Steve Conrad among TV pros at TV Awards, April 18-20

Writer/director Steve Conrad, actor Gary Cole, TV show creators and “Empire’s” key crew members will be among the TV pros holding forth on the trials and triumphs of TV show production at the Chicago International Television Awards (CITA) April 18-20 at the AMC River East 21 theatres.

This marks the first time, CITA (formerly the Hugo Awards) is expanding its single TV awards evening into a three-day event.

The two panel discussions and two TV show premieres were assembled by Sam Flancher, Cinema/Chicago television coordinator, “to highlight and celebrate the incredible work being made in Chicago and by Chicagoans,” he says.

“Piloting the TV Pilots” on Monday, April 18 at 6:30 p.m., is a discussion with producer P.J. Fishwick of Cap Gun Collective, whose “Teachers” series airs on TV Land; writer/director Kevin Hanna of TV movie “Public Access;” producer/director and DePaul professor Jonah Zeiger, “King of URLs” and writers Chris Petlak and Jim Kozyra of “The Jamz.”

At 8 p.m. Monday, the Television Awards pay tribute to Fox’s hit series “Empire,” with a special screening of the premiere episode of Season 2, followed by a panel discussion with the show’s key crew members.

Then on Tuesday, April 19, the latest episode of HBO’s Emmy-winning “Veep,” screens, after which series co-star and seasoned actor Gary Cole, a Park Ridge native who started his acting career as Steppenwolf Ensemble member, will talk about “Veep,” now in its fifth season, and his Chicago roots.

Screening at 8:30. is the pilot of “Patriot,” writer/director Steve Conrad’s new series for Amazon. Afterwards, Conrad joins line producer Marc David Albert and production designer Judy Rhee to talk about the series’ production.

The program concludes Wednesday, April 20 with the annual Chicago International Television Awards at the AMC River East 21. Cocktail reception at 6:30 at the Lucky Strike Lounge; awards ceremony, 7:30 p.m.

Passes, $15-$25, may be purchased here.