- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
New theater, familiar script. Fox stuck to an upfront formula that’s served the network well in recent years while hosting ad buyers in a new venue, the Beacon Theatre. Overall, strong trailers, plus getting the Super Bowl next year, helped bolster the impression that the #1 network the past six years shouldn’t have much of problem staying in the top spot.
Fox opens with the parade of actors, capped by “House” star Hugh Laurie making a pitch to advertisers — a move the network has employed in recent years, though previously with Kiefer Sutherland holding the microphone. The stars were followed by a lengthy discourse from ad sales chief Jon Nesvig. The point — made many different ways — is that broadcast as a whole is doing well.
“I’m reminded of Yogi Berra’s line — ‘nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded,'” he said about chatter prognosticating the downfall of broadcast.
Fox spent an usually large amount of time on this point, even citing
competitors such as CBS’ “Big Bang Theory” and ABC’s “Modern Family.”
What seems magnanimous on the surface is actually quite effective for
Fox specifically — when you’re top-rated network, any praise of
broadcast reflects positively on your business above all others.
The number of slides focusing on numbers made Fox’s upfront the opposite of fourth-place NBC’s, whose presentation notably avoided all things mathematical (No, I didn’t attend NBC’s upfront … more on that later … maybe … haven’t decided yet).
An attempt to paint ultra-expensive Super Bowl ad spots as “one of the best bargains in advertising,” however, was met with laughter from the Madison Avenue crowd.
Next, Fox entertainment chairman Peter Rice took the stage. Rice, pacing rather hypnotically, continued the case for broadcast in general and Fox in particular.
“Our programs are not only massive hits, they’re the most searched about and the most talked about,” Rice said, sounding for a moment a bit like The CW’s Dawn Ostroff. “There are very few places where you can truly impact culture.”
“Glee” co-star Jane Lynch then took the stage to introduce Reilly, saying the entertainment president has been “been coasting on those shiny local weatherman looks … and dear god, how many times does he bleach his teeth?”
Reilly spent some time on the network’s summer lineup (which is a pretty optional move, though, again, reflects Fox’s dominance), then launched into the trailers. Clips from most are here, but briefly: “Lonestar” looked extremely well-produced and emotionally compelling, though you have to wonder how this narrative will work as a weekly series (two colleagues afterward both agreed that the lead was “cute,” though one couldn’t stomach rooting for any main character who’s cheating on two wives). “Ride-Along” was tough to judge from the trailer … unsure how to elaborate, I was just left without an opinion. “Raising Hope” — young loser raises a baby — seemed like a premise that was going to go south, but the crowd thought the jokes were funny. You can see why pilot buzz was mixed on “Running Wilde,” it struggled for laughs, as did “Bob’s Burgers.” And there’s also a show called “Mixed Signals” that made me not want to get married or be single.
Then there was “Terra Nova.”
I’m predisposed to like this drama; it’s my kind of show. And there’s only concept art and talking heads right now. So keep all that in mind when I say I was jazzed by the concept art and bits of detail dropped during the show’s promo feature (centipedes five feet long, Steven Spielberg promised). The show will feature new-looking dinos, since we’ve apparently learned more in the past 15 years that allows Hollywood to create more freaky-looking dinosaur designs and justify it.
“It’s a wonderful conceptual delicious banquet for audience,” enthused Spielberg.
Now that man knows how to sell to advertisers! That phrase means nothing yet sounds fantastic.
The show will launch “opportunistically” sometime midseason (read: after “American Idol”).
The show wrapped with the cast of “Glee” performing “Like a Prayer,” effective for hitting some emotional buttons to drive home the network’s array of talking points. All in all, a professionally executed upfront, and pretty much what you expected.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day