New York TV Festival Unveils Comedy-Heavy Lineup: Mitchell Hurwitz, Carter Bays & Craig Thomas, Lena Dunham

New York TV Festival Announces 2014 Winners

The 12th annual New York Television Festival unveiled this morning a comedy heavy line-up, featuring a keynote conversation with How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, a Q&A with Arrested Development’s Mitchell Hurwitz, and send-offs for HBO’s Girls and Sundance TV’s Rectify. Participants include Lena Dunham, Jennie Konner, Ali Wentworth, Jon Glaser, Rachel Dratch, Janeane Garofalo, Jena Friedman, Nicole Byer and Scott Adsit, among others.

This year’s fest takes place Monday, October 24 through Saturday, October 29, primarily at the Helen Mills Theater and Event Space and SVA Theatre in Manhattan.

Opening day includes back-to-back keynotes with Evan Shapiro, NBCUniversal’s EVP of Digital Enterprises, and HIMYM creators Bays and Thomas, interviewed by NYTVF exec director Terence Gray.  A panel discussion – “Capitalizing on Comedy: A Creators Guide to the Evolving Content Landscape – Developing Formats and Scripted Projects for Success” – will be led by Loeb & Loeb, LLP and include executives from Comedy Central, Creative Artists Agency, and truTV.

The opening night comedy event, “The Politics of Funny,” at the SVA Theatre, features NBCUniversal’s Seeso looking at the lighter side of the 2016 presidential race, featuring Janeane Garofalo (Wet Hot American Summer) and Jena Friedman (The Daily Show, Late Show with David Letterman).

From the Festival:


All Week – Independent Pilot Competition Screenings
See Festival guide for information about the 63 projects screening in the annual competition.

Monday, October 24 through Friday, October 28 from 6:00 PM – 10:30 PM; Saturday, October 29 from 1 pm to 4:30 pm
Helen Mills Theater and Event Space: 137-139 West 26th Street

The 2016 Official Selections also feature a number of names, faces, and voices recognizable to TV fans, including projects created by Steve Dildarian (The Life and Times of Tim), Keith Powell (30 Rock), and Liz Astrof (2 Broke Girls, King of Queens, Last Man Standing) and starring/featuring the talents of Kate Flannery (The Office), Horatio Sanz (Saturday Night Live), Amber Nash (Archer), Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory), Beth Grant (The Mindy Project), Paul F. Tompkins (BoJack Horseman), Malcolm Barrett (Better Off Ted), Matt Dallas (Kyle XY), Antoine McKay (Empire), Kristian Bruun (Orphan Black), Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker (L.A. Law), Lindsey Kraft (Getting On), Sam Richardson (Veep), Mircea Monroe (Hart of Dixie), Brian George (Seinfeld), Ian Roberts (writer/creator – The UCB Show, writer – Key and Peele, actor – Arrested Development), Claire Mulaney (writer – Saturday Night Live), Katie Rich (writer – Saturday Night Live), Todd Aronauer (producer – Supernatural), Graham Wagner (producer – Baskets, Portlandia), John Levenstein (Portlandia, Kroll Show, producer – Silicon Valley), Tracey Wigfield (writer – 30 Rock, Co-EP – The Mindy Project) and Mike O’Brien (Saturday Night Live, “7 Minutes in Heaven”), among others.

Monday, October 24

AFTERNOON: Artist Welcome Events and NYTVF Connect Kick-Off
Helen Mills Theater and Event Space: 137-139 West 26th Street
• “Capitalizing on Comedy: A Creators Guide to the Evolving Content Landscape – Developing Formats and Scripted Projects for Success” hosted by Loeb & Loeb, LLP
▪ Tony Hernandez, President – Jax Media
▪ Sarah Babineau, SVP Original Programming and Development, East Coast – Comedy Central
▪ C.C. Hirsch, Agent, TV Literary – Creative Artists Agency (CAA)
▪ Chris Linn, President, Head of Programming — truTV at Turner Entertainment
• NYTVF Connect Welcome “Spotlight on Programming” with Evan Shapiro, NBCUniversal’s EVP of Digital Enterprises
• NYTVF Connect Artist Keynote from How I Met Your Mother co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas

8:30 PM: OPENING NIGHT COMEDY EVENT: Seeso Presents “The Politics of Funny”
SVA Theatre: 333 West 23rd Street
With an eye toward the stranger-than-fiction 2016 Presidential race, Seeso and the NYTVF are teaming for a hilarious night of comedy, conversation, and election confessions from a panel of comedians including Janeane Garofalo (Wet Hot American Summer), and Jena Friedman (The Daily Show, Late Show with David Letterman).

Tuesday, October 25

10:30 AM – 5:00 PM: NYTVF Connect Events
Helen Mills Theater and Event Space: 137-139 West 26th Street

5:00 PM: “Prep Your Pitch with Mitch”
Helen Mills Theater and Event Space: 137-139 West 26th Street
For this NYTVF Connect session, legendary comedy showrunner Mitch Hurwitz (Arrested Development) will discuss his career and the current state of comedy, providing attendees with insights, guidance, and feedback on the pitch process. “Prepping Your Pitch with Mitch” guarantees a no-holds-barred workshop setting to bounce ideas, engage with a master storyteller, and hone concepts. Banana stand not included.

7:00 PM: SUNDANCE TV Presents: RECTIFY: The Final Season
SVA Theatre: 333 West 23rd Street
The NYTVF is honored to team with Sundance TV in celebration of the premiere of the final season of the Peabody Award-winning drama, Rectify. Event will include a screening of the season four premiere and a talk-back with creator Ray McKinnon and David Westin of Bloomberg News.

RECTIFY follows the life of Daniel Holden (Aden Young), who returns to his small hometown in Georgia after serving 19 years on death row. Having spent his entire adult life waiting to die, Daniel must now try to find a way to cope with his past and forge a “normal” life with an unexpected future before him.

7:30 PM: truTV Presents a Night of Unbridled Comedy with Jon Glaser and Rachel Dratch
SVA Theatre: 333 West 23rd Street
Long-time Festival partner truTV will host a sneak peek of its upcoming hybrid comedy from Jon Glaser (Parks and Rec, Girls), Jon Glaser Loves Gear, alongside a conversation between Glaser and Rachel Dratch (‪Saturday Night Live‬), who will also be previewing the second season of her executive produced short-form program for truTV, Rachel Dratch’s Late Night Snack. Comedian Scott Adsit will join as moderator.

8:30 PM: TNT First Look of Original Drama GOOD BEHAVIOR
SVA Theatre: 333 West 23rd Street
Catch the world premiere screening of the upcoming drama series from TNT, starring Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) as a thief and con artist whose life is always one wrong turn or one bad decision from implosion. The first look event will include the screening of the series pilot as well as a talk-back with Vulture’s Stacey Wilson Hunt featuring series creators and executive producers Chad Hodge (Wayward Pines) and Blake Crouch (Wayward Pines) and Sarah Aubrey, executive vice president of original programming for TNT.

Wednesday, October 26

10:00 AM – 6:00 PM: NYTVF Connect Events
Tribeca Three-Sixty°: 10 Desbrosses Street

6:00 PM: NYTVF Industry Cocktail Party
Tribeca Three-Sixty°: 10 Desbrosses Street

Thursday, October 27

10:30 PM – 7:00 PM: StoryNEXT: New Frontiers in Storytelling Conference, presented in partnership with USA TODAY NETWORK
Tribeca Three-Sixty°: 10 Desbrosses Street
For information, visit the StoryNEXT website at

Thursday, October 27
6:30 PM: The Struggle is Real: Gender, Race, Entrepreneurship and the Women of MTV
SVA Theatre: 333 West 23rd Street
What is the role of scripted television in illuminating the power and plight of the Millennial Woman? In this exclusive panel event, the creators, writers, and stars of MTV’s newest hits – Loosely Exactly Nicole, Mary + Jane, and Sweet/Vicious – explore the creative opportunities in tackling heavy subjects (think racial bias, legalization of marijuana and sexual assault) through the lens of funny and empowered young women. The panel will feature actress Nicole Byer and executive producers Executive Producers Christine Zander and Christian Lander from Loosely Exactly Nicole; actresses Scout Durwood and Jessica Rothe and executive producers Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont from Mary+Jane, and actresses Taylor Dearden and Eliza Bennet and executive producers Jennifer Robinson and Amanda Lasher and from the new upcoming dramedy Sweet/Vicious.

7:30 PM: NYTVF Creative Keynote: A Conversation with GIRLS
SVA Theatre: 333 West 23rd Street
The annual NYTVF Creative Keynote Conversation series welcomes Lena Dunham (Creator and Star), Jenni Konner (Executive Producer and Showrunner), and Kathleen McCaffrey (Vice President of HBO Programming) for an inside look at the generation-defining series from its initial development to the upcoming final season.

8:30 PM: Pop and Lionsgate Present: NIGHTCAP at the New York Television Festival
SVA Theatre: 333 West 23rd Street
Actress, writer, and all-around funny lady Ali Wentworth stars in this fall’s much-anticipated new comedy, NIGHTCAP on Pop, a behind-the-scenes look at a fictitious late-night show, featuring A-List guest stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Paul Rudd, Kelly Ripa, Debra Messing, Whoopi Goldberg, and George Stephanopoulos providing a heightened glimpse of the uproarious backstage antics. In this special NYTVF Primetime event, guests will enjoy a special sneak peek of the show and an all-star panel of real late-night pros, offering Wentworth hilarious insights from a day-in-the-life of producing late-night comedy.

Friday, October 28

12:30 PM – 4:00 PM: NYTVF Connect Events
Helen Mills Theater and Event Space: 137-139 West 26th Street

9:15 PM: Porta-Pilots: An Improvised NYTVF Primetime Special Event
Helen Mills Theater and Event Space: 137-139 West 26th Street
What would happen if Leslie Knope was running the office of The West Wing, Lorelai Gilmore was Lost on an island with a smoke monster for company, or a third thing happened? You’ll find out when improv teams use their wits, wiles, and the scrap pieces of other TV shows to craft the perfect pilots and impress a panel of “network executives” (lovingly improvised by Ali Farahnakian and David Pasquesi).

Featuring talent from The PIT, Magnet Theater, and The Annoyance NY.

Saturday, October 29

1:15 PM – 6:00 PM: Development Day
Helen Mills Theater and Event Space: 137-139 West 26th Street
NYTVF Development Day offers aspiring creators and TV fans alike a day of panels and events providing both educational and inspirational insight into the creation of television, including the first-ever NYTVF Alumni Keynote Conversation with Mike Luciano and Phil Matarese on hand to discuss taking their 2013 NYTVF Best Comedy winning project Animals from the Festival to HBO, where they’re currently in post-production on their second season.

7:30 PM: NYTVF Awards Reception
Helen Mills Theater and Event Space: 137-139 West 26th Street
The Festival’s Awards Reception will recognize outstanding entries and individual achievement in the 2016 Independent Pilot Competition and NYTVF Scripts as well as the winners of the NYTVF Critics Award and Development Awards from NYTVF’s development partners.

To register for tickets or passes to these or any Festival events, visit and click on “Box Office.”

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