Ad executives and media buyers are used to being wined and dined -- and even mingling with the talent (ie, stars of popular TV shows) during network upfront sales presentations. But the celebrity mingling part normally is relegated to chitchat and photo ops after presentation cocktail parties. AMC broke form this year, transforming its upfront pitch into a sit-down dinner with the stars of its most popular shows each holding court -- and breaking bread -- with advertisers and buyers seated at their tables.
“No one knew what awaited when the curtain was pulled back to reveal the dining room,” recalls AMC Networks President-National Advertising Sales Arlene Manos, referring to the curtain behind the official presentation, which was eventually lifted to reveal a posh dining room set-up with stars sitting at each table.
“They knew they would be fed,” she continues, adding, “but unless there were leaks, nothing about the talent, etc. It was a big surprise, and the room was stunning. The event was grand, but intimate -- lots of talent, but very comfortable atmosphere. Almost like they were in your own home for dinner.”Stars seated among ten people at each of the 60-table dining room included the entire cast of “Mad Men” (Jon Hamm pictured right with Horizon's Robert Friedman and Kate Monaghan), and many of the cast of “The Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad,” as well as upcoming series “Turn” and “LA Kiss.”