Network TV, Linear Cable Get Some TLC At Upfronts

Broadcast and linear cable TV were not forgotten at the Upfronts this week.

As predicted, streaming took center stage at the majors, showcased up front at the Upfronts.

But network TV and cable got a boost too, most notably at the NBCU Upfront Monday morning at Radio City Music Hall.

The message was delivered by the stars of two of NBC’s new fall shows: Shared, same-time viewing of scheduled TV shows still has value for advertisers 

“There is no replacement for broadcast,” said Wendi McLendon-Covey (above photo, right), star of the new one-camera comedy, “St. Denis Medical.” 



“It has been where so many cultural touchstones have been made. People still stop me on the street to ask for my long-time character Beverly Goldberg’s shrimp parm recipe,” she said, referring to her starring role on “The Goldbergs.”

“That’s funny,” said Zachary Quinto (above photo, middle left), “because after playing the superpowered serial killer for so long on ‘Heroes,’ [2006-10] people on the streets seem to still think twice about stopping me. 

“These shows are just two examples of the connection that’s made when people watch collectively at the same time,” Quinto said. 

“Just as it did when I was last here, NBC continues to have the power to harness those shared viewing experiences,” said Quinto, who stars in NBC’s new fall drama, “Brilliant Minds.”

It has been a while since the TV Blog has heard the virtues of collective, shared, linear viewing being extolled at the Upfronts, other than in reference to high-profile sports.

In terms of its position in the NBCU Upfront lineup, the appearance of the new NBC stars was second only to a segment devoted to introducing a handful of new shows for Peacock.

At the Warner Bros. Discovery Upfront on Wednesday morning, the overarching theme was streaming.

WBD’s Max was at the center of the presentation’s first segment. Casey Bloys, Chairman and CEO of HBO and Max Content, positioned the all-inclusive streamer as a kind of vortex into which all of the company’s content is drawn.

“Our creative teams across the company are delivering bold, daring, in-demand content that consumers want,” he said. “All of it ultimately finds a home on Max.”

But later in the presentation, Kathleen Finch, chairman and CEO of WBD’s US Networks, pushed the benefits of WBD’s linear cable portfolio, from Adult Swim to TLC.

“Adult Swim is a powerhouse in delivering the elusive Gen Z viewer, and is the No. 1 network for time spent viewing among adults 18-34,” Finch said. “Yep, that demo, watching cable.”

“Our incredible entertainment networks are home to an ever-expanding world of franchises,” she said, most notably the “90-Day Fiancé” universe on TLC that now numbers eight shows.

“ ‘90-Day Fiancé’ is a great example,” she said. “It is truly a worldwide phenomenon appearing in 216 territories, being watched in 44 languages, entertaining nearly 50 million unique viewers in 2023, and generating multiple spinoffs.”

“The ‘90-Day’ universe and other addictive shows like ‘Sister Wives’ and ‘My Big Fat Fabulous Life’ have made TLC the top cable network for women in prime time, out-delivering even Bravo for 20 consecutive quarters.

“We remain believers in the power of linear,” Finch said.

Also in the above photo: Isabella Castillo and Danilo Carrera, stars of Telemundo’s telenovela, “Sed de Venganza” (“Thirst for Revenge”).

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