The Upfront View From Los Angeles

May 21, 2009  •  Post A Comment

In this recessionary times, more than a few folks have opted against making the shlep to New York for the upfronts this year.
Dawn Ostroff
Thankfully, modern technology means you don’t have to actually be in New York to get the Upfront Experience. Most of the networks do a decent job of holding mini-fronts in Los Angeles for ad buyers left behind.
Take The CW. It invited West Coast types to the Directors Guild of America theater this afternoon to get the full Ostroff.
The Dub (as Variety is now fond of calling it, forsaking the much classier C-Dub) did a bang-up job with its event.

There were appropriately young (and likely underpaid) CW interns outside both the parking garage entrance and the DGA building to ensure no confusion. Fellow bloggers agreed the network’s pre-game lunch selection was the best of the week: It featured paninis with carved-from-the-bone turkey and grilled balsamic onions; a selection of high-class salads; fresh-brewed iced tea with sprigs of mint; and a selection of desserts designed to send the average CW star into a panic attack calculating the massive carb levels involved.
Oh, and Lori Loughlin from “90210” was there, too.
Seats inside the DGA theater were very comfortable, and the screen was massive. So massive you could almost feel the rush of air every time Ostroff swiped her magic board (a CNN-style gimmick that produced many, many unintentional laughs from the young ad buyers gathered).
The CW even remembered to import its new season marketing message banners touting the fact that it knows what Twitter is.
Overall, The CW did an excellent job making sure the Honda Civic-driving young’uns left in L.A. got a really good upfront experience. Only miscue: No alcohol at the bar. But hey, we’re in the middle of the Great Recession, so that’s understandable.
I missed CBS’ L.A. upfront earlier in the week and had to make do with the spotty CBS media player’s webcast stream. Reports from other bloggers: The Eye network did OK, with a nice food spread and good audiovisual.
Fox returned to the Highlands at Hollywood & Highland. Its presentation offered a Wolfgang Puck-catered spread that featured twice-baked sweet potatoes (nice!) and very tender short ribs. It all screamed, “We’re No. 1, and we can afford to give you a nice hot meal. Buy some ads.”
Points deducted, though, for the incredibly uncomfortable wooden seats some of us were forced to sit in, a miscue already noted by Variety’s BLTV blog.
NBC skipped the upfront, and sadly didn’t offer an L.A. simulcast of its comedy night done kinda right. Probably a good call, since watching comedy via satellite would be odd.
The network did make a WiFi-ready conference room available for reporters to watch a feed of its May 4 infront presentation. Both donuts and bagels were offered.

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