Betting Big in Vegas

Smaller companies have big NATPE hopes

Although much of the pre-NATPE talk has focused on when Warner Bros. will finally unveil its Keith Ablow project, as well as clearance updates for Rachael Ray and The Megan Mullally Show, a crop of smaller production companies will be vying for their share of attention, too.

Among them is Marin, Calif.-based HSH Productions, which will have a booth for the first time as it introduces three family-friendly shows. The Penni Sparks Show provides parenting advice, Feng Shui Today is a home-improvement show, and House Flippers focuses on fixing up houses for resale.

HSH founder Renee Kenney, a home-design consultant who was a guest designer on HGTV’s Curb Appeal, walked the floor and sat in on sessions last year. This year, she jumped in headlong. Scheduling appointments in advance of the show, she knows that swimming with the big fish won’t be an easy task: “Those huge companies do sometimes seem impermeable. It’ll take some perseverance.”

Kenney hopes that locating her booth in the “Kids Town” section, applying Feng Shui design to it and having her program hosts on hand will bring lots of visitors.

In other pre-NATPE news…

All Eyes on Paula: After skipping an American Idol session with TV critics last week due to what Fox called an eye infection, Abdul is scheduled to appear on behalf of Fremantle International Distribution, which will sell Idol’s current season. Also on the slate are Bravo’s Project Runway, the fall’s two Apprentice shows and Sundance series Iconoclasts.

Rachael, Megan … Sandra?: Cinamour Entertainment has international distribution rights to talk show The Queer Edge, which airs domestically on the Q Network, and recently signed Sandra Bernhard as co-host. Cinamour has 50 episodes.

Still Betting on Poker: Sports HD is shopping two poker shows as part of a 15-show slate of sports programs in both high- and standard-definition. One is a series chronicling a poker fantasy camp, and the other introduces a hybrid of golf wagering and poker.

Smaller companies have big NATPE hopes