Media Buyers' Diaries: Fox Closes Out Upfront Week, Time to Rest

May 16, 2008, 5:25 PM EDT

So You Think You Can Dance contestants took the stage at the Fox party, alongside cover band Boogie Nights.

Upfront Week came to a close last night with Fox's annual drink-fest at Wollman Rink, held under a clear-ceilinged tent where some 2,000 TV execs came together to let off some much-needed steam after a long week of schmoozing. Our media buyer correspondents were no exception, dancing at Fox and networking at the Tribune party. Here's what they had to say.

“Alex P. Keaton,” a 28-year-old supervisor in the broadcast department at Wieden Kennedy, caught Fox's presentation at City Center and stopped by the Wollman Rink party.

“Fox closed out the week with some promising new shows and another great party. It was noted that this past year was a challenge due to the writers strike, but Fox had a strong year even if you take out the ratings from the Super Bowl and American Idol. Very impressive.

“Luckily we had great weather as everyone strolled through Central Park for one last party. The setup was much improved this year, with what seemed like more bartenders and better locations for the serving stations. The food was really good, and just in case your nonalcoholic beverage of choice happened to be anything but Tab and Orangina, you were in luck. Fox rolls out the same band every year, and they did a nice job of keeping everyone's feet moving. A great night and strong finish to a busy week. Time for rest.”

“Rudy Huxtable,” a 28-year-old broadcast department supervisor at Optimedia International US Inc., also attended the Fox festivities.

“We headed up to Fox around 3:30. It’s assigned seating at City Center, so there’s no rush. The presentation started at 4 with all of their talent on the stage. The people from Bones spoke and thanked everyone. The stage was lit up with tons of colors, nothing fancy though. It was pretty much the same as it has been in years past. Jack Bauer [a.k.a. Kiefer Sutherland] came out and spoke, and I was in the sixth row so I was super close to him. His speech was actually sincere, saying how the past seven years have been the best in life. It was endearing. Who doesn't love Jack Bauer? When we walked outside of City Center there were cows—real ones—lining the street, because one of their new shows had a clip with a cow in it. It was bizarre, though, because no one was really acknowledging them.

“Then we walked down Sixth Avenue to Wollman Rink, and the weather was perfect. It’s in a big tent, which is open-air. There were blue carpets and the big bar had Chihuly-esque glass sculpture things on the top. It was really cool. They put out more tables this year, which was good, and the food was better than last year. They were tons of stations with sushi, Brazilian stuff like empanadas, salads, American stuff like mac and cheese and lasagna, and one for sliders and fries. It was all really yummy, I tried all of it. I didn’t try the dessert, actually, but I heard it was good. There was a doughnut station and Chipwiches. The bar was fully stocked; I want to say they had 15 different beers, and everyone in my group was into the Propel Water and Kettle cocktails—they were loving them.

“It was crowded, but the space is so big that it's never too crowded. Around 8 p.m. the cover band came on, and everyone really looks forward to them. They play songs like 'We Are Family' and they wear big Afros, and people get on the stage and dance with them. Everyone gets really wasted and is dancing. This year, besides Adult Swim, this was the only real party. And it’s the last night, so everyone always gets a little crazy. I was tired and totally spent, but it's always a fun time because everyone in the industry is there—no one misses the Fox party. And everyone stays out later, and there are always funny things that happen throughout the night. All in all, the week is over. I’m still alive, and 10 pounds heavier. And although they’re a little different, the upfronts are basically still the same.”

“Kelly Kapowski,” a 30-year-old senior media buyer in the broadcast department at MediaEdge CIA, checked out the Tribune party.

“So my last night of Upfront Week was at the Bowery Hotel for a Tribune party.  Or at least that's what my wristband said. There was no mention of Tribune or their properties. The venue was great—plenty of room, seats, drinks, and food. But what were we celebrating? Did I miss the presentation? Where was the product pushing? Then again, a party just for a party is always a good thing. I got there at about 6:45 p.m. and immediately saw the waiters carrying mushrooms filled with goat cheese. I continued to follow him around until he switched to the gigantic, fatty lamb chops. Then I switched to the chicken-salad-topped toast. The bar was never too crowded, so drinks were always accessible, which is always a plus.

“The party went until 10 but I stayed until about 8:45 and at that point it had really emptied out. I had mingled with my Tribune reps, said hello to N.S.M.s and G.S.M.s [national sales managers and general sales managers], and then found myself in the same group of people I had been with Tuesday and Wednesday. Time to call it a night. Like the CBS reception, it was a great party on any other night.  But this is Upfront Week. This is about celebrating what to expect in the fall. This is about being reminded how great their product is and all the reasons our clients should support it. Have I become jaded? Do I not just expect a nice party without an ulterior motive? I left with a coworker and we took the 6 train uptown, both feeling a little let down.”

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