Guide to Events, Panels & Parties

Jun 9, 2003  •  Post A Comment

As usual, there will be difficult issues to explore, affiliate promotions, theft of service campaigns and technical sessions galore-though this year’s National Show looks light on programming announcements. But what would a cable convention be without parties, hoopla and glittering displays of the latest technological wonders? TelevisionWeek’s guide to the heat this week in Chicago follows. But note you might need an invitation:
* See an actual embedded journalist close up, early on Tuesday, June 10. Victoria “Torie” Clarke, assistant secretary for public affairs, U.S. Department of Defense (and a former NCTA VP), who is widely credited with the plan to embed journalists during the recent Iraq War, will be on hand for a 7:30 a.m. open breakfast. Joining her on a panel will be such “embeds” as Martin Savidge and Mike Boettcher of CNN and Rick Leventhal of Fox News.
* Hobnob with Richard Parsons, the CEO of AOL Time Warner, or Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft. Both are scheduled to be on a Monday panel with Mel Karmazin, Viacom’s president and COO, and Comcast’s Brian Roberts.
Word is that Mr. Gates, who rarely turns up on trade-show panels, also will be making unannounced visits to the Microsoft booth on Monday.
For the past two years Mr. Parsons has attended the annual Turner Broadcasting off-the-record NCTA dinner for a small group of journalists and Turner cable executives. If you didn’t get your invitation to the affair at the Pump Room, fuhgeddaboutit. It was Sunday.
* Other hot tickets to private parties include Oxygen’s “deep dish” lunch Monday at the Four Seasons; Fox Cable’s VIP reception Monday afternoon at its Booth No. 902; Toshiba’s “Rock ‘n’ Blues Broadband Bash” Monday night at the Chicago Hard Rock; Discovery’s Monday dinner at Naha; Fox Cable’s Tuesday night “off the record chance to kick back” at the Berghoff; Lifetime’s Tuesday night “evening of delicious food, wine and conversation” at Tru; and AMC’s own Tuesday night dinner, with a private performance by Olivia Newton John, atN9NE.
Welcome to Wi Fi Boulevard, two main-street-themed aisles on the exhibit floor, where attendees with wireless-enabled laptops can sit on park benches and access e-mail and the Internet. If you like this new convention feature, e-mail your thanks to Motorola, which is providing equipment and support for the wireless access points.
* Kick back in the HD Pavilion, where you can watch a movie or a game in the ultimate high-def living-room-style home-entertainment theater, with an open bar. If that’s not enough, grab and play Microsoft’s Xbox in HD.
* And what would a cable convention be without new network launches? If you glimpse red-faced folks laughing uproariously, it might be the launch team from Jokevision, a new proposed network with a simple idea: real people telling their favorite jokes on camera. They’ve already collected 10,000 japes and jests, according to organizers. The network’s distribution is still TBD.