The ATX Television Festival has added two additional newsmaker panels to this year’s ever-expanding lineup.
One panel, “Television in a Trumped Up America,” promises a spirited discussion about how writers and TV shows are handling stories in a Donald Trump administration. Another, “The Revival of the Socially Conscious Sitcom,” will examine the recent growth of comedies aiming to recapture the progressive spirit of Norman Lear.
Liz Tigelaar (“Casual”), Monica Owusu-Breen (“Midnight, Texas”), Javier Grillo-Marxuach (“The Middleman”), and Michael Rauch (“Royal Pains”) are on board for the Trump panel, while Danielle Sanchez-Witzel (“The Carmichael Show”), Bob Daily (“Superior Donuts”), Justin Simien (“Dear White People”), and Mike Royce and Gloria Calderon-Kellett (“One Day at a Time”) are set to join the sitcom panel. (“One Day at a Time” is also executive produced by Lear, but he will not be attending.)
Here are descriptions of the two panels:
The Revival of the Socially-Conscious Sitcom
When it comes to comedy, most viewers simply ask, “Is this funny?” Sitcoms are meant to entertain, bring audiences in on the joke, and be an escape from “real life.” In today’s climate, tides are turning as the children of Norman Lear take his lead by seamlessly incorporating issues and debates that are meant to challenge and teach. From race to gender, and politics to religion, these sitcom writers achieve bigger conversations about issues that make a difference in your life, while still making you laugh.
Television in a Trumped Up America
After an election that resulted in riveting and addictive TV-viewing, much of the world has come out the other side feeling a spectrum of emotions: from fear to anger to confusion and perhaps, motivation. We’re often faced during this time of change with the question, “Where do we go from here?” Join creatives as they discuss approaching their art as both an outlet and a tool, how (or if) they plan to write for fans that might not agree with them, and where the responsibility of an artist lies in a divided world.
“As ATX has grown over the last six years, it has become more and more apparent that TV is more than just entertainment,” said Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson, ATX Television Festival Co-Executive Directors and Founders. “It affects how we act and think about ourselves and other people, and now more than ever, entertainment plays a vital role in informing and helping us empathize with one another.”
This year’s ATX will also include reunions of series including “Battlestar Galactica,” “Thirtysomething,” “Designing Women,” “The Comeback” and more, as well as a wide variety of panels, including one with the network TV presidents.