Upfronts: Popcorn, Bowling and Apple Watches, Oh My!

As a self-proclaimed TV junkie, I could not have been more excited when I found out that I would be going to Fox and ABC’s upfront presentations. Not only was I going to get the first look into what some prominent broadcast networks had in store for viewers in the upcoming year, but I would be able to walk away with some valuable insight for advertisers who are looking to place their brand in front of millions of viewers every night of the week.

Fox streamed their upfront presentation in Chicago at the AMC movie theater in River North followed by a reception at Lucky Strike. I was pleasantly surprised to be treated to popcorn and a fountain beverage during the presentation, which proved to be almost as entertaining as anything else you’d watch at a movie theater. From the Grease Live performance to the bowling and delectable buffet, Fox nailed their opportunity to woo their media buyers in Chicago. Fox announced that with its fallen ratings in recent years, American Idol will come to an end with the conclusion of its 15th season in 2016. Although the American Idol’s fan base will be hard to beat, advertisers can look to airtime during Fox’s hit show, “Empire,” which, according to Advertising Age, averaged 13 million viewers during its first season, with viewership increasing by 78% from the show’s premiere to the finale. “Empire” combined with the premiere of “Scream Queens” and return of “The X-Files” – not to mention new sitcoms starring heart-throbs, John Stamos and Rob Lowe – will provide ample opportunity for airtime within widely anticipated shows.

ABC, on the other hand, took another route in their attempt to win over advertisers. With about half of their schedule remaining as is, the network pitched a solid balance of new shows and security in the schedule surrounding some of its top rated shows, like “The Bachelor,” “Black-ish,” “Dancing With the Stars,” as well as its #TGIT line-up consisting of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder.” To fill in the wiggle room on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, ABC discussed the return of “The Muppets” in a sort of “reality” sitcom and a modern day “Uncle Buck,” as well as the largely awaited premieres of “Quantico,” “The Catch,” “Of Kings and Prophets,” “Wicked City,” and “Oil,” along with sitcoms “Dr. Ken” and “The Real O’Neals.” As if the content of the presentation wasn’t enough, ABC kicked off the upfront with a hysterical clip featuring characters from many of its hit shows telling advertisers “how to win with ABC,” and then wrapped it up with the one and only, Jimmy Kimmel, who effortlessly cracked up everyone in the audience, and granted us with the appearance of his adorable daughter telling us not to buy ABC for ABC- do it for her, her generation. Talk about pulling at the heartstrings! And just when I thought it was time to go home, they drew business cards for a few Apple Watch winners and started handing out cookies. Needless to say, ABC knows how it’s done. This upcoming season, media buyers can hopefully look forward to consistent ratings and stunning new characters that can relate to the masses like never before.

Although I haven’t mentioned each and every nuance to expect in the 2015-2016 season, I’m sure you get the idea. This TV junkie is already looking forward to the upfronts in 2016!