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Upfronts 2014: NBCUniversal Cable Closes With Clips

NBCUniversal drove home its synergy-centric message Thursday, closing out two months of television upfronts with a fast-moving, clip-heavy presentation that squeezed promotions for 18 shows across six networks into roughly 90 minutes.

The presentation was short on content—no news save the announcement that NBCUniversal and WWE have extended their deal for Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown—and heavy on sizzle reels. The Soup’s Joel McHale, who closed the show, got off several of the night’s better lines, “Today we’re announcing a brand new network — Sizzle: The Sizzle Reels Network, everybody. All sizzle reels all the time.”

McHale was part of a parade of NBCUniversal talent to address the crowd throughout the event, including Kim Kardashian, Joan Rivers, Tricia Helfer, Andy Cohen and Anne Heche, bringing the star wattage that was conspicuously scarce at broadcast sibling NBC’s presentation May 12.

Besides promoting the new series, the point of the mass presentation—in years past, the networks have presented separately—appeared to be marketing NBCUniversal to advertisers as a massive multi-platform entity.

NBCUniversal Cable Chairman Bonnie Hammer opened the presentation by saying that the point of the presentation was “to get across the idea of the collective strength of the most engaging, focused and creative brands in the business.”

Linda Yaccarino, president of advertising sales at NBCU, sang the praises of aggregation “in a world of fragmentation.” Royal Pains star Mark Feuerstein presented a rap about the company’s cross-brand marketing initiative, dubbed Symphony — which was followed by a video of NBCUniversal stars performing musical instruments.