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TV Upfront

Anatomy of an Upfront: Behind the Scenes of NBCU's Road to Radio City

Published on .

Every spring the big TV networks mount elaborate stage shows to promote their new seasons to ad buyers, trying to establish the best possible position before beginning talks for all the upcoming commercial time. Some buyers may just as soon skip the spectacle, but networks still consider them a key tool for framing their offering.

For NBC Universal, the stakes are some $6 billion in ad commitments that Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising sales and client partnerships, will negotiate in the weeks following the presentation.

NBC's show at Radio City Music Hall ultimately included 10 confetti cannons, six pyrotechnics cannons and over 100 hours of rehearsal. It left out the planned dancing football players and trampoline artists when John Shea, creative director of the event, cut them at 10 p.m. the night before.

Ad Age followed NBC Universal's team for the three months leading up to the annual pitch to see firsthand what it takes to pull it all off. Watch the video for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look.

By Jeanine Poggi, Nate Skid and David Hall.

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