NATPE 2012 on Sold-Out Track

Katie Couric, Steve Harvey, Ricki Lake, Charlie Sheen and the cast of Parks and Recreation are all expected to be on hand at NATPE next month in Miami, which association president Rick Feldman says will be the best-attended conference in years.

“We are positioned to have one of the best years we’ve had in a very long time,” Feldman said in a conference call with the press last week. NATPE runs from Jan. 22-25 at the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc resorts in Miami Beach, Fla.

With plenty of product in the pipeline, all of the major syndicators will be attending the conference—the first time that has been the case for several years. Many of them will have suites in the hotel as well as breezy cabanas by the Fontainebleau’s beachside pool.

“All of the studios are coming in a bigger way than they’ve come in recent memory,” added Feldman.

It’s no wonder: Fall 2012 will see the launch of more first-run syndicated shows than the industry has seen in years. Those shows include Disney-ABC’s Katie, CBS Television Distribution’s Jeff Probst, Twentieth’s Ricki Lake, and NBCUniversal’s Steve Harvey and Trisha Goddard.

Studios and syndicators will also showcase new off-network offerings, such as Debmar-Mercury’s Anger Management, starring Sheen, which FX will test in originals and, if it succeeds, will be available to TV stations; CBS Television Distribution’s Blue Bloods and The Good Wife; NBCU’s Parks and Recreation; and Warner Bros.’ The Middle, which the studio is expected to start shopping to stations, cable outlets and digital distributors next quarter.

As many as 300 companies are planning to exhibit on the sold-out show floor, said Feldman. Some 600 to 700 buyers also are expected to attend the show, including representatives from most of the major TV station groups, among them ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Belo, Gannett, Hearst, LIN and many others.

Feldman also anticipates at least 5,000 people to attend the show, which is a greater number than the Fontainebleau and the Eden Roc can hold, so NATPE has reserved space at the Grand Beach Hotel about a half-mile away on Collins Avenue.

NATPE’s schedule is jam-packed for all of the conference’s three days. Among the highlights: Turner Broadcasting Systems chairman and CEO Phil Kent will give the conference keynote on Jan. 23 at 9 a.m. That night, both Debmar-Mercury and NBCU will host invitation-only parties with their talent. On Tuesday night, Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush will host the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards, honoring FremantleMedia North America’s Cecile Frot-Coutaz, telenovela creator Fernando Gaitan, Fox’s Dennis Swanson and Mad Men creator and executive producer Matt Weiner.

To help attendees keep track and stay connected to each other, NATPE is launching the social networking tool “MyNATPE” at the show. It will be available to attendees via iPhone, Android and other smartphones, as well as on tablets and flatscreens placed around the show. More information about myNATPE and the show in general is available at

NATPE has already booked its return to South Beach in January 2013, with an option to come back yet again in 2014.

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Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.