Television: James Poniewozik's Journal: Up Close At The Upfronts

A critic's-eye view as the networks preview their fall series--and wine and dine the advertisers

Every May, TV-network heads invite thousands of advertising execs to the Manhattan upfronts to watch clips of the new fall shows, then hobnob at sybaritic parties. The goal: to sell ads "up front" with slick talk and boundless ratings predictions. It is a capitalist orgy where art and commerce have one too many vodka tonics and end up in bed. I swallowed the bombast (and the finger food) and lived to tell the tale.

MONDAY RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL If you set off a bomb here, millions of units of sanitizing tub-and-tile cleanser would go tragically unmarketed. The ad crowd gathered...

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