TV Upfront

USA's Social-TV Upfront: Network Pitch Becomes a Trending Topic

Stars Tweet From the Stage While Fans Tweet Outside

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There was a whole lot of tweeting going on during USA Network's upfront presentation on Thursday afternoon. Both the fans outside Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York and the media buyers and advertisers inside briefly made the hashtag #usaupfront a trending topic on Twitter.

The stars of 'Psych' on stage at USA's upfront in a photo by network executive Jesse Redniss
The stars of 'Psych' on stage at USA's upfront in a photo by network executive Jesse Redniss

Ahead of the upfront, USA also invited fans to come out to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars, roping off a designated area for them to get a good view, and encouraged them to tweet.

Inside the theater, USA characters discussed the network's efforts in social TV, and "Psych" stars Dule Hill and James Roday talked up their social strategy.

"I finally convinced James Roday to tweet," Mr. Hill said. "Roday quickly makes it a contest."

Mr. Hill and Mr. Roday went back and forth on a Twitter mock-up on a projector with messages such as "Can't Roday ever stick to the script?" from Mr. Hill.

Mr. Hill boasted about having more than 100,000 followers, but he was quickly cut down to size by wrestler John Cena, who has 2 million-plus followers.

Mr. Cena was joined onstage by Stephanie McMahon to announce that "WWE Raw," which will air its 1,000th episode in July, will permanently expand to three hours on Monday nights. Mr. Cena simultaneously made the announcement on his Twitter page and promoted the hashtag #3HoursRaw.

USA used the presentation to promote its expansion into reality and comedy programming as well as six digital content initiatives.

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