Upfront 07

Forget the Suits and Ties. Bring on the Video Games

Road to the Upfront: Adult Swim

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The Player: Adult Swim
The Date: April 26, 2007
The Venue: Chelsea Art Museum, New York
Key Execs: David Levy, president, Turner Entertainment ad sales and marketing; Beth Goss, exec VP-Cartoon Network ad sales, marketing and enterprises; Mike Lazzo, senior VP-Adult Swim; John O'Hara, senior VP-ad sales and marketing, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim; and Josh Feldman, VP-ad sales and marketing, Adult Swim
At Adult Swim's upfront, guests got a chance to play 'Five Minutes to Kill Yourself,' a game featured on the network's website, where the object is to off yourself before a really boring board meeting.
At Adult Swim's upfront, guests got a chance to play 'Five Minutes to Kill Yourself,' a game featured on the network's website, where the object is to off yourself before a really boring board meeting.
The Food: Mini-burgers, sushi of all stripes, and various veggies and meats on sticks
The Drinks: An open bar that flowed so freely the vodka ran out halfway through. Gin cosmos, anyone?
The Swag: A gold mine: a Microsoft Zune preloaded with video of the Adult Swim presentation and, of course, plenty of free gigabytes to hold all your favorite MP3s and TV shows. The cable upfronts are nearly over, so it's safe to declare Adult Swim the champ of this year's freebies.
The Ratings Game: Adult Swim is No.1 in late-night programming among 18- to 34-year-olds, thanks in large part to its success with 18- to 24-year-old men.
The Digital Play: Adult Swim's home page -- independent of its home channel, Cartoon Network's -- has become a destination for its core audience of college-aged men, while a majority of the late-night network's content is bundled into Turner's Super Deluxe broadband site as well.
The Buyer's Verdict: Back in February, when Adult Swim's movie marketing in Boston for "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" turned into a perceived terrorist threat, Jason Maltby, co-executive director-national TV at MindShare, told MediaWorks, "Adult Swim does a very good job of reaching young males with a certain taste for certain types of comedy." He was also accurate in predicting that the failed stunt would increase viewer interest in the show, as Adult Swim experienced its best first-quarter ratings this year.

As any college kid (or junior media buyer) will tell you, Adult Swim is unlike anything else on TV. How appropriate, then, that its upfront party was beyond compare.

After last year's crammed party in New York concert venue Irving Plaza, Cartoon Network's cooler older brother allowed its bash to breathe a little at the Chelsea Art Museum. The ground floor was home to food, drinks and photo opps aplenty, with characters such as a busty Amazon woman and Adult Swim staple Assy McGee (we made sure to steer clear of being snapped with that one).

There were also two video games lifted from the Adult Swim website: "Bible Fight," which pits Jesus vs. Satan in "Mortal Kombat"-esque combat, and "Kill Yourself in Five Minutes," where the object is to off yourself before being submitted to a really boring board meeting (one "winner" managed to get the job done in 4:52).

Those seeking respite from the thumping electronic music downstairs could venture to the third floor, where a piano player played pleasant art-watching music -- that is, until a host of females tapped into his inner Billy Joel and turned the room into a piano bar, squeezing in sing-alongs for everything from "Tiny Dancer" to "Hit Me With Your Best Shot."

All the attractions meant many in attendance likely missed the actual upfront presentation, which the network must've seen coming since they included the video on a branded Zune for any guest with a gold wristband (swag alert!). Those who tuned in or downloaded the software got a sneak peek at the newest additions to the irreverent animated lineup, which will expand to seven nights a week when it adds Fridays later this year. Our favorite based on title alone was "Fat Guy Stuck in Internet," but the Satan-themed "Lucy, the Daughter of Evil" and "Superjail" also showed "Aqua Teen" levels of promise.
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