The Pop upfront wasn't a huge spectacle. Roughly 25 people were sprawled out on couches atop the Gansevoort Park Avenue in New York Thursday morning. There were no media buyers—just media and Pop employees. And that's exactly how the newly rebranded, CBS-owned network wanted it.
"In my experience, if you're not a big network with a big draw doing a big party or event, then you're not going to get the right people to attend," Pop evp of advertising sales Michael Dupont said. "I'd rather do some kind of client event outside of the upfront season, when it's not so cluttered and the right people would actually come."
Formerly the TV Guide Channel, the network has only been Pop for 12 weeks. First up on the schedule:
- Tyra Banks will host the 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on April 26 at 8 p.m. EDT.
- John Legend has signed on for the a cappella group reality competition Sing it On.
- Alan Thicke stars in the reality sitcom Unusually Thicke, along with his wife Tanya and son Carter.
- Eugene Levy, Chris Elliott and Catherine O'Hara are back for the second season of Pop's scripted comedy Schitt's Creek.
- Donna Mills and Joan Collins appear in the new reality series Queens of Drama, which features other popular soap stars.
In all, Pop is preparing 300 hours of original programming for the 2015-16 season.
Pop president Brad Schwartz referred to its target demo as "modern grownups" and said it strives to "put people on TV that deserve to be on TV." Schwartz said the network has added 20 new advertisers and stressed that Pop is trending upward at a time when most of its competition is trending down.
The network also features 30-second entertainment news segments intertwined in its programing, similar to the old-school MTV News spots. Pop can pump out sponsored segments in less than 20 minutes when pop culture news breaks.
Dupont, who was at Oxygen for nearly a decade, realized his young network is better off holding individual presentations to major agencies after the programming is revealed.
"It would be great if I could set up a little table in the corner of Carnegie Hall during the CBS upfront," Dupont said. "But until we get to a certain level where it makes sense to do a big event, I don't think we will be doing that."