Cynopsis Backstage at the Upfronts – 05/13/15: NBC, FOX, Azteca



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BEHIND THE SCENES at the Upfronts
The People! The Parties! The Buzz!a


“We live in a converged viewing world, and our mantra is total audience,” Dan Lovinger, EVP, Entertainment Advertising Sales, NBCUniversal, told Cynopsis. “We think it’s critical to place our content in all the places that consumers expect and offer those consumer connections to our advertising partners.” Here’s more from Dan about NBCU’s plans.

What’s the pitch this year?
As #1 in A18-49 for the season, across primetime and late night, NBC continues to deliver upscale and affluent audiences that advertisers covet. And with Comcast’s continued investment in our diverse slate of programming, we’re excited to launch our new fall season shows.On the digital side, NBC’s full episode views are up 11%. Innovation is a common thread throughout the NBCUniversal portfolio and is a part of everything we do. Over the past few years, we’ve had the opportunity to push boundaries whether in programming, distribution or business models giving marketers opportunities to follow our premium video content wherever and whenever the consumer experiences it.

What’s new on the programming front?
We recently announced that our entire upcoming series, Aquarius, will be available on VOD immediately following the show premiere. This is a first for a broadcast network.
Similarly, the second season of USA’s Playing House also offers clients a new business model. This season’s windowing structure gives viewers the opportunity to watch the following week’s episode on VOD before it airs on USA, and also gives clients the opportunity to collaborate with the show runners to develop custom content around the show.

Party On!
Thousand of guests poured into Radio City Music Hall yesterday morning, to be greeted by none other than Nick Cannon playing DJ from a balcony box. Each seat had a bottle of “Rise to Shine” water and six glazed mini donuts with rainbow sprinkles from the Doughnuttery, branded with the Today and NBC logos. Were they good? “I already had two,” confessed one media buyer on line for the ladies room.

Star Power
There were plenty of celebs on hand to trumpet their NBC wares, including Craig T. Nelson (for a reboot of Coach), David Duchovny (Aquaruius), James Spader (The Blacklist) and Jimmy Fallon.

What Made It Stand Out Was…
NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt
accompanying Dolly Parton on “I will always love you” with Greenblatt ticking the ivories. “I’m looking forward to lots of projects with NBC,” Parton joked to the audience, “so get your money out.”

Check Your Seat Number
One of the presentation’s high points was the pranking of MediaVest Investment President Melissa Shapiro by NBC brass Linda Yaccarino (Chairman, Ad Sales & Partnerships), Laura Molen (EVP, Ad Sales, Lifestyle), Ted Harbert (Broadcasting Chairman) and Dan Lovinger with a hardy assist from Neil Patrick Harris, promoting his new live show, Best Time Ever. Together with a surprised Shapiro, all of Radio City watched a hidden camera tape featuring her at lunch with Molen and Yaccarino as she was unwittingly served by a disguised Lovinger and Harbert, and selfi-ed by Harris.



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Empire proved that broadcast is still the best way to launch an event,” said Dana Walden, FOX co-chairman and CEO at the net’s Upfront yesterday at the Beacon Theatre. It’s hard to argue with her: the hip hop drama is the top-rated new series on broadcast TV. With its crossover appeal, irresistible music tracks and classic soap opera plot twists, the show’s audience grew steadily for 10 weeks starting at 7.6 million viewers for the premiere and increasing a whopping 77% for its finale, according to Nielsen. Along the way, Fox fueled not just TV but the music industry as well, in the same vein as American Idol and Glee. A compilation of Empire’s show music debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, the first for a TV soundtrack since Glee five years ago. With other new hits like Gotham and The Last Man On Earth, Fox has hit some high notes this season. Toby Byrne, President, Advertising Sales, Fox Networks Group was happy to provide some sneak peeks for Cynopsis on what’s coming next.

What’s the pitch?
The Fox Networks brand is like no other: original, bold, a bit rebellious.
Our portfolio of content is infused with this DNA and a commitment to excellence.

How do you stand out from your competitors?
We deliver a youthful audience with massive scale. Across our portfolio and platforms, we reach 84% of Adults 18-49, more than 107 million in that demo. Brands that are associated with our premium content capitalize on our ability to connect emotionally with our audience to immerse, engage and convert them into customers.

What feedback are you getting from your clients?
We’ve had tremendous response to our newly reorganized sales team.We’ve created a much more efficient, collaborative and productive way for advertisers to communicate, interact and do business with us.

What else is in your arsenal?
The buzz is around our freshman series, as well as projects we have in development. When you have a cultural phenomenon like Empire, new hits like Gotham and The Last Man On Earth and a really compelling slate of development to build on for the future, it feels like a new day.

What’s the Fox philosophy around programming?
We’re thrilled to have Dana Walden and Gary Newman as the new heads of the network. They’re really focused on creating a strong, year-round spine to our schedule, developing a well-balanced slate and infusing the network with a sense of showmanship that sets FOX apart.We want to launch big, compelling programming, the kind that can cut through the clutter, as exemplified by Empire and the three new projects we’ve already picked up for next season:Ryan Murphy’s Scream Queens, the return of The X-Files and Grease: Live, a live production of one the most popular musicals of all time.

The Biggest Announcements
First: next season will be American Idol’s last.
Second: New shows will air in essentially two runs: one in fall and one in spring, with a cliffhanger at the end of each.

Most Electric Moment:
The cast of Empire onstage, singing and dancing. As show czars Brian Grazer, Danny Strong, and Lee Daniels introduced the performers, the audience nearly leaned forward as one for a better look.

Party On!
After the presentation, guests were shuttled by bus to Wollman Rink for a tented reception. As they waited on a snaking line through the park, entertainment was provided by sorority cheerleaders with literal knives in their backs to promote Scream Queens, the Ryan Murphy-created Heathers-Meets-Friday-the-13th drama starring Emma Roberts and Jamie Lee Curtis. Once inside, the place was rockin’.

Hope you’re Hungry!
The eats consisted of several buffets: one featured soul food (hush puppies, fried green tomatoes, fried catfish), another that called itself The Ultimate Mac & Cheese bar (ever had M&C with Brie and Boursin? Or Gruyere, Swiss, Cheddar and Bechamel? We did. And it was good.) Plus sushi, plus a dessert buffet called A La Mode with 9 flavors of ice cream and sorbet, cobblers, pound cakes, molten chocolate empanada, sundaes, double fudge brownies, pecan blondies, and chocolate chip cookies.

The coolest thing was..
First, Terrence Howard (Empire’s Lucious) walking through the crowd, shaking hands, posing for pictures.
Second, the photo booths that were set up so people could have pics taken with the stars of both new and returning shows. When John Stamos (Grandfathered) entered the area, the crowd went crazy. Scream Queens, Brooklyn 99 and Last Man on Earth also got plenty of props.

Just Asking…Toby Byrne

What’s the job you’d most like to have but never will?
Point guard for the Knicks

What’s your can’t-miss TV show?
What else? Empire!

-Reported by Lynn Kestin Sessler



NBCUniversal understands how your consumers
engage with our content on all their devices.

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Engage Together


NYC’s Best Buy Theatre was the site for Azteca America’s Upfront presentation, which showcased the Spanish-language net’s most robust lineup ever (soccer! novelas! interactive family entertainment!). Court Stroud, Executive Vice President, Network Sales and Digital, shares what’s in it for advertisers.
What’s the pitch?
It’s time for Azteca!On the heels of a successful season to date, reaching over 21 million total viewers,we presented our most ambitious programming slate. For the 2015-2016 upfront season, we are continuing our tradition of innovation with three really exciting concepts: an expansion of cutting-edge brand integrations, content marketing and branded entertainment and game-changing partnerships with digital content leaders Google DoubleClick and Adobe.

What categories are you hoping to break?
Azteca has had great success over the past year in bringing back former clients and attracting new ones. We’ve witnessed particularly strong growth in categories such as consumer package goods, automotive, movie studios, video games, technology/hardware and telecommunications/mobile.

What are clients saying?
Our clients have been asking for one-stop-shopping. Our answer to that request is our new Hispanic Audience Platform (HAP) to plan for and deliver higher ROI to our advertiser and agency partners. We have partnered with Google DoubleClick and Furious Corp. to develop a flexible, programmatic marketplace which integrates easily with any of our partners’ buy side platforms or trading desks. Additionally, we are working with Adobe in the development of their Audience Manager Suite which will be powering our audience segmentation and insights. We are ready to roll this out throughout 2015 and into 2016. It’s a game-changer.

Biggest programming news?
We announced the launch of a new family block, “La Hora Ganadora,” The Winning Hour, at 7p. It features interactive and engaging programming for the entire family to enjoy, serving up lively game shows and competitions featuring celebrities and amateurs alike, all looking for a chance to claim victory and take home an array of prizes.

And, on the dramatic series front, we have acquired the rights to the Turkish global hit series Kaçak. Viewers will love the action-filled drama and appreciate the high-production value.

Coming Up in Backstage at the Upfronts, in your mailbox at 6pm!

Bill Clinton makes an appearance at the Univision Upfront. Plus: cheerleaders, the New York Jets’ Darrelle Revis and the Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade all showed up at the ESPN Upfront. And NBCU Hispanic: All Together: Latino.

Keep Watching & Reading,
Lynn Leahey, Editor
Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group 

Cynopsis Ad Sales: Mike Farina | VP, Sales | 203-218-6480

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