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ATX Television Festival brings big-name celebs to town

Gary Dinges
gdinges@statesman.com

Editor’s note: This article was originally published June 5, 2013

Bigger and better.

That’s the promise ATX Television Festival founders Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson are making to this year’s attendees.

The fest takes place Saturday and Sunday at several downtown-area locations, including Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz and the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel. Weekend day passes are available for $75 at atxfestival.com.

The TV-focused event made its debut last year, drawing big crowds, as well as big-name celebrities and broadcast executives.

McFarland and Gipson, who’ve both worked in the entertainment industry, hatched the idea for the fest two-plus years ago. Their goal was to create a South by Southwest-type gathering for TV buffs to celebrate their favorite shows and learn more about programs they’ve yet to discover.

“There’s so much great TV out there,” Gipson said. “It’s really hard to navigate these days.”

This time around, the casts of “Boy Meets World,” “American Dreams,” “Hart of Dixie,” “My So-Called Life,” “Party of Five,” “Scandal” and “Friday Night Lights,” a show near and dear to Central Texans, are among those scheduled to take part in screenings and panel discussions.

“We’ve doubled our number of panelists this year,” McFarland said. “All the panelists from last year said they had a great time, so they’re coming back and bringing their friends, too.”

Actors Scott Wolf, Ben Savage, Gaius Charles, Lacey Chabert, Mark Feuerstein and Joshua Malina are just a few of the folks who’ve committed to be a part of the festivities.

The show that’s getting the most buzz, McFarland and Gipson say, is “Boy Meets World,” which ran on ABC from 1993 to 2000. The Disney Channel is in the process of reviving the sitcom, casting many of the same actors from the original series.

“The cast … they all love each other,” Gipson said. “They’re super excited to be back together – and people are so excited to see them.”

ATX Television Festival

When: Thursday through Sunday

Where: Multiple venues in and near downtown

Badges: $75 day passes

On the Web:atxfestival.com