Let's begin with one unfinished piece of business from last week. We promised you coverage of A&E Networks' upfront at Lincoln Center. We didn't deliver. Because A&E wanted to get every last agency, media planner and advertiser rep under their LC tent, due to higher-than-anticipated interest, our and other press passes were converted into tickets for people on standby. Despite whoever on A&E high ordered the switch, company public relations officials were extremely apologetic. No press release issued before or after the event, so I'll assume there were few new programming announcements made inside that tent.
Now here's a quick roundup of questions I have over this week's marathon of upfront presentations, between Monday morning and Thursday night.
*Is broadcast TV adopting the cable model of running two or more original primetime series in the same time slot over the season (one fall-winter/another winter-into-spring)? Early affirmative thoughts from NBC programmer Robert Greenblatt on a conference call Sunday afternoon suggest so.
*Will any canceled 2011-12 series find a second chance on cable, just as Cougar Town did last week with TBS?
*Will diversity show up, and if so, what degree? Not one new scripted series on CBS, NBC, Fox and The CW had a lead actor of color, few had supporting actors and production talent of color. With 40 percent of people in this nation people of color, will things get better or worse for diversity among new series on broadcast network TV?
*Will any of the Spanish-language TV networks step to the place with original weekly scripted series with U.S.-based talent calling the shots? Will telenovelas take some creative risks to expand their audience appeal, and go beyond the people from different sides of the tracks fall in love formula? When will Warner Bros., CBS, Disney/ABC, Lionsgate, etc., plus top Latino producers, step in and create Spanish-language scripted TV?
*Who gets a memorable quip from Jimmy Kimmel at ABC's Tuesday affair?
*Will any of the combo broadcast/cable multicast channels created in the last few years (Bounce TV, The Country Network, Cool Music, LATV, This TV, etc.) make a big push for upfront dollars?
*What's in USA's development pipeline, and how much of that will we see at its first-ever same week as the broadcast nets presentation Thursday afternoon?
*Will NBC Universal-owned Telemundo finally carry the Olympics in primetime this summer in London?
*Where's M-Net, the major Asian-American TV channel now in business for 18 months? Why haven't they made an upfront pitch, or being public about their current/future programming plans? If they don't surface this week, will they surface next week at The Cable Show in Boston?
*Why did Internet Week move its annual New York from a great early June placement to this week, smack against upfronts? How many TV industry and advertising people will grumble about this shift, because IW events they would have visited if this fest remained in early June will not get their attendance now?
Please stand by for answers, if someone will offer them.
Until the next time, stay well and stay tuned!
Simon Applebaum is producer/host of Tomorrow Will Be Televised, the weekly Internet-distributed radio program covering the TV scene. Simon cal be reached at email@example.com.
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