NATPE nears New Orleans decision


NATPE has set a Dec. 12 deadline to decide whether the conference will be
heading to New Orleans in 2003 and 2004.

NATPE President Bruce Johansen says reports that the
conference has officially pulled out of its two New Orleans dates are

The upcoming NATPE conference in January at the Las Vegas Convention Center has already seen the majority of top Hollywood syndication studios pull out and those same studios are threatening not to attend NATPE's two scheduled New Orleans dates.

Last week, attorneys for NATPE notified several hotels
in New Orleans that the conference was canceling reservations for hundreds of
rooms booked in advance.

Johansen says the hotel notification was put out prematurely by the law firm.

Sources say NATPE executives were preparing to tell the hotels of the cancellations as a strategic move, to get into a better negotiating position with the hotels if the conference were to remain in New Orleans in some sort of scaled-back exhibition in both 2003 and 2004.

NATPE still has the New Orleans Convention Center booked for February dates in both years.

"Contrary to published reports, we have not made a firm decision to go to New Orleans or not," Johansen said Monday.

'This is part of a larger issue that we will address in a December 12 press conference. The larger issue is not just about 2003 or 2004, but what about NATPE as an association and where are we going. We are knee deep strategic planning on that and we plan to have some concrete points to deal with by December 12." - Joe Schlosser