The Wooing of an Ad Man

"This makes sense. She's giving strategy," Kanefsky said as Ostroff highlighted the night.

Generally, how much the crowd claps and shouts doesn't matter, especially since there are plenty of network employees in the room

"You know what's good and what isn't," Kanefsky said.

Yet if something really bombs or is a real hit, then the crowd is a good indicator.

For instance, after a screening of a new sitcom, "Aliens in America," about a 16-year-old Wisconsin boy whose mother decides to improve his social status at school by importing an exchange student to be his friend, the crowd gave very strong applause.

"That's a focus group of 4,000 that you can count on," Kanefsky said.

The crowd is filled with ad buyers, advertisers, investment bankers, some hedge fund analysts and representatives from the network affiliates.

While Kanefsky finds the upfronts helpful, he said it is the clients who truly benefit. They get a better feel for the network and the shows, which can make his job a bit easier.

"The clients enjoy it the most, especially the ones who are from out of town," he said. "Those four days are considered a perk of the business."

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