"A lot of it was part of the glamour of the job," said Erwin Ephron, partner at Ephron, Papazian & Ephron. "A lot of it was drama for the sake of drama. I think that's the kind of sizzle that makes it sound good."
Added Gene DeWitt, chairman of DeWitt Media Strategies: "I have to say, in 99% of the cases-I've been doing this for 40 years-there have only been a few upfronts where something was so out of whack that people were making decisions not fully rationally."
But one cable TV executive, who's also put in a decade on the agency side, said the all-nighter regimen of the upfront remains a reality for both the buying and selling side.
"One time we finished at 4:30 [a.m.] and then went to get rooms at the InterContinental," he said of his agency days. "I arrived with a group head-an older woman in her mid-40s-and the look I got from the desk clerk ... she was paying for the room. It was priceless."