The 2013-14 Upfront

This Is What We Saw at the TV Upfronts This Year

And here's what it looked like

Given heavy cross-promotion on ESPN, it’s hard to imagine Joss Whedon’s Avengers spin-off, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., won’t prove to be a monster hit. “As a viewer, I’m excited to be able to get into the Marvel universe every week,” Everist said. “Does it make sense for all my clients? Probably not … But if they scheduled it on Thursday nights, I bet it would soak up all the movie dollars.”

ABC perhaps has made the largest investment in new programming, slating eight fall premieres (four dramas, four comedies) and rebuilding Tuesdays from the ground up. S.H.I.E.L.D. leads off at 8 p.m., followed by freshmen comedies The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife and the lottery drama Lucky 7.

Not everyone believes it’s a sound strategy to run an entirely new night without a single established anchor. “As we know, that almost always works,” snarked CBS scheduler Kelly Kahl. But ABC didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. The 8 p.m. slot this season has been inhabited by everything from Dancing With the Stars to the show about celebrities and diving boards (Splash), while lead-outs Happy Endings, Don’t Trust the B---- in Apt. 23 and Private Practice are all no more.

Per Barclays, ABC’s strength among female viewers could earn it a bit of a volume bump, raising a projected $2.58 billion in upfront revenue.

The CW
The CW’s original programming is so seamlessly designed with its core demos in mind (women 18-34, adults 18-34) that it often seems as if the pilots were whipped up in a laboratory. Unfortunately, as appealing a target as those young viewers may be, it does the network very little good if its deliveries to mobile devices aren’t being credited.

“Younger audiences are clearly consuming video across all screens … And that is going to change how we do what we do forever—it already has, really,” said Kris Magel, evp, director of national broadcast at Initiative. “This is actually good for advertisers … Because when people watch on-demand, they have specifically set aside that time to view the program. They are less distracted. And they notice and pay more attention to commercials.”

Buyers reacted most strongly to the costume drama Reign and the midseason sci-fi thriller The 100, but the promo for the upcoming Romeo & Juliet/District 9 mashup Star-Crossed drew a fair amount of chuckles from the crowd—unfortunate, given that it’s an angsty teen-alien drama.

The CW last year booked some $410 million in advance sales. Analysts said it’s unlikely the network will surpass that haul this time around, although if it can get better rates for its digital properties, an uptick is not out of the question.

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