Upfronts 2011: Adult Swim Turns Upfront Into Full Jay-Z Concert

By Anna Sekula May 19, 2011, 1:09 PM EDT

The crowd eagerly awaited the hour-long set from Jay-Z at Adult Swim's upfront event, filling up on beer and snacks like caramel popcorn and beef sliders in the two hours before the rapper took the stage.

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage.com

With a reputation for being one of the least formal upfront events during the busy week, Adult Swim capped Wednesday night with a function at the Roseland Ballroom that felt more like a concert than a sales presentation. Much as in years past, the big draw was the night's headlining performance, and for this go-round the late-night cable brand brought Jay-Z to entertain the crowd. (Earlier this week Adweek reported that the Grammy-winning rapper will partner with the Turner network on a project, a venture that has yet to be officially announced.)

About 1,500 media buyers, Turner executives, and talent crowded the theater district hall, where wristbands and black-light stamps replaced badges and name tags on lanyards, beer, wine, and other beverages were served in plastic cups, and the presentation was a quick video reel without a speaker or voice-over. In fact, at one point the video displayed text that read, “We'd like to note that no person in business clothing will actually be speaking to you tonight.”

The decorations scattered around the site reinforced Adult Swim's quirky sense of humor and included two giant owl statues, which flanked the stage, and statistics about the network ranking number one in total day delivery with adults 18 to 49 years old printed on napkins. And, as a dramatic introduction to Jay-Z's entrance at 11.30 p.m., Adult Swim put a countdown clock up on the main screen.

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