We’re unquestionably living in a time when audiences are more savvy about the business of television than ever. In an era where showrunners can sometimes be as famous as the shows they run, TV fans are looking to sites like Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter for the inside scoop on their favorite shows, from “Live + 3” ratings to what’s “on the bubble.”
So in the interest of peeking behind the curtain, it’s time to delve into the “Upfronts,” a series of network presentations that kick off Monday with NBCUniversal.
What’s an Upfront?
ABC hosted the first Upfront presentation in 1961 as a way to entice potential advertisers by showing them “up front” what would be airing in the upcoming TV season. Now, all of the major broadcast networks bring samples of the shows they have in the pipeline in order to sell ads during the coming months. It’s also during this time when everyone finds out which shows are being cancelled.
Where do they take place?
Most Upfronts happen in New York City during the third week of May. With so many advertisers traditionally located on or around Madison Avenue, midtown Manhattan has been the most convenient location for buyers to check out the offerings of the new TV season. Often, the presentations take place at one of the city’s big landmarks, including Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center.
In addition to network executives and ad buyers, the Upfronts are a showcase of some of the biggest talent in TV. The networks keep under wraps the specifics of who will be attending, but, generally, it’s a huge gathering of celebrities. For instance, at last year’s Upfronts, NBCUniversal Cable brought 168 stars from across their portfolio for their presentation. And where there’s talent, there’s press.
Where can I find out what happened?
In the age of live-tweeting, your best bet for updates is probably following along on social media. For Monday’s presentations, the hashtag #NBCU2016 will have all of the relevant info coming out of Radio City Music Hall where NBCUniversal will be presenting. Also check out E!’s special edition of ‘Live from the Red Carpet’ at www.eonline.com to see the celeb-packed event in real time.
Visit USANetwork.com for exclusive coverage of our series at the 2016 NBCUniversal Upfront event at Radio City Music Hall!