Nine stars were on show yesterday for the network’s biggest Upfronts event yet.
Stretching for nearly 4hrs at the Star Event -not counting post show drinks- the marathon event led by CEO Hugh Marks and execs including Adrian Swift, Amanda Laing, Tom Malone, Alex Parsons, and personalities including Hamish & Andy, Peter Overton, Ross Greenwood, Richard Wilkins, Lisa Wilkinson, Rhys Muldoon, Sylvia Jeffreys and more.
There was a Live cross to Karl Stefanovic, Laurie Oakes and Robert Penfold in the USA, drone shots from outside the Star, a cross to Delta Goodrem in Perth, and headlines from Peter Overton back at Nine (having previously been on stage before guests).
Showreels were interspersed between showcases of Nine News, Sport, the launch of 9Honey portal for women, and lengthy chats with Tracy Grimshaw, Liz Hayes, Julia Morris, Rodger Corser, Mandy McElhinney, Peter Stefanovic, Rebecca Maddern, Shane Warne, Liz Ellis, Shane Brennan plus Block and Married and First Sight cast members.
The theme of the day was that “Nine is back” after an uneven performance this year. CEO Hugh Marks acknowledged the network needs a better first quarter in 2017 -expect an expanded Married at First Sight to underpin its early schedule and there is speculation House of Bond will be an early drama offering (yet to be confirmed).
Despite the lunch and mid-arvo break it was a testing event for the huge crowd (there were a lot of phones being checked throughout proceedings). Amongst the more amusing moments: Laurie Oakes joking about what he might (not) be wearing underneath the desk; a deflated audience struggling to wish Delta a happy birthday; Mandy McElhinney again having to be asked about Katut; an unscripted blue joke from Rhys Muldoon; and a video screen behind Karl & Laurie Oakes in NYC plugging Grey’s Anatomy and Agents of SHIELD (oops!).
The Today show also declared it had won “5 capital cities.” Got it.
Length notwithstanding, Nine’s was the most showy, star-studded Upfronts so far this year, indicative of the message it wants to send to market.