All the Action From the 2016 Upfronts

Over the past several days, the major broadcast channels have been making their annual Upfront presentations in New York City. Recently, various OTT services made their own presentations, and the networks are fighting back for the viewers.

It’s been a veritable bloodbath of sorts, with numerous cancellations on many networks, as well as the selection of many TV shows that are being adapted from popular movies like Lethal Weapon, The Exorcist and Cruel Intentions.


NBC Universal’s presentation featured their broadcast, digital and cable networks together for the first time, in a ‘unified’ approach.

"As a media company, we have an unparalleled array of networks and digital platforms that reach the most audiences across all dayparts," said Linda Yaccarino, chairman-advertising sales and client partnerships, NBC Universal, previewing the pitch. "Our event will reflect the way we go to market as a unified portfolio which makes it easier for our clients to do business with us all together."

During the presentation, Yaccarino observed that “the average American spends 7 times as many hours watching television as they do on Facebook,” adding “there is no algorithm for heart-pumping, blood-racing, breath-holding, premium content.”

NBC’s new slate includes, “Timeless,” “This is US” and “The Good Place.”


Drawing comparisons to the Red Wedding from “Game of Thrones,” ABC unsheathed the largest sword in its armory and gave the former lineup a proper thwacking.

Amongst the cancellations, “Marvel’s Agent Carter,” “The Muppets” and “Castle,” which was a part of the Monday evening schedule for eight seasons.

ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee was replaced by Channing Dungey in mid-February; Dungey recently told Indiewire that one of the biggest disrupters in the industry right now is that “studios are now more willing to allow ‘in-season stacking rights’ on series, which means every episode can be made available via video on demand -- allowing viewers to catch up.”

No doubt this influenced the decisions for the 2016-17 schedule.

On a call with reporters ahead of the big presentation, Dungey stated that ABC has “a really good story here that I’m excited to share.”

The new series coming to ABC include “Conviction,” “Speechless” and “Notorious.”


“Next season on FOX, we’ll have more original programming across our schedule than ever before,” proclaimed Chairmen and CEOS Dana Walden and Gray Newman in a new statement.

This is because several shows also hit the chopping block here, including “American Idol,” “The Grinder” and “Minority Report.”

The network is pursuing an event series strategy after successes earlier this year.

“We wanted to find another powerful serialized drama for the ‘Empire’ audience,” said Fox Entertainment president David Madden. “We were really eager to launch the next police/crime show for Fox. And we also wanted to develop a family comedy that fits the Fox brand … As it looks right now, we may just have achieved all three of those goals.”

FOX’s upcoming list of shows includes comedy “Making History,” drama “Shots Fired” and a new season of mid-aughts hit “Prison Break.”


CBS began by renewing DC Comics series “Supergirl” – but relocated the show to sister network The CW. “Supergirl” is a part of producer Greg Berlanti’s creative universe, which also includes “The Flash,” “Arrow” and “DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow.” Filming will likely move from the WB lot in Los Angeles to Vancouver.

Next season, the network is going big on comedy, reviving a large block of selected programming for Monday evenings.

Like ABC, CBS Entertainment also has a new president: Glenn Geller, who began his role in January.

“Our new series are more diverse this year than last year,” Geller stated, responding to some criticism. “We’re moving in the right direction.”

During the upfront presentation, CEO Les Moonves made the case for traditional television.

“Nothing compares to broadcast TV. You just can’t buy that,” Moonves said.

New shows for CBS include “Bull,” “The Great Indoors” and “Man with a Plan.”

Author: Brian Cameron


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