This year’s scheduling rendition of musical chairs finally ended yesterday when the CW returned to its usual Upfront Week home of Thursday. The brief morning presentation packed most of the network’s young stars on the stage at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden, and even had one appear in character. (Ed Westwick’s Gossip Girl character, Chuck Bass, and his fictional Bass Industries, as it turns out, are new CW advertisers.)
Later that night the V.I.P. masses headed to the Gramercy Park Hotel rooftop for a cast party that was reserved for upper-level buyers and their clients only. The open-air soiree’s celeb-to-civilian ratio was surprisingly even, with the pretty young things of Gossip Girl, 90210, Melrose Place, and others mixing—and actually hanging out with—vice presidents and account directors from top media buying agencies.
Decor was scarce, but tangy mojitos, a top-shelf open bar, and several buffets of meats, cheeses, pastas, and veggies kept the group sated. We polled 10 weary guests—who had been going from presentations to meetings to parties for four days straight—about their take on the last party of yet another Upfront Week. Here are the grades they think the network earned:
Snooze Factor: 1 out of 4 Zs (“They really do know their brand. The stage looks just like their Web site.”)
Food/Bar: B+ (“This is my favorite type of buffet, upscale but easy to eat. The marinated heirloom tomatoes are amazing, and the pizzas are good too.” “I wasn’t overly impressed, but it was good. Actually, the short ribs were great.” “There were lots of bars, so I never waited for a drink. Though I did ask for a shot of Patron and they said no. That was lame.” “I’m loving the mojitos they were handing out at the elevator. Where can I get another one of those?”)
Environment: A (“From what I’m told, I’ll never get into this venue again, so yeah, I’m pretty stoked to be here.” “It’s never a bad thing when the party you’re going to is swarmed by paparazzi.” “It’s gorgeous up here, the views, the breeze, the comfy couches. Loving it.”)
Entertainment/Talent: A+ (“I actually think there are more celebrities here than regular people…like me.” “I didn’t talk to any of them, but I could have if I wanted to.” “Ashlee Simpson looks great. Pete Wentz is short. Her dad is here too. Weird.” “My friend’s boss passed his cell phone to Chace Crawford so that he could say hi to his 16-year-old daughter. Not only did he say hi, he talked to her for five minutes. How freaking adorable is that?”)
Overall: A (“This was a great way to end the week and kick off my long weekend. The venue is amazing, the weather is amazing, and staring at Blake Lively while I drink Champagne is never a bad thing either.” “I'm exhausted, but this party is really nice. Hey, is that Gilles from Dancing With the Stars? My wife loves that guy.")