MSNBC Host Rachel Maddow Among Star Favorites at Upfronts

2019 NBCUniversal Upfront in New York City on Monday, May 13, 2019 -Rachel Maddow- publicity-H 2019
Peter Kramer/NBCUniversal

The biggest stars of upfront week were not necessarily those cast on the fall lineup. Backstage at NBCUniversal, which kicked off a busy week May 13 with a talent-packed, two-hour palooza, actors from The Good Place's Ted Danson to This Is Us' Mandy Moore were said to be fangirling and -boying out about MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who willingly posed for selfies. (Those in the audience at Radio City Music Hall were more struck by the man with whom Maddow shared the stage, Brian Williams, though less "Oh my God, he’s here!" than "Oh my God, he’s here?")

Later that night, a horde of agents and executives trekked to Brooklyn to deluge Instagram with look-at-me shots from a concert by breakout singer (and WME client) Lizzo. And though the venue was far less intimate (and thus far less Insta-worthy), Hollywood seemed similarly pleased with The CW’s move to hire The Jonas Brothers to open its upfront three days later. Without the usual crush of agency parties, the rest of the week was relatively low-key, save the yes-it-still-happened WME dinner at Peter Luger May 14.

Per multiple dinner-goers, agency veteran Rick Rosen made a short, well-received speech, acknowledging that while the agency was without its writer clients (Dick Wolf was nonetheless spotted at dinner), it still valued its network and studio partners. A smaller collection of reps were joined by the usual batch of execs, a smattering of talent (including John Mayer and producer Melvin Mar) and a whole lot of steak.

A version of this story first appeared in the May 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.