*With the most upfront events packed into one mid-May week ever, some presentations had the misfortune to draw a lesser amount of general press coverage. Three of them were multi-net Latino-targeted affairs, all staged at classy locations: Fox Hispanic Media (Fox Deportes/Utilisima/National Geographic Mundo launching July 1) at the New York Public Library; Discovery U.S. Hispanic Group (Discovery en Espanol/Discovery Familia) from the Four Seasons restaurant, and Vme (Vme/Vme Kids) inside the Samsung Experience portion of Time Warner Center. Attendance among advertisers at this trio of showcases was strong, despite Discovery and Vme overlapping with TBS/TNT and The CW's face time respectively. Advice on overlap avoidance next year, grabbing more attention in the bargain: hold these events a week or two early, or use big upfront week Friday, which isn't big now because no one uses it.
*Fast-rising Latino channel Estrella TV, entering the upfront event scene this year with a schedule of U.S. produced content, was uber-upfront week's big loser in the attention-drawing department. Not only did Estrella stage its Gotham Hall lunch against post-TBS/TNT press meal in the same neighborhood, the network had no mechanism in place to alert reporters they were doing an event. Double strike-out for a service worth monitoring. Incidentally, staying a partial paragraph longer with Turner-managed services, why isn't Adult Swim encouraging more press turnout at its evening upfront week deal? Notice the lack of coverage for their new fall series, again compared to TBS/TNT.
*Now we know History Channel's romance with made-for miniseries didn't break up with The Kennedys fiasco. The network green lighted two minis last week within 24 hours of each other. Both The Hatfields & The McCoys, starring Kevin Costner (also on board as co-executive producer) and The Bible (Mark Burnett leading the production team). So much for the buzz that History's view of history lately begins and ends with series like Pawn Stars or Ice Road Truckers. And Emmy organizers, want to rethink your action of combining the miniseries and original movie categories?
*Meanwhile, still waiting for History, or someone else, to launch a first-class history anthology drama series. As noted in a previous column, it's the one programming genre chomping at the bit for some creative talent to give it life.
*Pays to be opportunistic: ReelzChannel follows up its gambit of running The Kennedys after History unplugged its production with a drama series development agreement with producer Asylum Entertainment. They get one series on the air by early 2013 and a long-term relationship with executive producer Joel Surnow and his 21 colleagues.
*In the midst of a big TV week featuring the daytime departure of Oprah Winfrey and season finales of American Idol and Dancing With The Stars, guess what? A new network launched. Boxing, mixed martial arts and similar sports have a channel all their own in FightNow TV, initially available on Cablevision Systems' digital sports tiers in the New York area. So much for the chatter that independently-owned networks are an endangered lot. Remember, Comcast will launch at least 10 of them on their systems in the years ahead.
*In the spirit of recent Ed Martin columns about worthy Emmy nominees, let's do what we can to get Treme the nominations this amazing drama deserves, including one for Khandi Alexander's performance. Also, let's encourage the Emmy overseers to put Dancing With The Stars in the variety, not reality series, category, so that director Alex Rudniski (the best live TV director working right now) can get a way overdue nomination. Just watch what he did with the performance of 17-year-old ballet dancer Patricia Zhou this past season, and you'll root for his nomination as much as I do.
Until the next time, stay well and stay tuned!
Simon Applebaum is host/producer of Tomorrow Will Be Televised, the Internet radio/podcast-distributed program about the TV scene. The program runs live Mondays/Fridays at 3 p.m. Eastern time, noon Pacific time, over www.blogtalkradio.com. Replays available 24/7 at www.blogtalkradio.com/simonapple04, and podcasts available off ITunes.com and other Web sites arranged by Sonibyte. Have a question or reaction? E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org
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