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It's Upfront Week—the television networks' annual series of sales pitches—and we're asking media buyers in attendance to grade the presentations and parties. Here's our first report.
Taking advantage of NBC’s decision to vacate its Monday night spot during Upfront Week, Fox moved its presentation up three days this year from its traditional Thursday slot. That move meant the network escaped fears that guests might skip the bash to leave town early for the long Memorial Day weekend, but it also halted the party's run as the end-of-the-week place to let off steam.
A crowd of more than 2,000 made the trip from Fox's presentation at the City Center to its Wollman Rink reception last night, where they posed for photos with network stars including Eliza Dushku, Kiefer Sutherland, and Wanda Sykes; grazed on ample buffets of sushi, pizza, and Mexican fare; and talked about an unusual smell that seemed to be lingering in the tent.
For the most part, it had all the fixings of the network's last few upfront outings, but how did the move from Thursday go over with the guests? We polled 11 of them—including a director of national broadcast at a media buying firm and two senior buyers—to see how they thought Fox stacked up this year. Here are the grades they think the network earned:
Snooze Factor: 1 out of 4 Zs (“It started pretty much on time, maybe five minutes late, and it was short. Kiefer made a funny joke that we could find him at the bar at the party.”)
Food: A- (“The food is always good at this party, mostly because there's just so much of it.")
Bar: B+ (“I'd be liking this bar a lot more if it wasn't Monday.")
Environment: B- (“There's a strange smell in here—like a porta-potty or an airplane bathroom. We've been moving around all night trying to avoid it.”)
Entertainment/Talent: B+ (“Fox can be a little stingy on the talent, but I've seen a lot of the actors here tonight. There were probably even more at the presentation.”)
Overall: B (“I wish they'd move it back to Thursday. The vibe is really different this year.")