NBCUniversal put on a big show at their upfront presentation this morning as it paraded a stream of stars for advertisers including Seth Meyers, Megyn Kelly, Jennifer Hudson, the stars of Will & Grace, and more. Energy was high at the event as the network came off a big year with breakout hit This Is Us and snagging Megyn Kelly from Fox News.
Last spring, Kelly took the stage at Fox’s upfronts to promote her primetime special, but now on a rival network, Kelly was joined by Lester Holt, Matt Lauer, and Savannah Guthrie, to highlight the updated NBC news team. Though Kelly never mentioned her former employers, her statements of how excited she was to be at NBC must’ve stung for Fox as she said she’s be doing “the kinds of broadcasts I always dreamed of being able to do.”
The peacock network is also very excited to have Will & Grace back on the schedule as well, as star Debra Messing noted via video that she was nervous to return before launching into a song and dance with everyone else from the show live on stage with a full orchestra. With Will & Grace and This Is Us bookending the Thursday night line-up (with Tina Fey-produced Great News sandwiched between), NBC hailed the return of “Must See TV”. The network repeatedly brought up the beloved This Is Us throughout the event, basking in its success last year.
The event’s energy dipped only when it was time to crunch numbers and ad sales chief Linda Yaccarino targeted the recent controversy surrounding YouTube boycott, where Google and Facebooks ads ran on extremist content. Yaccarino promised “brand safety” adding ” you never have to worry about your own ad showing up next to something objectionable. but let’s be honest, promising brand safety is a really low bar and some companies can’t even do that.” She went on to say the company will guarantee #1 billion of its $10 billion inventory on “real business outcomes,” present NBCUniversal as an entity that is will to hold itself accountable.
Seth Meyers finished out the presentation mocking the upfronts, saying they are the “definition of fake news.” He also poked fun at former Today Show host Billy Bush, Steve Harvey, and naturally, President Trump. With the biggest show of the past year, a late night host who is working hard to catch the ire of the president every night, Must See TV, the Olympics, and, of course, Megyn Kelly, NBC was feeling very good about itself today and it’s likely that advertisers are too.
Emily J | TV Editor