USA Lets Its Talent Do the Talking

The characters took over USA Network’s upfront Monday night.

Rather than put their executives up on stage, USA let its on-screen talent do the talking at its presentation to ad buyers, which was held in a big tent behind Lincoln Center in New York. It’s a big-time venue because ad buyers can recall broadcasters ABC and The CW holding events there in past years.

The show opened with Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay of USA’s White Collar taking the stage handcuffed together. “I am Dave Cassaro,” Bomer announced, producing the NBCUniversal ad sales president’s wallet as proof. The actors promised a night with no talk of CPM and VPPHs and most of all no network executives. And they were good to their word.

Jeff Donovan of Burn Notice, despite heavy heckling from co-star Bruce Campbell,  joked about breaking into Bonnie Hammer’s office, shooting Chris McCumber’s assistant and blowing up Jeff Wachtel’s car to get USA’s summer programming plans; Fairly Legal’s Sarah Shahi provided a sneak peak of the networks first two original half-hour comedies, Eden and Common Law and Covert Affairs‘ Piper Perabo introduced musical act Janelle Monae.

During the performance, the difference between actors and media buyers was clear. The actors in the front row jumped up to dance while most of the rest of the crowd remained seated. Everyone enjoyed the excellent food from a variety of Danny Meyer restaurants.

For a more detaled look at USA’s plans, click here.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.