George Schweitzer's position as chief marketing officer at CBS gives him a unique opportunity not only to observe but also to help shape the ways technology is altering the television industry. A communications major at Boston University who joined CBS after graduation some 30 years ago, George is also an unabashed technology geek who specializes in the latest home automation and entertainment gear.
Recently, those in the television and advertising communities celebrated the "upfronts." For anyone unfamiliar with the term, it refers to the third week of May each year when the television networks host massive presentations in New York City to introduce their new shows and fall schedules to the advertising community.
Upfront presentations are so named because they kick off the upfront buying season, when advertisers can buy commercial time in advance for the new season, negotiating for the shows and the rates.
Just as geeks and analysts hold their breath to see what amazing new devices will be revealed at the next big Apple event, the TV and ad communities look forward to the upfronts with great anticipation. These grand-scale, red-carpet events are coming-out parties for television's newest shows and stars. You never know which program could break out to become the next "CSI." Upfronts are a time of adventure and possibility when we gather to celebrate entertainment, culture, and the business itself.
Producing an upfront presentation is akin to putting on a Broadway show...that only has one performance! Countless elements go into the production, from writing the script to producing sets and music to creating graphics and videos to directing talent and managing the event. Pulling off a tight, entertaining, live show for a media savvy crowd of 3,000 clients and partners is no simple task. These days the crowd is also full of bloggers, Tweeters, and texters giving minute-to-minute reviews. But this is the entertainment business, after all: it's what we do, and it's what we love.
This year, there was an amazing amount of star power in the room with us at Carnegie Hall, where the CBS Upfront has been held for more than a decade. We flew in dozens of talent, some from our established hits and others from our five new shows. Having the actors on hand adds to the excitement and fun, especially during moments like the one pictured here, when Sheldon Cooper of "The Big Bang Theory" sneaked onto the stage to deliver an OCD hug to his idol, Captain Kirk.
After the presentation, our stars and guests headed over to Lincoln Center. Paparazzi snapped shots on the red carpet, and clients posed with CBS talent. The room was overflowing with happy ad clients, beloved TV stars, food, drink, and a shared love of the television business. What a world.
And there's no rest for the weary. With the advertisers briefed on what to expect in the fall, it's time to take our message out to the true decision-makers: TV viewers. We'll once again be pulling out all the stops to make sure people are aware of CBS' shows and that they come to check us out in September.
In the meantime, have a look for yourself at our five new shows. Enjoy!