In Depth

NBC Turns to Conan, Leno for Upfront

NBC is betting laughter is the best medicine when it comes to beating the upfront blues.

Since the network once again is skipping a traditional upfront week presentation to advertisers, it's decided to assemble its top comedic talent—including Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno—for an exclusive showcase to be held in New York the evening of Tuesday, May 19.

The event will take place at Town Hall and is expected to start around 9 p.m., well after ABC's official upfront presentation wraps.

Another major comedian could also help NBC woo advertisers this spring. The network has been talking to Jerry Seinfeld about either appearing or performing for ad buyers sometime in May.

Among the several possibilities: Mr. Seinfeld might take part in NBC's so-called "InFront" presentation scheduled for May 4 in New York. That's when the network will reveal which new and returning shows it's picking up for next season, while also showing clips from its new series.

Mr. Seinfeld is executive producing a new reality show for NBC scheduled to air next season.

As for the May 19 evening party, Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Leno will be joined onstage by Jimmy Fallon, Rainn Wilson ("The Office"), Seth Meyers ("Saturday Night Live") and the Roots. There will also be taped appearances by cast members of "The Office" and "30 Rock."

The comedy event takes the place of last May's "NBC Experience," an interactive party NBC threw the week of upfronts that replaced the traditional schedule unveiling.

NBC began its upfront courtship of the advertising community early this year with a Super Bowl-pegged party it called the "SuperFront."

(Editor: Baumann)