Indie pilots set for N.Y. TV fest

Weeklong event includes competition, panels

NEW YORK -- Thirty-six independent pilots will compete during next month's New York Television Festival that will span a week and include panels and discussions with some of TV's biggest names.

The pilots range from workplace sitcoms to animations and dramas, drawn from places as far-ranging as Sunnyside, N.Y., to Los Angeles, Toronto and Melbourne, Australia. Having starring roles in the pilots are James Cromwell and Sarah Paulson, among others, and Gary Coleman plays himself in a reality pilot.

The New York Television Festival, the fourth annual, will take place Sept. 12-17 at New World Stages in Manhattan. New this year is a full day of industry panels on the television industry, scheduled for Sept. 15. Among the execs participating are NBC's Ben Silverman, William Morris Agency CEO Jim Wiatt, truTV GM Marc Juris and Tony DiSanto, executive vp of series development at MTV.

Silverman and Wiatt will be on a panel called "The Current State of Television Development," which will discuss how the writers strike and other forces have changed development at the networks. There will also be panels on unscripted programming, drama and comedy development.