The entertainment industry was shocked when state legislators slashed $63 million from the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentives Program from the state’s budget. It’s a program that was created in 2008 to attract businesses by giving companies grants for hiring Texas workers to develop film, tv, commercial or video game projects in the state. Now the film and video game industries are trying to figure out what went wrong.

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.”

It's year two of the ATX Television Festival, which is happening in Austin this weekend with panel discussions, premiere screenings and even some free public events. We spoke with one of the co-founders, who told us she started the festival because there was no venue to unite TV fans with the actors and producers behind their favorite programs. 

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Certain DirecTV channels may go off the air at midnight as the company’s contract with Viacom expires.

The current state of negotiations between the companies indicates those channels — which include Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV — will go black for DirecTV subscribers at that time.

In a blog post, Viacom says that talks "have reached an impasse" and that it deserves higher fees, while DirecTV says the company is looking for an increase of more than 30 percent.

Viacom says that DirecTV is offering to pay less than “any other distributor in the industry.”

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In June 2010, cable channel Starz canceled Party Down after just two seasons.  The critically revered but little seen show, which depicted Hollywood hopefuls working dreary day jobs for a catering company, was co-created and co-written by UT grad (and former San Antonio high school teacher) Rob Thomas.

Tonight, Thomas returns to Austin to screen the show's unaired pilot.

Shot at Thomas' house, the pilot was used to sell the show to Starz network.  Besides Lizzy Caplan, the spot included the whole original cast, including Jane Lynch (who would eventually leave to join the cast of Glee) and Adam Scott (who got snatched up by Parks & Recreation). 

Photo by KUT News

APD Officer Killed

An Austin Police Officer is dead after being shot while trying to arrest a suspect early this morning.

The officer was called to the Wal-Mart on Parmer and I-35 at around 2:20 a.m. When the officer arrived, police say he made contact with the suspect and the man immediately began to fight with the officer. Police say the suspect then pulled out a semi-automatic pistol and shot the officer at point-blank range in the neck area.

In a press conference, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said that two Wal-Mart employees tackled the suspect after he shot the police officer.  

Rapid growth in the U.S. Hispanic community has created another boom — in Hispanic media. In recent months, several major media players have announced plans to join the competition for the Hispanic television audience. There's a new Hispanic broadcast TV network coming, plus a host of new cable channels aimed at Latinos.

The numbers tell the story: According to the census, the U.S. Hispanic population jumped by more than 40 percent in the past decade. The nation's 50 million-plus Hispanics now make up 16 percent of the TV-viewing public.

On Friday's Morning Edition, Elizabeth Blair investigates one of television's pressing questions: Why has Mad Men been off the air so long? It's returning this Sunday night with a two-hour season premiere, but it's still puzzled some viewers that it has been off for such a long time.

Photo by KUT News

Ever notice how the volume on your TV seems to get louder when the commercials come on? The US Congress sure did. And earlier this month it passed the CALM Act, which orders the Federal Communications Commission to figure out how to make it stop.

Extreme Makeover Home Edition bus
Image courtesy Nan Palmero

Want to help someone in need and be on national television? The ABC show Extreme Makeover Home Edition is shooting an episode in Georgetown and looking for volunteers.