Far be it from Les Moonves to miss a chance to preen onstage. So CBS is ignoring the writers strike-related delay of pilot season and announced today that it’s going ahead with its May 14th upfront presentation of its Fall 2008-2009 schedule to advertisers, like always. ABC and the CW today also joined Fox in sticking with the traditional upfront presentations, leaving NBC as odd man out. CBS takes over NYC’s Carnegie Hall on May 14th. ABC said it will hold its upfront presentation May 13th at Lincoln Center. Fox announced its presentation May 15th at the New York City Center. And the CW shows on May 15 at Madison Square Garden.
NBC’s decision follows Jeff Zucker’s recent keynote speech at NATPE claiming the writers strike’s most lasting legacy will likely be the way it finally pushed the broadcast networks to reinvent their businesses by destroying pilot season (with NBC Entertainment placing most of its orders direct to series) and eliminating a formal upfront presentation (with NBCU executives instead visiting all major advertising agencies personally). The NBC Universal chief derided the traditional big show every May as “a vestige of the last decade”. Of course, Zucker also hedged that he still might do the presentation which helps networks sell $9 billion in ad time annually.