Network Chiefs Say Upfront Going, Going...
Mel Karmazin, president of CBS parent company Viacom, reportedly said at Viacom's annual meeting Wednesday morning that he thinks the upfront will be finished by next Friday. His optimistic prediction matched the beliefs of other networks before the upfront began and now in its midst that could go past the $8 billion mark.
NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker declined to comment on Karmazin's prediction but said that things looked good for his network. No one talked CPM increases either.
"We're very, very, very optimistic and we think by the end of this week and next it will be done," Zucker told reporters during Wednesday afternoon's end-of-season conference call from Los Angeles.
Fox said it was looking at an "extremely profitable" season this year and felt the financial picture would be even better next year. Fox Entertainment Chairman Sandy Grushow said last Thursday evening was the most successful upfront presentation in the network's 16-year history with "incredibly positive" feedback. He said Fox stood to generate significantly more revenue in the upfront than any other in its history with volume increases of upwards of 20%.
Grushow, too, said there's no question about the speed of the broadcast networks' upfronts.
"I'm not sure that it won't be done even sooner than that [two weeks]," Grushow said. "This has moved very, very quickly."
That sentiment was echoed by ABC Chairman Lloyd Braun, though without specifics. "It's going awfully quickly. The demand is incredible and I promised our sales department and [President, ABC Sales and Marketing] Mike Shaw that I wouldn't get into any of it. It's beyond any of our highest expectations," Braun said.