Road to the Upfront: NBC

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Upfront hosts: Jeff Zucker, president, NBC Universal TV Group; Kevin Reilly, entertainment president

Other side of the table: Keith Turner, president-sales and marketing

Performance in 18-49s: 3.6 rating/10 share, that puts NBC behind Fox's 4.1, CBS's 4.0 and ABC's 3.8.*

Performance in total viewers: 3.6 rating/9 share, falling behind CBS's 4.6 and ABC's 3.7, but equal to Fox's 3.6. The network attracts on average 10,000 viewers a week.*

Best returning shows: "The Apprentice," "West Wing" and "ER" still deliver the most upscale audiences around. But Steve Sternberg Magna Global's exec VP-director of audience analysis, found that "Law & Order: SVU" is the only regular series not to decline from last season.

Best new shows: "Medium," delivered NBC's best 18-to-49-year-old audience for a Monday drama in 15 seasons, and was the 17th most popular among 18-49s last week. "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" is also off to a good start. While in fourth place, NBC network is within striking distance of the competition.

Weakest areas: "Tuesday has been a real headache for NBC from 8 to 10 p.m.," according to Mr. Sternberg, with "Committed" and "The Office" not delivering. "The Biggest Loser" did well, but repeats of "Will & Grace" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" have not. Mr. Sternberg points out that despite the Olympics promotional boost, there were no new fall successes with the exception of "Medical Investigation."

Most successful product-placement/sponsorship deal: Practically any episode of this season's "The Apprentice." Burger King kicked off the new season, followed by the infamous "veggie porn" episode featuring Dove Body Wash, and Yahoo continues its tie-in. NBC's "American Dreams" also had a successful tie with Campbell Soup.

Audience median age: 47.7

Last year's CPM increase: 6%-8%

Last year's upfront haul: $2.9 billion

The buyer's verdict: Chris Allen, VP-national broadcast supervisor, Omnicom Group's GSD&M, Chicago, who represents U.S. Air Force, Mastercard International and SBC Communications: "NBC has seen declines across the board and it's affected them beyond prime time in late night and early morning. ABC's `Good Morning America' has been gaining. NBC has long held a leadership position, but CBS is in position to take the lead."

*Nielsen Media Research: Season-to-date is Sept. 20 -April 3

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