NBC held its upfront presentation at Radio City Music Hall Monday morning, boasting of its “unequaled” status among networks—at least according to NBC—and its ability to make the most of both linear TV and digital platforms.
Jennifer Hudson started off the two-hour presentation—which featured NBCUniversal cable channels, Telemundo, news and sports in addition to NBC—with a song. Linda Yaccarino, chairman, advertising sales and client partnerships, NBCUniversal, then came out and mentioned “brand safety”—a marketer’s assurance that their product will be featured amidst known, non-objectionable content. Yaccarino also mentioned partnerships with digital outfits such as BuzzFeed and Snapchat.
“The upfront is about one thing,” said Yaccarino. “Selling your stuff.”
The cast of Will & Grace, the cornerstone of NBC rebooting its "Must See TV" marketing, then came out, before Telemundo took its turn, talking up La Reina Del Sur 2 and El Secreto de Selena.
After a Universal Kids bit, it was E!s turn, with Kim and Khloe Kardashian stepping out to mark 10 years of Keeping Up With the Kardashians and to talk up Kylie Jenner's show Life of Kylie.
Oxygen then boasted of having fare for the “next generation of true crime fan,” and Andy Cohen spoke on behalf of Bravo.
Syfy saluted its 25th anniversary and offered peeks at Superman origin story Krypton and The Purge, based on the hit movie franchise about the one night of the year when crime goes unpunished.
USA featured Jessica Biel’s The Sinner as well as the Unsolved series, which looks at the murders of rappers Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G.
After bits from WWE and John Cena and CNBC and Jim Cramer, Lester Holt, NBC Nightly News anchor, talked up the network’s news product and called Today hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie out too. Following them to the stage were Chuck Todd and Megyn Kelly, the latter saying she’s “thrilled” to be a part of NBC. Kelly will helm a 9 a.m. show as well as a Sunday 7 p.m. show, the latter starting in June.
Next up was a segment dedicated to NBC’s hit drama This Is Us, with fans of the show talking about why it means so much to them. Jennifer Lopez then came onstage, talking up her projects World of Dance, which premieres May 30, and drama Shades of Blue. “I feel like NBC has become my home,” she said.
NBC dramas getting their reels shown were The Brave, Law & Order True Crime–The Menendez Murders and Rise.
Late Night host Seth Meyers then offered some comedy. This Is Us’ status as a breakout hit for NBC might better be titled This Is Unlike Us, he quipped.
He noted how we live in a post-truth era and remarked how the upfronts “have been post-truth since the beginning.”
Meyers introduced Mark Lazarus, chairman, NBC Broadcasting and Sports, who talked up NBC Sports properties such as Sunday and Thursday Night Football and the Olympics. “I would not trade our portfolio with anyone else in the industry,” he said.
Finally, a video showcasing a musical number from the Minions concluded the event.