‘Psych,’ ‘Justified,’ ‘Perry Mason’ Among Series Added to ATX Television Festival Virtual Programming Lineup
By Danielle Turchiano
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – HBO’s upcoming adaptation of “Perry Mason,” HBO Max’s new ballroom competition series “Legendary” and reunions of “Justified” and “Psych” are among the series taking part in ATX Television Festival’s first-ever virtual television festival, the organization announced Friday.
Other newly announced programming includes Pop TV’s “One Day at a Time,” HBO Max’s “Search Party,” Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere,” Showtime’s “Outcry” and the “One Chicago” franchise. Additionally, the three-day screening and panel series of events will be raising awareness and funds for Direct Relief and the Actors Fund, in an effort to benefit those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In choosing to go virtual, we knew this was also an opportunity to raise awareness and support for those who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. It was important for us to partner with organizations that support the industry we are celebrating and the healthcare workers that are on the front line. That’s why we chose The Actors Fund and Direct Relief, respectively, to support. We are in awe of the work these organizations are doing to help those in need, and are honored to be partnering with them during ‘ATX TV…from the Couch,’” said Emily Gipson and Caitlin McFarland, co-founders and co-executive directors, ATX Television Festival, in a joint statement.
“Perry Mason,” which comes from longtime ATX partner HBO, will deliver a marquee panel conversation with the cast and creatives behind the new 1930s-set drama ahead of its June 21 series premiere. While the specific panelists will be announced soon, the show hails from executive producers Tim Van Patten, Ron Fitzgerald, Rolin Jones, Amanda Burrell, Robert Downey Jr., Susan Downey and Joe Horacek, and stars Matthew Rhys in the titular role. This version of the story, based on characters from Erle Stanley Gardner’s novels, tells Mason’s origin story as he investigates a gruesome missing child case.
Showtime will also be returning to ATXx with a look at its upcoming sports docuseries “Outcry,” which follows high school football star Greg Kelley’s conviction for sexual assault of a 4-year-old boy and the quest for truth and justice in central Texas. Kelley received a sentence of 25 years in prison, with no possibility of parole, but received a groundswell of support that called into question the investigation into the assault, the prosecution’s tactics and, ultimately, the validity of the conviction. The series comes from Pat Kondelis, who is the creative director of unscripted and Bat Bridge Entertainment and who will join the festival for a conversation about the making of the series, and its significance to both a local Texas community and national conversations on justice reform.
The women of “One Day at a Time” are also returning to the festival this year. Co-creator and showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett and actors Justina Machado, Rita Moreno and Isabella Gomez will join viewers for an informal brunch conversation to discuss the series’ upcoming animated special, “The Politics Episode.”
On the heels of its platform launch, HBO Max will bring both a launch series (“Legendary”) and an early look (“Search Party” Season 3). The panelists for the “Legendary” panel are still to be announced; that series showcases houses competing in ballroom walks and delivering the height of fashion in order to achieve the titular status and be crowned winner at the end of the season. For “Search Party,” the festivities will include the executive producers Charles Rogers and Sarah-Violet Bliss, as well as actors Alia Shawkat, Meredith Hagner, John Early, John Reynolds and Brandon Micheal Hall performing a script reading of the second season finale, followed by an exclusive sneak peek of the upcoming third season, which premieres June 25.
Peacock is also joining the fun for the first time this year, just a little more than a month ahead of its new platform launch. The brand and Wolf Entertainment will host a “Live with OneChicago” conversation with “Chicago Fire” showrunner Derek Haas and cast members Jesse Spencer (“Chicago Fire”) and LaRoyce Hawkins (“Chicago P.D.”), and Peacock will also host a “Psych” panel to promote the upcoming movie “Psych 2: Lassie Come Home.” For this, creators Steve Franks and Chris Henze, as well as cast members James Roday, Dulé Hill, Kirsten Nelson, Maggie Lawson and Corbin Bernsen will take part.
The festival will also take viewers inside the writers room of “Little Fires Everywhere,” via a discussion with showrunner Liz Tigelaar, co-executive producer/writer Attica Locke, co-executive producer/writer Raamla Mohamed, co-executive producer/writer Amy Talkington, co-executive producer/writer Nancy Won, writer/producer Shannon Houston, writer/producer Harris Danow and writer/producer Rosa Handelman.
And FX Networks will present a “Justified” retrospective to celebrate the series’ recent addition to the expansive FX on Hulu library. The panel will include a look back at the series with creator and showrunner Graham Yost, as well as director and executive producer Michael Dinner, executive producer Sarah Timberman and actors Timothy Olyphant and Joelle Carter.
The festival has also added two more themed panels to the lineup: “Torchlighters” and “The End.” The former is designed to highlight the ways in which women support each other in television and will be led by Pacesetter principal and executive producer Jessica Rhoades and creator/showrunner/director Marti Noxon, but also including creator/showrunner/director Tanya Saracho, creator Nichelle Tramble Spellman, executive vice president and head of drama at HBO Francesca Orsi and writers Lindsey Villarreal and Erika L. Johnson. The ATX Television Festival says this panel was inspired by Natalie Portman’s speech at Variety‘s 2018 Power of Women event.
“The End” is a panel designed to bid farewell to series ending in 2020, including “The 100,” with creator and showrunner Jason Rothenberg and “Blindspot” with creator Martin Gero. Additional panelists will be announced soon.
“ATX TV…from the Couch” will place June 5-7, streaming on ATX Television Festival’s YouTube page. Specific days and times for these panels, as well as previously announced ones including “Nancy Drew,” “The Bold Type” and “New Amsterdam,” are still to be announced.