2011 Upfronts: NBC Universal Kick-Starts Season With Talent-Focused Presentations for Bravo, Syfy, and Oxygen

By Anna Sekula April 7, 2011, 5:15 PM EDT

Photo: Casey Rodgers/Bravo

Upfront Week, the frenzied yearly gathering where broadcast networks present their fall schedules to advertisers and media buyers, is still a month away. But cable television executives have already begun wooing the crowds, and the past three weeks saw NBC Universal roll out efforts from three of its properties.

Buoyed by strong ratings, Syfy leveraged its status as the lead media partner for Broadway's now-infamous Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark with a presentation and performance at the musical's home at the Foxwoods Theatre. Oxygen's assembly also took inspiration from the Great White Way, bringing young Broadway talent to the stage at Gotham Hall for song-and-dance routines that served as the introduction to each segment of the 35-minute presentation.

Perhaps the most elaborate was the “Breakthrough With Bravo” upfront, an endeavor choreographed by the network to immerse guests at simultaneous events in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles into its broadcast of the Top Chef All-Stars finale. The trade-only dinners, which doubled as viewing parties, were televised and the footage incorporated into the reality show's commercial breaks. Bravo talent acted as the host for each city—executive vice president of original programming and development Andy Cohen at New York's 82 Mercer, Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel in Los Angeles, and Top Chef judge Gail Simmons at Chicago's Girl & the Goat—and the menu was created by the competition's finalists.

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