This Year's Upfront Week Falls Into Place, Starts at Super Bowl

By Michael O'Connell January 30, 2009, 12:09 PM EST

Fox will likely do something similar to last year's Wolman Rink party for its 2009 upfront.

Photo: Jessica Torossian for BizBash

The economy and the television industry may not be in the most stable position at the start of 2009, but The Hollywood Reporter noted that this year's upfront sales pitches—slated for May 18 through 21 in New York—won't look much different from the pared down, more businesslike presentations seen during the 2008 Upfront Week.

NBC still plans to forgo its old presentation at Radio City Music Hall for intimate “in-front” meetings with advertisers in April, and there definitely won’t be a return of last year’s carnival-like “NBC Experience” at Rockefeller Plaza.

The network actually plans to get an early jump on advertiser wooing at this Sunday’s Super Bowl. “They would never show you programming,” a media buyer told The Hollywood Reporter, referring to past sporting events where networks entertained buyers. “I think the NBC plan is smart because they have a larger percentage of clients at the Super Bowl than they would at the upfront.”

CBS has already put down a deposit on longtime venue Carnegie Hall and anticipates offering more glimpses at programming than it was able to during the post-writers strike presentation last year. Fox is expected to hold on to the glitzy upfronts of yore, with a repeat of something like last year's City Center presentation and Wolman Rink party, though no venues have been finalized. The network will also move from Thursday to Monday to accommodate buyers hoping to leave early for the Memorial Day weekend.

ABC may return to Lincoln Center, and as we reported earlier this month, the CW will move days and venues to the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden on that Thursday morning.

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