NBC Upfront Returns to Radio City Music Hall
Network reverses strategy of holding smaller meetings with buyers
By Jon Lafayette -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/27/2012 1:00:00 PM
Once the kickoff to the upfront season by the dominant broadcast networks, NBC gave up its Monday evening spot in the May upfront week lineup in 2008, instead opting to hold what it called more intimate meetings with smaller groups of media buyers and clients. The object was to create more opportunities for sponsorship and integrated marketing deals.
The past two years, a struggling NBC returned to a more traditional upfront format, but with Fox having grabbed Monday nights, the Peacock network settled for Monday morning, holding its presentation in the ballroom of the Hilton Hotel. The venue became the butt of jokes in NBC's upfront patter. "You're in a Hilton right now. Not because we couldn't afford Radio City anymore, no, Radio City is ... getting painted," cracked Alec Baldwin of 30 Rock during the 2010 presentation.
The idea of returning to Radio City was floated during the upfronts last year.
NBC executives declined to comment, but it would appear that the network is hoping that grander surroundings will generate more enthusiasm among media buyers for the network's shows. Now controlled by Comcast, NBC remains a fourth-place network, although its musical competition series The Voice is giving the schedule some life. The network also recently renewed its hyped new series about a Broadway show, Smash.
Upfront week starts with NBC and Fox on May 14, followed by ABC on May 15, CBS on May 16 and the CW on May 17. The big networks are joined that week by Spanish-language broadcasters Univision and Telemundo and several cable networks, including ESPN, Turner and USA.
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