Networks put on big ‘shows of shows’ for upfronts


Over at the peacock, NBCUniversal took over the iconic Radio City Music Hall, which sits within the Rockefeller Center complex that the network is based in.

NBCUniversal billed its upfront as a “Programming Preview” for the main NBC network, while also differentiating between cable entertainment and Telemundo, both of which used the standard “upfront” name.

NBC’s stage inside of Radio City Music Hall featured a large video panel in the center of the stage capped with three panels suspended from the ceiling. Flanking the stage were smaller LED segments as well as two suspended panels. One image featured Rockefeller Center including an overlay of concentric rings that echoed the iconic arched proscenium in the auditorium. Photo by Charles Sykes, NBCUniversal

Rockefeller Center’s exterior, in a 3D style similar to the ‘NBC Nightly News’ open, was also shown against a dramatically lit sky. The presentation also used lighting to create striking ‘beams’ of lighting and to illuminate the texture of the auditorium’s ceiling.

The upfront also included a recreation of Studio 8H, home of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ which, in turn, was used for a skit with Kenan Thompson as Steve Harvey recreating ‘Family Feud.’ The main video wall was used to show imagery of the real 8H, while backgrounds were wheeled out behind the ‘contestants.’ Also included were Kyle Mooney as Chuck Todd, Kate McKinnon as Mika Brzezinski, Alex Moffat as Joe Scarborough, Melissa Villaseñor as Jennifer Lopez, Pete Davidson as Rami Malek and Chris Redd as Sterling K. Brown. Photo by Charles Sykes, NBCUniversal


Olympians Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Tara Lipinski, Kerri Strug, Missy Franklin, Tatyana McFadden, Lindsey Vonn, Allyson Felix, Kikkan Randall, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Nastia Liukin, Sarah Hughes, Natalie Coughlin and Mary Lou Retton also appeared on stage for an Olympics themed portion of the event, including patriotic animations in the ceiling and stage video panels and red, white and blue spotlights around the arch. NBCUniversal will carry coverage of the 2020 games in Tokyo across its networks. Photo by Charles Sykes, NBCUniversal

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