Football Players Are Hot; 'Survivors,' Not So Much

Where You Should Have Been Last Night: Tavern on the Green

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NEW YORK ( -- If the lines from last night's CBS party at Tavern on the Green are any indication of which shows will be hot, CBS's Sunday-afternoon football lineup will be a juggernaut. CBS rolled out the manly Manning brothers for its presentation, and Eli and Peyton had the cynical media buyers swooning at the party afterward.
Such a nice man, that James Woods.
Such a nice man, that James Woods. Credit: John P. Filo / CBS

A line of at least 100 buyers wound through a mirror-laden hallway at the Tavern, awaiting their turn to shake Peyton's and Eli's hands. Watercooler was surprised at the number of women in line, as we always thought the guys were a bit goofy looking, but macho-warrior types, as CBS well knows, always have a following.

CBS introduced the QBs at its upfront presentation at Carnegie Hall, with Phil Simms predicting they'd meet in the Super Bowl (which is on CBS this year, natch). While Payton and his Colts are a regular presence on CBS, which airs the AFC games, Eli and his Giants tend to appear on Fox's broadcast of NFC games.

The upfront photo sessions have to be one of the more boring duties these celebrities take on throughout the year, but most tend to be good sports, shaking buyers' hands and kissing them on the cheek. Another mega-line was forming around the cast of the drama "Shark," starring James Woods. (One marketer who'd just had her photo snapped gushed, "He is the nicest man in the world!" as she walked away. Watercooler didn't have the heart to remind her that while actors may not be geniuses, most know enough not to bite the hand that feeds 'em.)

"Smith," starring Virginia Madsen and Ray Liotta, had its share of fans as well, although Mr. Liotta looked a bit grim. We assume he was staying in character for the show, on which he plays a high-stakes thief.

One always gets an indication of how a network feels about a show by where it slots it in its weekly lineup. So what does it mean if your show's cast is relegated to a lesser-traveled backroom of the upfront party as "Survivor" was? The show, which is in its 12th season, is still CBS's Thursday night anchor, consistently ranking as a top 10 show for viewers 18-49. The good news for starstruck buyers who managed to find their way back there? The line was only four people long.
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