ATX Fest Announces Pitch Contest; Judges Include Bill Lawrence, Kyle Killen, Liz Tigelaar

"Cougartown" creator among panelists who will give participants a shot at landing a show

The ATX Television Festival announced its first ever Pitch Competition, in which writers can pitch original ideas for a scripted series to established showrunners and other industry insiders.

The Austin festival, in its second year, also announced a roster of guests including "Scrubs" and "Cougar Town" creator Bill Lawrence, "Lone Star" and "Awake" creator Kyle Killen, and "Life Unexpected" creator Liz Tigelaar, all of whom will help judge the competition.

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ATX screens classic shows, never-aired pilots, cancelled-too-soon series, cult favorites, current hits, and premieres. It also features question-and-answer sessions with show creators and casts, and panel discussions on industry related topics.

With the addition of the competition, it also becomes a place, like the New York Television Festival, where outsiders have at least an outside chance of breaking into television.

In the contest, sponsored by the screening application Final Draft, competitors will produce their own 90-second videos in which they will pitch any kind of scripted show.

The festival will screen the submissions and choose twenty-five semi-finalists to be judged by a panel including Lawrence, Killen, Tigelaar, CBS vice president of drama development Bryan Seabury, "Sullivan & Son" executive prodcer and Wild West Picture Productions executive Peter Billingsley, and "Friday Night Lights" and "Parenthood" executive producer David Hudgins.

They will narrow the twenty-five semi-finalists down to ten finalists who will compete at the ATX Television Festival June 6-9, 2013 in Austin, Texas. The final ten will then pitch live to a panel of judges.

The panel will pick one winner who will receive a meeting with one of the judges to explore their receive notes. The winner will then get a pitch meeting in front of one of the festival’s studio/network partners to try to sell their pilot.

Even if they don't score a series, all participants will receive a discount code for 25 percent of the latest version of Final Draft and will get $25 off of any level ATX Television Festival badge.  

Semi-finalists will receive badges allowing them to see any panels, including the Final Pitch Competition, and the ten finalists will each receive a weekend badge to the festival, and a free copy of Final Draft.

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“The pitch competition is a perfect addition to the festival. A truth in TV is that you don't get paid to write your show unless you can sell it as a pitch. Like writing, pitching is an art form that needs to be practiced, honed and perfected,” said Seabury. "The importance of pitching is often overlooked so this contest is yet another example of ATX understanding the TV industry and providing a great service to its attendees."

Added Lawrence: "I'm a life-long TV nerd and I'm all for ATX Television Festival because it's such a fun way to bring television fans together. The Pitch Competition offers fans an opportunity to get into the industry which is another reason anyone attending ATX Television Festival should consider themselves lucky.“

Submissions will be accepted November 1, 2012 to January 18, 2012 through the website  The 25 semi-finalists will be announced on February 18, 2013 and the top ten finalists will be announced on March 28, 2013. 

The festival also announced its confirmed guests and programming:


Julie Plec, Creator of The Vampire Diaries

Liz Tigelaar, Creator of Life Unexpected, and writer of NashvilleRevenge, and American Dreams

Peter Billingsley, Executive Producer of Sullivan & Son and Dinner for Five

Bill Lawrence, Creator of Scrubs and Cougar Town

David Hudgins, Executive Producer of Parenthood and Friday Night Lights

Ben Blacker, Nerdist Writers Panel

Kyle Killen, Creator of Lone Star & Awake

Lauren Lungerich, Creator of AWKWARD

Jonathan Prince, Creator of American Dreams

Winnie Holzman, Creator of My So-Called Life

Chris Keyser, Co-Creator of Party of Five

Arielle Kebbel, Actor on 90210, The Vampire DiariesGilmore Girls

Matt Lauria, Actor on Friday Night Lights and Parenthood

Cast and crew members of Boy Meets World

Cast and crew members of Friday Night Lights

Cast and crew members of American Dreams


My So-Called Life

Party Of Five

Boy Meets World