. "They’ve either come here before and had the best time or their friends have visited and told them how great Austin is."
ATX Television Festival badges that are good for the entire weekend are on sale now for $225 at atxfestival.com.
ATX Television Festival
When: June 5-8
Where: Multiple downtown Austin venues
Tickets: $225 for a weekend badge
On the Web: atxfestival.com