1. Upfront Week
TV networks rebounded from the writers-strike-addled 2008 upfronts with a renewed commitment in 2009 to the yearly gathering of advertisers and media buyers. The May presentations of their fall schedules were followed by lavish parties, including a celebrity-filled CW event on the roof of the Gramercy Hotel and a three-floor celebration for CBS at Terminal 5.
2. Tribeca Film Festival
Though overall attendance shrank to 348,000 in 2009 for the city’s largest film festival, attendance at ticketed events increased and more than 95 percent of screenings reached capacity audiences. The nine-year-old outing returns April 21 through May 2.
3. New York Film Festival
Screenings of Oscar bait like Precious and Broken Embraces punctuated the highly regarded film festival’s 2009 schedule, which ran September 25 to October 11. It’s the last big stop on the festival circuit before award season and includes an opening-night party at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.
4. Tony Awards
Last year was a good one for the Tonys. Tapping Broadway veteran and television personality Neil Patrick Harris to host helped boost broadcast ratings by 20 percent, and holding a seated simulcast for 1,000 in Times Square gave the event more buzz in the city. The 2010 show is set for June 13 at Radio City Music Hall.
5. CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival
More than 100,000 music lovers invaded Manhattan and Brooklyn venues over the course of College Music Journal’s annual festival last October. The concert series returns October 19 with 120,000 fans and 1,200 artists over five days.
6. New York Television Festival
Its fifth outing saw the industry’s first recognized independent television festival outgrow its New World Stages home and hold additional premieres and panels at the Paley Center and the TimesCenter. Producers also took advantage of an overlap with Advertising Week to promote networking between TV and ad executives. The sixth festival is set for September.
7. Film Society of Lincoln Center Tribute
Julia Roberts brought attention to the society’s annual honor for Hollywood heavyweights when her profane homage to 2009 honoree Tom Hanks earned her—and the 37-year-old gala—international headlines. Another star will join Hanks and previous honorees such as Dennis Hoffman, Diane Keaton, and Meryl Streep when the show returns to Alice Tully Hall in April.
8. Museum of the Moving Image Salute
The 25th anniversary of the film honor moved from Cipriani 42nd Street to 583 Park Avenue for the December 1 gala, when friends and colleagues of Clint Eastwood gathered to honor the actor and director.
9. Gotham Awards
The Hurt Locker took home best feature and best ensemble performance at the 19th annual Gotham Independent Film Awards in 2009. The November 30 event, hosted by the Independent Film Project at Cipriani Wall Street, included presentations by Meryl Streep, Ellen Burstyn, and Willem Dafoe.