Upfront and personal podcast: Takeaways from TV's big week

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Jon Batiste and Stay Human from 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert' perform during CBS' upfront presentation at Carnegie Hall.
Jon Batiste and Stay Human from 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert' perform during CBS' upfront presentation at Carnegie Hall. Credit: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

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The major broadcast networks wound down the 2018 upfront week Friday. There were celebrities, there were open bars, there was shrimp. Every network found a way to claim No. 1 status in something—and all of the networks found a way to throw shade at their rivals. Topline takeaways: Next season, look forward to more reboots, shorter ad slots and lots of live sports.

If the scripted programming leaves a little to be desired, there's still a staggering amount of money on the table: At stake is roughly $10 billion in advertising for the broadcast networks and an additional $10 billion for cable. "Twenty billion dollars in commitments, depending on who's doing the counting, that was a record," says Anthony Crupi, who covers the business of television for Ad Age. "So TV is still somehow working."

And yet, there was a slight pall of anxiety bubbling under the glitzy dog-and-pony-show, says Ad Age media reporter Jeanine Poggi. "The same excitement, cachet, that was once there has fizzled a bit," she says.

Crupi and Poggi both join me in a special pop-up edition of the Ad Lib podcast, in which we get upfront and personal. They discuss industry trends and share spirited takeaways about the week that was—informed by Poggi's years of expert industry coverage … and Crupi's benign mania. Don't touch that dial.

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