Mocku wins audience award
“Split the Difference,” a mockumentary set in a cutthroat TV ad agency, won the audience award by a landslide as the New York Television Festival wrapped up its second year at an awards gala in midtown Manhattan.The fest’s indie TV pilot competition featured 22 programs competing in five categories: comedy, drama, reality, educational and animation. “Split the Difference,” a pilot produced by Mary Egan Callahan, Joe Narciso and Bruce Hurwit, won both the juried comedy category and the popular vote on Sunday. Callahan is a casting director at House Prods. in Gotham. Pilot, her first, was cast entirely with commercials actors. “The creativity and ingenuity displayed by our artists this year continues to advance the festival’s position that television too often suffers not from lack of ideas, but from lack of access,” said fest founder Terence Gray. Last year’s audience award winner, “Off the Hook,” was picked up by OLN (now called Versus) last spring and will premiere as a series on the network Sept. 29. In its second year, the major broadcast networks have noticed the fest, launched as a showcase for independent television. This year, the fest hosted red-carpet premieres for two new skeins set and produced in Gotham, NBC’s “Kidnapped” and ABC’s “The Knights of Prosperity,” as well as Fox’s “Standoff.” In addition to “Split the Difference,” four other indie pilots came away winners: “Squid Dragon Legend,” a story about a dyslexic swashbuckler with a talking sword, won the animation category and picked up $10,000 in seed money and a meeting with development execs at MSN Originals. Show was written and produced by Nick Cogan of Brooklyn. “On the Block,” a reality show in which homeowners put their houses up for auction, won reality pilot kudos. Pilot was produced by George Collias, Matthew Haddad, Jonathan Wareham and Gwen O’Donnell. “Martti and Kim’s Story of … (Abridged),” hosted by writers Martti Nelson and Kim Roberts about “two crazy chicks with a knack for storytelling and a penchant for dressing up like weirdos,” won for educational pilot. “Viagra Falls,” the story of an old codger and his buddies looking for female companionship in their golden years, won for drama pilot. Pilot was produced by Christopher Debiec, Atil Singh and Allen Wong and written by Brian Etting.