Los Angeles is about to become the nation's capital of television festivals.

Unlike film festivals, which have proliferated at a breakneck clip over the past 10 years, there are only three major TV fests. And two of them will be here this summer.

The National Association of Television Program Executives will launch the LATV Festival to run concurrently with NATPE's TV Producers' Boot Camp this summer. The events will run July 25-27 at various locations in Los Angeles including the House of Blues and the Highlands. Supporting sponsors include the Producers Guild of America, the House of Blues, TV Guide, NETTV and paidContent.org.

The Independent Television Festival which debuted last summer at Raleigh Studios will start on July 27 and run through July 29.

The leadership of the two events met last week before the ITV Fest set its dates and worked out a schedule that should benefit both events.

The independent festival has lined up significant backing for this year's event, with sponsors includng Comcast Corp., Red Bull North America Inc., Google Inc.-owned You Tube, Budweiser, and California Pizza Kitchen Inc. Last year's best comedy winner, "This Is My Friend," was optioned by NBC, and already organizers are taking submissions at their Web site for the second festival, in categories including drama, comedy, variety, talk show and reality.

Comcast is awarding $100,000 for the overall festival winner and $10,000 for each category winner.

Ground Down

The artistic merits of the gritty Quentin Tarantino-Robert Rodriguez double feature release "Grindhouse" can be debated, but the Weinstein Co.'s marketing of the film was a near total whiff.

The film tanked at the box office, bringing in a paltry $12 million from the 2,624 theaters where it showed about half of what was expected.

Chief Executive Harvey Weinstein told L.A. Weekly columnist Nikki Finke, in an interview on her Web site Deadline Hollywood, that he was "incredibly disappointed" with the film's performance. The Weinstein Co. handled distribution for "Grindhouse," in conjunction with the company's Dimension label.

Harvey Weinstein said last week that he is considering splitting Tarantino's "Death Proof" and Rodriguez's "Planet Terror," and releasing them in theaters as two separate pictures. "Grindhouse" is already being released separately overseas and on DVD and TV as well.

Among the missteps cited in the marketing plan: a running time of longer than three hours, a release date delayed by half a year and an Easter weekend bow, questionable for an ultra-violent film.

Univision Weave

Univision Corp.'s "Nuestra Belleza Latina" (Our Latin Beauty) has brought integrated marketing to Latino reality TV. Branded challenges similar to those seen on the likes of NBC's "The Apprentice" are woven into the beauty pageant-type show, where viewer input is combined with the judges' selections to choose winners.

Two weeks ago the network announced the 12 competing finalists, who hail from Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Puerto Rico.

Univision has partnered with Cingular Wireless, the Ford Motor Co., JC Penney, Maybelline New York and Garnier for significant in-show brand integration, many involving the "challenges" faced by the contestants.

Staff writer Anne Riley-Katz can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 225. or at ariley-katz@labusinessjournal.com .

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