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Feldman: NATPE 2012 Headed Toward Sell-Out

NATPE is on track to host its most-attended show in years, said NATPE President and CEO Rick Feldman Tuesday on a conference call with the press.

Some 250 to 300 companies will exhibit, and at least 50 new companies will join the sold-out exhibition floor at the Fontainebleau Resort on Miami Beach. Some six to seven hundred buyers are coming to the show, including most of the major TV station groups. And Feldman expects at least 5,000 people to attend the show, which is more people than both hotels can hold, so NATPE has reserved space at The Grand Beach Hotel about a half-mile away on Collins Ave.

While the conference will still be mostly hosted within the Fontainebleau, a few things have changed logistically. All of the major studios and syndicators -- including CBS Television Distribution, Debmar-Mercury, Disney-ABC, NBCUniversal, Sony, Twentieth, Warner Bros. and others -- are exhibiting at the show, although most of them have moved so as not to overtax the elevators in the Fontainebleau, which led to long waits last year.

"All of the studios are coming in a bigger way than they've come in recent memory," said Feldman.

That's largely due to the amount of product in the market this year, including Disney-ABC's Katie, CTD's Jeff Probst, Twentieth's Ricki, NBCU's Steve Harvey and Trisha Goddard, as well as new off-net shows and other shows.

The digital theater, which last year was held on the busy show floor, is moving into an upstairs meeting room. And the Fontainebleau's LIV nightclub will not serve as a venue this year, largely due to temperature control issues.

NATPE's schedule is jam-packed for all of the conference's three days: Monday, Jan. 23 through Wednesday, Jan. 25.

Among a few highlights: Turner Broadcasting Systems Chairman and CEO Phil Kent will give the conference keynote on Monday morning, Jan. 23, at 9 a.m. Access Hollywood's Billy Bush will host the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m., honoring FremantleMedia North America's Cecile Frot-Coutaz, telenovela creator Fernando Gaitan, Fox's Dennis Swanson, and Mad Men's Matthew Weiner.

NATPE will return to South Beach and the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc hotels in 2013, with an option to return in 2014, says Feldman.