Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.) will be the luncheon speaker at the National Council for Families & Television’s daylong, consciousness-raising leadership conference on violence in television programming Aug. 2 at the BevHilton Hotel.
The morning session will feature two panels moderated by ABC News correspondent and media analyst Jeff Greenfield.
The afternoon will be modeled after the Socratic dialogue forums conducted by Fred Friendly on public TV, with both industry executives and TV activists participating.
The goal, according to NCFT chair Marian Rees, is to provide a forum for exploring television violence — particularly as it pertains to children — and to educate program suppliers regarding the issue.
Over 400 individuals involved in broadcasting and cable are expected to attend.
The afternoon discussion, led by Harvard Law School professor Arthur R. Miller, will include CBS Entertainment prez Jeff Sagansky, Sony Pictures Entertainment TV Group prez Mel Harris, ACLU president Nadine Strossen, Americans for Responsible TV founder Terry Rakolta, Showtime chairman-CEO Winston Cox, Action for Children’s Television founder Peggy Charren, Turner Entertainment Group prez Scott Sassa, Meredith Broadcasting Group prez Phil Jones, and producers Leonard Hill and Dick Wolf.
As for the morning sessions, “The Children Are Watching” will feature Nickelodeon prez Geraldine Laybourne, DIC Animation City chairman Andy Heyward, producer Arnold Shapiro, child development psychologist Karen Hill Scott, and a representative from a network broadcast standards department.
The first panel, “What the Experts Say,” will feature academics and researchers on TV violence.
Simon is the author of the Senate’s 1990 Violence in Television Act.
The National Council for Families & Television was founded in 1977 and bills itself as a “non-adversarial, educational organization” that brings together Hollywood’s creative community and other groups and sponsors an annual summer conference on the effect of TV on American life.
This year’s session has taken on increased importance with the passage of the Children’s Television Act and the industry under siege on Capitol Hill over violent programming.