By Kaylee Hultgren Posted May 9, 2011, 2:15 PM EDT
A&E Television Networks held its upfront presentation on Wednesday before some 700 clients, advertisers, and talent from the A&E, Lifetime, and History channels. In addition to showcasing the upcoming programming lineup, the evening marked the launch of a corporate rebranding initiative for the network.
The event was held at the IAC Building for the second year in a row, but new this year was a focus on the celebratory. So as not to mix too much business with pleasure, the network held higher-level meetings with advertisers in the weeks prior to the launch. “We’ll typically do a full-on presentation, which becomes an hour’s worth—but it’s hard to hold the audience,” said Lisa Cowles, A&E’s director of corporate events. A short presentation and video clip therefore replaced long-form speeches, and large video screens throughout the space allowed guests to view the entertainment from all angles.
The evening’s decor, by Baura New York, took direction from the network’s rebranding. A pink, purple, and blue palette matched the hues of A&E’s new logo, which now has a plus sign in place of the older ampersand—furniture arrangements configured in a plus shape and large banners featuring the plus sign symbol reflected this shift. Lighting corresponded to A&E’s new color scheme, as well. “Rather than use graphic posters, we accomplished a lot with gobos and creative lighting,” Cowles said. Trusses were dressed in white fabric to blend in with the building’s massive white columns, on which gobos were projected.
Convivium Catering served bites of Moroccan-style chicken wrapped in a light phyllo dough, shrimp and mango skewers with fresh basil, mini cheeseburgers topped with cognac sauce, and goat cheese and honey tarts; three food stations lining the east lobby entryway offered a variety of pasta dishes, dumplings, and charcuterie.
Network talent in attendance included Demi Moore, who was recently tapped to produce Lifetime’s upcoming series The Conversation, Project Runway’s Nina Garcia, and the burly, tattooed cast of Pawn Stars. Performances from Jennifer Hudson and comedic pop trio the Dan Band capped the evening.