My Upfront

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The buyer: The over-the-top histrionics of the upfront event astound me. Not that I'm star-struck with the sheer volume of celebs making quick appearances at the presentations and parties. It's more a matter of the fact that you need this many celebrities to even faze media business-types. Forget media savvy; we're media jaded.

Damned if it's not really fun, though.

If I might be a dork for one mere minute, here's a wishlist for what I'd like to see at the presentations this year: a) strategic vision for the networks; b) some tough competitive programming; c) smarter talent deals with lots of artistic integrity; d) an idea of what's happening on "The OC" this season.

NBC screened the entire pilot episode of "Friends" successor "Joey" last year. I was doubtful of its chances at saving Thursday night. Until Gunther from Central Perk shows up in sweeps, ratings will take a hit. Because, who didn't love Gunther (besides Rachel)?

My favorite part in general has got to be the show clips. Interesting how as soon as the clip airs, everyone in the audience starts the instant judgments and critiques. It's like when people talk behind you at the movies-times one thousand.

It's official: "Clocks" by Coldplay and "Lose Yourself" by Eminem were the only two songs written in the last year-or at least that's what you'd assume from watching the trailer clips. I swear, every year it's one or two songs used in every clip.


The leave-behinds you get from these presentations are probably the best thing you walk away with. The more concise, the better. I must say, in particular, the WB did a great job last year with their materials. The whole presentation had a nice, unified network feel.

Another plus: the people. Honestly, with so many extroverted sales folks, how could you not have a good time? It's a nice change to spend some extended time with them, and to have such easy access to the big shots. (Instead of the usual "Mr. Moonves will see you next week," it's "Les is over there. Go say hi."

This whole thing is an exercise in self-esteem. Not only are famous people fun to talk to (especially the ones who understand what our job is here), the networks end up feeling pretty good about themselves, too. I mean it; I have yet to see a network's upfront presentation that doesn't end with the statistically verified, absolutely vindicated assertion that they're No. 1.

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