Best and Worst Moments From the Broadcast Upfront Presentations

The Angriest Man of the Week; Who Should -- and Shouldn't -- Sing and Dance

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NEW YORK ( -- Last week, the broadcast networks spent oodles of money to introduce their fall lineups to marketers and agencies, as well as to Wall Street and their affiliates. Some of them pulled it off in style, with their execs smoothly executing some intricate dance moves (ABC), while others probably wished they had done a few more dress rehearsals (Fox). (Go here to see how MediaWorks rated the presentations.) Here, some of the best and worst moments of the week.
William Shatner, backed up by the male stars of ABC shows, onstage at the network's presentation.
William Shatner, backed up by the male stars of ABC shows, onstage at the network's presentation. Credit: Donna Svennevik

Best Pitch: ABC was to-the-point and entertaining. "I didn't look at my watch once," said Larry Novenstern, exec VP-director, national electronic media, Optimedia. But did you check your BlackBerry?

Angriest Man of the Week: Group M's Irwin Gotlieb, who reamed a Fox account rep about the disorganized start to its presentation at Manhattan's Armory. Attendees spilled out into two lanes of Lexington Avenue traffic as they waited a half-hour to enter the building. "This is the last event you'll ever have," he told the rep.

Best Theme Song: CW's from the Black-Eyed Peas.

Best Digital-Media Drone: NBC's Jeff Zucker's catchphrase-peppered speech. Said Shari Anne Brill, VP-director of programming for Carat: "It's hard to come by sleep that good anymore -- and you can quote me on that!"

Most Hype in One Sentence: MyNetworkTV's introduction of the telenovela format: "It is without question the most epic success story of international television."

Best Zucker Punch: "At least NBC will have one hit this year" --CBS football analyst Phil Simms referring to the Manning-a-Manning Colts-at-Giants match-up that will kick off NBC's "Sunday Night Football" lineup.

ABC's Moonlighting Hoofers: William Shatner, backed up by the male stars of ABC shows, with a cameo by Marc Cherry, was fair turnaround from last year, when the "Desperate Housewives" danced. "Desperate Housewives"' Marcia Cross and castmate Ricardo Antonio Chavira dirty dancing at the party following the presentation also made for a nice cross-promotion for "Dancing With the Stars." Of course, Entertainment President Steve McPherson's cha-cha during the presentation, which brought the audience to its feet, already had done a pretty good job of that.

Hispanic Moonlighting Hoofers: Telemundo's VP-Entertainment Ramon Escobar took direct aim at Univision with his refrain "We're not for sale. We're made for you. Not to be too rude, but we're not being sued." Univision Co-Presidents Tom McGarrity and Dennis McCauley, meanwhile, sang and danced with six Rockettes, taking their shots at the English-language networks.

Keep Your Day Jobs: "Family Guy's" Seth MacFarlane and Alex Borstein, whose opening song and dance for Fox was much too screechy. CBS's Mandy Patinkin's Murder Medley, in which he sang standards with lyrics that described violent crimes, was too bloody for the audience's taste.

Most Uncomfortable Joke: From Leslie Moonves, explaining why, for the first time in a decade, he wouldn't be starring in an upfront-themed film: "It was going to be me and Bob Scheiffer in our own version of 'Brokeback Network.' We actually flipped a coin to see who was going to be Heath Ledger."

Best Sport: NBC, for letting Alec Baldwin get in this shot while introducing "30 Rock," a half-hour behind-the-scenes look at a sketch-comedy show not unlike "Saturday Night Live" that the network picked up along with the one-hour drama "Studio 60," another behind-the-scenes look at a sketch-comedy show: "Every once in a while there comes along an idea that is so moving NBC only has two of them."

Too Close to Home: B.J. Novak, who plays temp Ryan Howard on NBC's "The Office," when he called himself the "highest-paid temp on television ... except for Kevin Reilly." Uncomfortable silence.

Upfront Tongue Twister: "Tostitos," apparently, as Fox Sports President David Hill butchered again and again the pronunciation of the title sponsor for the Fiesta Bowl, now airing on his network.
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