2018 Upfront Season: A Buyer's Perspective

Posted by Meara Johnson on Jun 11, 2018 3:40:55 PM

The two weeks between the end of May and beginning of June are some of the most exciting weeks for the media industry. Broadcasters put on their best performances, to present their new Fall programming and schedules, and share exciting news about their stations. Our Media team at Active attended all of the events, and have shared their opinions on the new Fall lineups.


Our first stop was CBC, Canada’s national public broadcaster. CBC announced that they will be bringing back Street Legal after 25 years; this news was thrilling for many, including one of our Senior Key Account Buyers, Andrea Lloyd. Andrea predicts that Street Legal will last, and return as a household favorite in the hearts of many Canadians.

Another new show our buyers expressed interested in was Under Management. Arlene Dickinson, Canadian Businesswoman, author, investor and star of the beloved Dragons Den will be starring in her own new show where she helps entrepreneurs find the perfect business for them. Sara Presutti, Associate Key Account Buyer thinks this show will be a hit due to the interesting concept, appeal to entrepreneurs, as well as Arlene’s wide fan base.

On the topic of Arlene Dickinson, CBC was excited to announce a new addition to the Dragon’s Den panel. Lane Merrifield joined Arlene at the CBC presentation to talk a bit about Season 13 of Dragon’s Den.

The overall presentation was a blast; hosted by Sharron Matthews, the crowd was definitely entertained for the duration of the presentation. The food at the post presentation reception was exceptional, and diverse; poke bowls, gnocchi, and a taco station was greatly appreciated by all in attendance.



Rogers ‘wowed’ the crowd by bringing out one of TV’s favourite Canadian TV hosts, Howie Mandell. Howie immediately had the crowd laughing from the moment he stepped on to the stage. The new show A Million Little Things is predicted to steal the hearts of Canadians this fall, as our buyers expect it to be a hit.

We have a clash of opinions on the new show introduced, Manifest. Sara Presutti is excited for the show that has promised to keep you on the edge of your seat, while Ben Lawrence, Junior Key Account Buyer feels the show will tank due to the repetitive concept. We will have to stay tuned to see who predicted correctly for this one, but either way the show will be worth watching.

Christine Lako, Marketing Manager and former Senior Key Account Digital Buyer, is excited for the new comedies introduced, and has a feeling that the reboot of Twilight Zone will do well. Jordan Peele (Director of 2017 box office hit ‘Get Out’) is rebooting The Twilight Zone, and anybody who is a fan of thrillers and suspense will enjoy Peele’s unnerving artistry.

Andrea Lloyd is looking forward to Murphy Brown, and is interested in Rogers taking on classic shows like The Simpsons, Dancing with the Stars and Blacklist to their network.

The presentation was the perfect length, with the perfect amount of information provided. The visual effects were top notch, and with the presentation being hosted at Massey Hall guests were treated to one last show in the century old Toronto Landmark, before it undergoes its 135 million dollar revitalization.


This year Corus changed the game, and did things a little differently, with no physical presentation. Instead, buyers and their media teams received a “pre-upfront” information package via email with an explanation of new content, new processes and links to follow for more information. While this allowed Corus to concentrate on providing a fun experience for all who attended the celebration.

Aside from the unconventional presentation method, buyers are excited about the entertaining reality show lineup Corus has to offer. Shows like Survivor and Big Brother: Celebrity Edition are being eagerly anticipated by Senior Buyer, Andrea. On the comedy front, Ben Lawrence is excited to see The Neighborhood and Happy Together, new sitcoms led by Cedric the Entertainer and Damon Wayans.



Bell has always been the marquee event for upfront season, capping off the two weeks of events with a star-studded presentation and after party. This year’s event was no different; CTV announced the rebranding of BRAVO, SPACE, GUSTO, and COMEDY to CTV Drama, CTV Sci-Fi, CTV Life, and CTV Comedy. Junior Buyer, Ben Lawrence suspects this re branding is in efforts to utilize the strength of the CTV name, rather than have their stations compete individually against Corus’ already successful specialty brands.

Our buyers are excited for the reboot of Magnum P.I, and Whiskey Cavalier – if they can stand the test of time as yet another ‘police show’.

Andrea Lloyd is interested in the new CTV posting process, and is looking forward to seeing the difference between a 13 week average versus posting on the actual flight of the campaign


It was an exciting couple of weeks, and our Media Team is looking forward to dive into Fall buying. Let us know what programs you are looking forward to on the new network schedules.

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Topics: Media & Marketing, Agency Perspective, media buying, broadcast, fall buying

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