No upfront is MyNetTV reality


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In an unusual move, MyNetworkTV has decided not to hold an upfront presentation for media buyers and advertisers next month. Instead, executives will meet with those groups on a smaller scale, going agency-by-agency to discuss their new schedule, which will see the addition of new reality programming in June as scripted dramas are officially cut to one night a week.

MyNet president Greg Meidel and Bob Cesa, executive vp advertising sales at Twentieth Television and MyNet, said Tuesday that they want to meet with media buyers and advertisers on a more intimate level for several reasons.

"We're not going to do a traditional upfront presentation the week of May 14 in front of 3,000 people — that's a one-way street," said Meidel, who joined the network in January. "Our story is unique, and we wanted to have more personal one-on-one conversations with the top agencies. … This is an unconventional approach, but at this time in our history and life span, we need to get the message out and have interactive conversations."

MyNet, which launched in September, did give an upfront presentation last year to tout its all-telenovela strategy, but Meidel noted that cable networks like MyNet's sister channel FX have in the past also chosen not to give big, formal presentations.

Cesa said the agencies have responded positively to the idea.

"This affords us the opportunity to do Q&As with clients, to customize our presentation so that it's more meaningful to their list of advertisers and to get feedback right away," he said.

Meanwhile, Meidel said that starting the week of June 4, the scripted dramas will be relocated to Wednesdays. "American Heiress" will air from 8-9 p.m., and "Saints & Sinners" will air from 9-10 p.m.

MyNet launched with a schedule comprising two drama strips, airing Monday-Friday, with recaps on the weekend. But in March, the network cut the low-rated dramas back to two nights a week and added movie nights on Thursdays and Fridays and the new unscripted series "IFL Battleground" on Mondays. A couple of weeks ago, MyNet said it would air specials on Tuesdays starting April 24 through May.

Meidel said the network's ratings growth from shows like "IFL" (which has improved household ratings on Mondays by 40%-50%) and the movie nights (which have boosted household ratings by almost 100%) encouraged him to pursue new programming on Tuesday nights, too. He said the network has been talking about potential projects with such reality producers as Mark Burnett, Bruce Nash, John Langley and Gary Benz.

Meidel added that the expects to make a decision about the new reality programming, which will debut June 5, in the next 10 days.

Meidel said "Heiress" and "Saints" will finish out their runs in late fall.
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