Here’s something you haven’t heard from NBC in a while: confidence.
In an upfront presentation laced with bragodoccio, the Peacock touted its first-place ranking in the audience demographic most coveted by advertisers, people between the ages of 18 and 49 – and never let it go. “We’re number one. You’ve heard it a number of times,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment. “You’re going to hear it a lot more.”
The show started with a montage of clips set to the Lady Gaga tune “Applause.”
Execs touted the performance of everything from “The Voice” to “The Bkacklist” to “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”
The program marked a distinct turnaround in attitude from previous upfront presentations, when NBC executives used humility to temper advertiser expectations as the network contended with sustained ratings swoons. In the upfront show for NBC’s 2012-2013 season, executives urged advertisers to consider audience testing for “Animal Practice,” a sitcom with a monkey at its center.
Not so in 2014. The Peacock trotted out Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Fred Armisen and a video of James Spader in full”Blacklist” form narrating the murders of several prominent media buyers. NBCU ad-sales chief Linda Yaccarino even seized the opportunity to cajole sponsors to consider buying ad time on the parent company’s cable outlets.
Audiences seemed to react most strongly to previews of “State of Affairs,” a new drama starring Katherine Heigl and Alfre Woodard as a CIA analyst and the U.S. President, respectively; “A to Z,” a meet-cute sitcom; and “Marry Me,” a sitcom slated for Tuesdays featuring members of the team that created ABC’s “Happy Endings.” Response was somewhat more tepid for “Constantine,” the Friday-night drama based on the grizzled DC Comics character.