It was an Upfront Week unlike any other in recent memory. There was something gloomy about it all, beyond the cloudy skies and intermittent downpours that already dampened everyone’s mood. Perhaps it was the fact that the unveiling of the networks’ programming and scheduling plans was largely dwarfed by the headline grabbing maneuvers of late involving their parent companies. Consider: There could very likely in the season ahead be seismic changes involving NBC and its cable networks, all of the Disney and Fox networks, the Turner networks, The CW and especially CBS, which found itself at the center of a white-hot conflict with owner Viacom on the very day of its massive event. Indeed, the most emotional moment of the entire week came not from the expected source – clips from NBC’s popular tearjerker This Is Us presented at Radio City Music Hall – but from the annual on-stage appearance of CBS President and Chief Operating Officer Leslie Moonves on the Carnegie Hall stage (pictured below). He was greeted with thunderous applause as much of the audience rose to its feet in sheer adulation, believing (to their collective disbelief) that it may have been Moonves’ last Upfront Week appearance on behalf of the network he has been a part of for 23 years.
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