Where to be and what to watch...
Forget ABC bubble boy David Blaine—B&C Week will attempt a far greater feat than holding one's breath for nine minutes. We'll attend every upfront presentation this week, along with as many parties as our stomach can stomach. We start with NBC at Radio City Music Hall, where Jeff Zucker and Kevin Reilly insist their network still rocks. Then it's over to the Museum of Natural History, where Azteca America unveils its slate—and teaches everyone how to say “multiplatform” in Spanish. After a potable or two at NBC's party in the Summer Garden at 30 Rock, it's on to the Four Seasons for the hotter-than-really-hot William Morris bash.
Next up in our upfront jamboree is ABC at Avery Fisher Hall, with Steve McPherson and Anne Sweeney taking center stage. My Network TV has its historic unveiling at New York's Hilton Theater. Then Telemundo takes its turn, President Don Browne and NBC U bigwig Randy Falco trading riffs at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Finally, Variety and product-placement specialists Alliance salute the upfronts—and Alliance's tenth anniversary—with champagne at Marquee.
Today's to-do list: Learn Spanish. Go to upfronts! Univision's presentation unfolds at Alice Tully Hall. Over at the Intercontinental Hotel, a lunchtime panel featuring B&C's Ben Grossman (Note to Grossman: you will be heckled) breaks down the networks' fall lineups. ESPN Deportes kicks off at Jay-Z's 40/40 Club; then it's the heavy hitters at CBS, as Leslie Moonves, Nina Tassler and Jo Ann Ross strut their stuff at Carnegie Hall. (Will Moonves throw his annual Zucker punch this year?) Afterwards, everyone heads to Tavern on the Green for drinks and jumbo shrimp on the CBS tab.
Like Blaine approaching his seventh breath-defying minute, fatigue, vertigo and nausea start to set in. Too many overcaffeinated network suits gushing about “high levels of engagement” and “digital marketing solutions” and “organic brand integretations”... Too many glasses of too-cold Pinot Grigio ... Brain freeze! But we forge ahead. CW boss Dawn Ostroff shows off the fledgling network's fledgling schedule at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, then hosts the party at Meatpacking monolith Buddakan. The Discovery Networks Hispanic Group gala goes down at the New York Public Library, with Luis Silberwasser explaining Discovery's digital strategy (oddly enough, our Spanish/English dictionary insists “Silberwasser” translates to “multiplatform”). And Peter Ligouri takes the stage for the Fox upfront at the Armory, a canape's throw from B&C HQ, then invites everyone to a kegger at Guastavino's under the 59th Street Bridge. As man cannot live on upfronts alone, we head over the bridge and on to Bayside, Queens, where Sopranos multitasker Steve Schirripa reads from The Goomba Diet (Schirripa weight-loss tip: Walk to court) at Barnes & Noble.
And just like that, Upfront Week 2006 is a thing of the past. If you experience some degree of withdrawal sickness—don't worry, we all do—tune in to Dr. Phil's prime time special Escaping Danger on CBS at 8 p.m. Phil counsels Joani, a wife and mother whose drug habit is ruining her life. If your upfront habit is hurting those who love you, maybe Dr. Phil can help you too.
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