The Hollywood Radio & Television Society (HRTS) announced a the lineup of its 2010-2011 Newsmaker Luncheon Season Monday morning, featuring panels covering first amendment media issues and the return of HRTS' Broadcast Network Chiefs Panel. The schedule was revealed during a press conference call with HRTS President and President of Lionsgate Television Group Kevin Beggs and HRTS Executive Director Dave Ferrara.
The announcement comes just one day before HRTS kicks off the 2010-2011 season with "A Conversation With...Chase Carey" at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Broadcasting & Cable Editor-in-Chief Ben Grossman will moderate the panel.
Beggs and Ferrara spoke enthusiastically about the upcoming season, particularly noting next June's "State of the Industry" luncheon. The panel, entitled "The First Amendment Throwdown" will focus on first amendment rights and the media.
Though it has yet to be cast, Beggs and Ferrara have high hopes for panelists.
"We want colorful figures on all sides of these issues," Beggs said. "We think its such an important issue for all of us, I think even more so in the digital age when audience viewing is even more fragmented."
Beggs and Ferrara want to cast "big personalities" for the panel, suggesting a Fox News rep and an FCC commissioner as possibilities. Though no specific date has been set, "The First Amendment Throwdown" is slated for the second week of June.
The return of The Broadcast Network Chiefs panel was also announced for late October. Though HRTS has not pinned down the final date, Beggs and Ferrara confirmred that the presidents of all five broadcast networks have been confirmed for the panel.
"We haven't done this in a few years now, so we're really excited about getting them back and revitalizing what has been a hallmark of the fall program schedule at HRTS," Beggs said.
Early December will see the "Hitmakers - Scripted" panel, which Ferrara described as one of HRTS' "tent poles."
"It's always such an interesting conversation, putting together a panel of showrunners," Ferrara said.
HRTS' second biggest panel of the year, "The Cable Chiefs" summit, is slated for the first week of March. In contrast to last season's panel, which featured top business executives, Ferrara explained that "this year we want to bring it down to programming, because there is so much compelling programming coming out of the cable world right now."
The "Reality Hitmakers" panel will return in April, which Ferrara hopes will be another "quite a provocative conversation."
Beggs added that the "First Amendment Throwdown" is a direct result of last season's "Reality Hitmakers" panel.
"These guys drop more f-bombs than any other panels in the history of HRTS, and we thought we may as well take on the issue right away," Beggs explained.
In addition to the six confirmed panels, Beggs and Ferrara also said they were in talks with NCTA for a possible follow-up to this year's Cable Show Newsmaker Brunch.
HRTS also announced its newly elected officers and board members for 2010-2011.
Newly elected officers are Beggs, returning for a second term as President; Sarah Timberman, Principal, Timberman/Beverly Productions, as Vice President; Sean Perry, Co-Department Head of Alternative Television, WME Entertainment, as Secretary and Martha Henderson, EVP & Manager, Entertainment Division, City National Bank, re-elected as Treasurer.
New HRTS board members are Leigh Brecheen, Partner, Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman, LLP; Ian Moffit, SVP, Programming & Content Strategy, BBC Worldwide Productions; and David Nevins, President, Entertainment, Showtime Networks, Inc.
Of his re-election, Beggs said, "I am delighted to be returning as President of HRTS. This is an organization which is vital to the broadcasting and media industry and it is without question the pre-eminent networking organization for multiple generations of top creative and business executives."