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'Hey Dude,' The Fonz and Avoiding Spoilers at the ATX Television Festival

Festival founders Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson.

Television is getting a bit more respect these days. For one, it’s where Academy Award winners such as Matthew McConaughey and Kevin Spacey have recently focused their talents.

TV’s resurgence includes getting its very own festival – which kicks off today in Austin.

Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson founded the ATX Television Festival. They talked with KUT about the third annual fest – which they’re calling “Season Three.”

On Who the Fest is For:

"It really is for fans and industry though what we've loved and what we've found out is that the industry are the biggest television fans that we've found and that we've met and they come and they are so excited to see and meet each other and be back together – especially for our reunion shows. So it's about 50-50 fans and industry but they're all going to the same things – they're all going to the same screenings and the same panels. We really don't divide our events out to be more one or more the other it's for everyone. So whether you know everything that there is to know about television and the making of television – there's still things to learn. Or, if you're just a fan, it's still fascinating and interesting to get this behind-the-scenes look and really see your favorite show on the big screen" – Emily Gipson.

On Honoring Henry Winkler – AKA Fonzie from "Happy Days":

"We're really excited about Henry Winkler coming and giving our first Achievement in Television Excellence Award. We've heard he's such a nice guy and he has this great, expansive career and is such an icon that we're really glad that he's coming" – Emily Gipson.

On TV Spoilers:

"We're doing this really great panel called 'Spoiler Alert'... talking about what is the proper protocol when it comes to spoilers ... With Twitter and Facebook it can be ruined for you, do you just accept that because you've decided that you're just watching it four years late? ... I've heard different critics say they've got 12 hours on certain things, 24 hours on other things and a week – they've got their rules that they live by, their code. But the panel will be really interesting because everybody has an opinion on spoilers" – Caitlin McFarland.

On a (Nearly) Full Cast "Hey Dude" Reunion:

"It's a very specific age group that knows what it is but that age group is very excited about it" – Emily Gipson.

"It is the first scripted show for Nickelodeon so it launched all the shows that are on there now. For our generation it was the first and then it was 'Clarissa Explains it All' and 'Pete and Pete' and 'Salute Your Shorts.' So I think part of it is, we've been thinking about why it does have that nostalgia factor, there wasn't a lot of choices for teens... so it hits home for a lot of people from the late 80's, early 90's" – Caitlin McFarland.

On the Free Festival Activities:

"We have two free events. One is at the Hotel San Jose on Friday the 6th it's a 'Friday Night Lights' outdoor screening with music and tailgating activities – you can really just come on out to that. And then the next morning, Saturday the 7th, we have a Hasboro Saturday morning cartoon breakfast at the Stephen F. Austin and, same thing, for big kids and small – pancakes, best episodes of 'My Little Ponies' and 'Transformers' – it's a good time" – Caitlin McFarland.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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