Following the same path of other broadcast networks, the CW plans to resume its annual in-person upfront event in May.
The network’s pitch to media buyers will be held on the morning of Thursday, May 19, in its usual slot at the end of the week of presentations and parties. The venue will once again be the New York City Center Theater in midtown Manhattan.
Upfronts and NewFronts are returning to their traditional mode after two years of online-only pitches to advertisers due to Covid. ViacomCBS and NBCUniversal are joining the CW in returning to their longtime venues, while Fox has announced a move downtown from the Beacon Theatre. Disney, which has recently bundled together ABC, ESPN and its other streaming and network elements in a single presentation, is said to be re-examining the Lincoln Center home for the ritual.
The other element of the CW’s annual upfront tradition is still under wraps — the musical act performing Thursday morning during the main upfront presentation. Given the younger audience for its programming, the network’s parties have often generated buzz with performances by the likes of Katy Perry and the Jonas Brothers over the years.
The upfront news comes as the CW’s co-owners, ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia, are discussing a potential sale of a majority stake in the network. Nexstar Media Group, which owns the largest collection of CW affiliates, has surfaced as one potential buyer.
In a memo to employees earlier this month, CW Chairman and CEO Mark Pedowitz acknowledged the talks, but said it is “too early to speculate what might happen.” He noted that “this transformative time in our industry has led to a series of business activity across media and content companies.” As such, he added, “ViacomCBS and Warner Bros are exploring strategic opportunities to optimize the value of their joint venture in The CW Network.”
The CW officially launched in 2007.
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