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CBS Makes Quick Work of Virtual Upfront Pitch

New CBS sitcom 'B Positive'
Thomas Middleditch in new CBS sitcom 'B Positive' (Image credit: CBS)

If there were an open bar somewhere, CBS’s virtual upfront would have gotten media buyers and advertisers there pretty quickly.

The second part of the ViacomCBS virtual upfront was mostly about the new CBS primetime schedule. With just three new scripted shows, the presentation took a scant 23 minutes.

The session opened with scenes from shows on CBS and CBS All Access, with Patrick Stewart and Star Trek taking a key role.

Queen Latifah explains that her new show, 'The Equalizer,' will air Sundays, after '60 Minutes.'

Queen Latifah explains that her new show, 'The Equalizer,' will air Sundays, after '60 Minutes.' (Image credit: CBS)

There was no master of ceremonies. And no address from top executives, including president of ad revenue Jo Ann Ross (who did appear in Monday’s upfront video focusing on cable networks).

Words superimposed on the screen made CBS’s point about network television: "TV has the power to bring people together. With celebrations, shared moments, beloved characters and new shows we can talk about."

Related: CBS Shares 2020-21 Schedule

Speaking of new shows, CBS first showed clips from B Positive, the straight-to-series sitcom from Chuck Lorre starring Thomas Middleditch with Annaleigh Ashford,

Then it had the executive producers of The Equalizer starring Queen Latifah and Clarice with Rebecca Breeds, talking about their new dramas.

That was followed by a look at a new reality show, Tough as Nails, featuring blue collar heroes competing at physical labor.

Thomas Middleditch and Annaleigh Ashford celebrate getting a plum spot in the CBS lineup on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

Thomas Middleditch and Annaleigh Ashford celebrate getting a plum spot in the CBS lineup on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. (Image credit: CBS)

There were presentations from CBS News and CBS Sports, including clips of March Madness and the Super Bowl, which CBS will broadcast next year.

The network also showed off the original programming from its soon-to-be expanded streaming service CBS All Access.

Thomas Middleditch and Annaleigh Ashford celebrate getting a plum spot in the CBS lineup on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

“Wow, that was record time. Well done CBS,” said Cedric the Entertainer.

And CBS’s characters acknowledged that this year’s upfront was different, with no drinks, no party and no way to take selfies with media buyers, who eventually, maybe will start making upfront ad buys sometime later this year

“Just know we miss you all,” they said. “Grab your virtual shrimp. We’ll be ready when you are.”

Jon Lafayette
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.