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JHRTS Recap: Behind the Upfronts

JHRTS Behind the Upfronts panel shotOn Thursday February 3rd at the WME theater, JHRTS hosted a panel for members only to provide an in depth behind-the-scenes look at Upfronts, the most mysterious yet important week in television. Jonathan Davis (SVP Comedy Development, 20th Century Fox Television) sat down with Suzanne Cole (EVP Media, Marketing Universal Pictures), Ari Greeburg (TV Lit Agent, WME), Jeff Bader (EVP Scheduling ABC) Stephanie Savage (EP Gossip Girl) and Bryan Seabury (VP Drama Development, CBS) to discuss Upfronts: the events that lead up to it, and what happens while there. The panel was organized by JHRTS board members, Maia Hollinger and Ryan Draizin. Upfronts remain elusive to most assistants who are forced to stay back, while their bosses head to NYC to determine the fall schedule.

JHRTS members got an in depth look into the way Upfronts function and how it serves as an epicenter for the collision of art and commerce. Suzanne Cole talked about how advertisers care about ratings no matter if shows are on broadcast or cable. Ari Greenburg spoke about the uncertainty during the week, when shows will be picked-up one day and dropped the next. Stephanie Savage spoke about the confusion of information when someone told her Ryan Seacrest had said on air that GOSSIP GIRL wasn't getting picked up. Bryan Seabury spoke about how sometimes good projects for needed timeslots may not be getting the attention it deserves but at the same time the scheduling executives think creative executives are too close to the pilots they've birthed over the past year. Jeff Bader said that the process is horrible for the town since hundreds of scripts become dozens of pilots which become only a handful of shows, angering a large number of people. With Upfronts serving as the climax of the television development season, even during this current pilot season all across town people are holding their breath because they know nothing's guaranteed until the trip to New York City.

Ari Greenburg and Bryan Seabury

Behind the Upfronts. JHRTS panel event at the WME Screening Room

Ryan Draizin, Jeff Bader, Bryan Seabury, Jonathan Davis, Stephanie Savage, Suzanne Cole, Maia Hollinger

See more pictures from this and other JHRTS events here.

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