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The Foote Files: The Network Upfronts

By Ken Foote, CBSDFW.COM

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Remember the 1969 movie “If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium” with Suzanne Pleshette? Well, if it’s May, then it’s SHOWTIME for the networks!

Every year in May, the over the air networks and many cable networks put on, as Ed Sullivan would say, “a reallllllly big show!!” We call it the “upfront presentation” that showcases the new fall primetime season.

During this meeting, usually held in a performance hall, the top executives of the networks from management, sales and entertainment make a formal presentation to their advertisers, affiliates, programming suppliers and the press about their new fall lineup. When these meetings were first started, they were fairly low-key. But that’s not the case in today’s television world of glitz and glamour. Network television upfront presentations are major corporate events that are planned very carefully and taken very seriously, while at the same time having some fun talking about the new fall schedule and programming. It is also a time where the networks can entertain their advertisers to get them excited and enthused about the new season as well when it comes to the buying and selling of advertising time on the network.

The CBS Television Network is considered to be the most successful over the air television network ever known to mankind in broadcasting history. After the end of World War II, CBS was well along its way in executing its plan to enter the television business after having been primarily a radio network company since 1927 and having entered the music business with the acquisition of Columbia Records in 1937. Frank Stanton, who served as president of CBS from 1945 until 1971 and then vice chairman until 1973, was the man who convinced CBS chairman William S. Paley to make the move to television. The network has been the home for so many wonderful shows over the years, too many to count in this blog. And no doubt that when the fall 2012 primetime schedule is announced this month, you will know why CBS is America’s Most Watched Network.

See you soon.

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