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Factual Entertainment Forum hits Santa Monica next week

The latest edition of realscreen's Factual Entertainment Forum (FEF), called The Real Deal will be held next Wednesday, May 20, in Santa Monica. This new, reality TV-centric event offers several compelling sessions focusing on the state of the reality/unscripted TV industry today, and where it may be headed tomorrow.
May 13, 2009

The latest edition of realscreen‘s Factual Entertainment Forum (FEF), called The Real Deal will be held next Wednesday, May 20, in Santa Monica. This new, reality TV-centric event offers several compelling sessions focusing on the state of the reality/unscripted TV industry today, and where it may be headed tomorrow.

The first panel of the forum is named Building a Blockbuster, and for good reason. Moderator Dave Noll, president of City Lights Television, will lead the discussion around the process of creating the reality hit The Biggest Loser with 3Ball Productions CEO and co-founder JD Roth and Reveille’s managing director Mark Koops and VP of development, production, integration, international and ancillary Chad Bennett.

The Real Innovation panel, moderated by Aaron Meyerson, SVP alternative programming at MTV Networks, will examine recent and possible future industry trends with Original Productions CEO Thom Beers; Go Go Luckey Productions founder Gary Auerbach; RJ Cutler, president of Actual Reality Pictures; Nancy Daniels, SVP production and development at TLC and Gena McCarthy, SVP development and production at Discovery Channel.

Much like the one that occurs at the Realscreen Summit, FEF’s Speed Pitching session will give registered participants who’ve signed up for the session a chance to pitch one-on-one, for seven minutes, with top industry execs like Elli Hakami, Discovery Communications VP of program development for the west coast; Spike TV director of alternative development Joe Weinstock and Sony Pictures Television SVP Hayley Babcock, among others.

Other sessions at the forum include the Facts about Formats panel, which will take a comprehensive look at prevailing business practices alongside the success stories of the industry’s top reality formats. Panelists include Granada America president/CEO Paul Buccieri; Lion Television CEO Nick Catliff; Talpa Content/Talpa Creative MD Stéphanie Gélinas; Claire O’Donohoe, exec VP of development for RDF USA; Michel Rodrigue, president and CEO of Distraction Formats and moderator David Lyle of Fox Reality Channel.

The International Distribution panel examines the ins and outs of when a copro is the right route to take. Panelists include Gary Benz, president and CEO of GRB Entertainment; Jim Berger, CEO, High Noon Entertainment; Tom Cosgrove, COO/EVP, Discovery Channel; Michael Klein, SVP content for the Travel Channel and Eric Schotz, president & CEO of LMNO Productions. The session’s moderator is Creative Differences president Erik Nelson.

Reinventing the Real is a discussion on how to keep audiences loyal season after season while attracting new viewers. Look for panelists such as The Amazing Race director and co-creator Bertram van Munster; Jonathan Murray, president and chairman of Bunim/Murray Productions and Craig Piligian, president, CEO and exec-VP of Pilgrim Films & Television, with Michael Hoff, president and executive producer at Hoff Productions moderating.

FEF will revisit a Realscreen Summit favorite, Branded Reality, a panel discussion on the challenges of successful brand integration in factual programming, moderated by realscreen editor Barry Walsh. The panelists include: Sharon Levy, SVP of original series for Spike TV; BASE Productions founder and co-CEO John Brenkus; RDF Media USA president and general counsel Kirk Schenck and David Norton, SVP of brand integration for Ladder Up Media.

The day rounds off with a discussion about the present and future of reality TV via the Reality Roundtable, featuring Bravo’s VP of development, Cori Abraham; Kristen Connolly Vadas, alternative programming SVP, The CW Network; Neil A. Cohen, non-fiction VP for A&E Television Networks; Reveille’s managing director Howard T. Owens and Pierre Brogan, co-head of reality and alternative programming for Creative Artists Agency. Andrew Wallenstein, digital media editor for The Hollywood Reporter, will moderate the panel.

For more info on the Factual Entertainment Forum’s events and scheduling, go to http://www.factualentertainment.com/2009

About The Author
Selina Chignall joins the realscreen team as a staff writer. Prior to working with rs, she covered lobbying activity at Hill Times Publishing. She also spent a year covering the Hill as a journalist with iPolitics. Her beat focused on youth, education, democratic reform, innovation and infrastructure. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.

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