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Monday, Aug 15, 2022

After Upfronts, TV Biz Back to Work

The TV biz wrapped up its “very different” (as execs noted at every opportunity) upfront week on Thursday, Variety reports.

But network and studio executives were headed not for vacation but back home to a busy schedule and plenty of work. Many pilots and series are still in production as a hedge against a possible actors strike this summer.

Despite the doom and gloom that has enveloped the primetime biz since it was turned upside down by the writers strike, execs are leaving Gotham this week with renewed hope that broadcasters will stem the post-strike trend of declining ratings and will be able to re-engage viewers. Maybe it was just the seductive influence of all those sizzle reels, but execs say they’re up for the challenge.

“There are two instinctive reactions: fight or flight. We’re going to fight,” said Fox Broadcasting Co. topper Peter Liguori. “We refuse to let broadcast TV shrink. We’re going to take bold moves to offset that.”

The limited number of new shows added by ABC, CBS and Fox to their fall skeds was a sign that each of those nets has bench strength. NBC, on the other hand, is in the midst of a reconstruction, which surely influenced the Peacock’s decision to mount the “NBC Universal Experience” event highlighting the overall company rather than spotlighting the broadcast web per se.

Overall, there’s a sense that the industry is breathing a collective sigh of relief. Despite fewer pilots to show off and fewer new shows on the skeds, the broadcast webs made it through upfront week without much squawking from media buyers, and that’s assuaged concerns about the sky falling in on the 2008-09 season because of the disruption to pilot season.

Read the full Variety story



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