NBC, FOX, CBS, and The CW have announced that their upcoming live upfront presentations have been moved online in the wake of the coronavirus.
“We’ll miss Carnegie Hall and our agency dinners this year, but the health and safety of our clients and the ViacomCBS team comes first,” said Jo Ann Ross, President and Chief Advertising Revenue Officer, ViacomCBS Domestic Advertising Sales. “Our team has been planning for this possibility for weeks, and we have devised a digital showcase to unveil all of the premium content that we’re delivering throughout the company, from CBS Television Network and our robust cable portfolio across the Entertainment & Youth and Premium brands. We won’t miss a beat in engaging with clients around our unmatched offerings and solutions.”
“At this moment in time, we can embrace a new future that puts our audiences and our partners first,” said Linda Yaccarino, Chairman of Advertising & Partnerships, NBCUniversal. “This year’s Upfront Presentation will ensure everyone’s safety, while allowing us to give fans and marketers a preview of the upcoming season.”
“While we always look forward to seeing our brand and agency partners at the Beacon Theatre, the health and well-being of our clients, talent and colleagues is our top priority,” said Marianne Gambelli, president ad sales at Fox. “We are reimagining our presentation to engage our clients using a new format that will highlight the quality content the industry expects from Fox.”
“In light of recent developments and the current guidelines being set by health officials regarding COVID-19, The CW Network has decided to forego its traditional live upfront presentation scheduled for Thursday, May 14 at City Center Theater in New York, as we join the community’s efforts to ensure that everyone’s health and safety is our top priority,” The CW said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “As a result, we are currently exploring alternative and innovative ways of communicating The CW’s overall strategy, showcase our new and returning programming and present our upcoming fall schedule to advertisers, press, the industry and our fans. We will be sharing additional details as we move forward.”
Instead of the typical pomp and circumstance of upfronts, wherein network executive walk a room filled with advertisers through their fall lineups and parade their biggest and newest stars around for all to see, NBC, FOX, CBS, and The CW will instead opt for a video presentation. More details as to what that will entail and whether it’ll be publicly available should be made clear in the coming weeks.
It’s also likely that we’ll see ABC, FOX, and The CW opt out of their own live upfront presentations. Concerns over the coronavirus have caused a litany of cancellations and postponements in the entertainment industry, with movie releases being delayed, music and fan festivals being cancelled, and shows that film in front of a live audience opting to go on without them. In the sports world, the regular seasons of the NBA, NHL, and MLS are all postponed, while the NCAA basketball conference tournaments have been cancelled.
As of now, upfronts week remains the week of May 11th, with NBC releasing their schedule on May 10th before having their digital upfront the 11th. FOX is set to have its own upfronts the afternoon of the 11th, while ABC, CBS, and The CW will go on in successive days.
For more information on coronavirus, head to the CDC’s website.