NBC will be
returning to Radio City Music Hall for its upfront presentation in May. NBC has
booked the famous theater for next year's upfront as well.
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.
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.
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.