NBCU Streaming Head ‘Grateful’ to Writers as WGA Strike Continues: ‘We Will Eventually Get Through This’

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NBCUniversal started its upfront session by addressing the elephant lurking in every room in Hollywood: the WGA strike.

“We are grateful for the contribution writers make to our company and respect their right to demonstrate it may take some time, but I know we will eventually get through this and the result will be a stronger foundation on which we can all move forward together,” NBCU streaming head Mark Lazarus said during the New York event.

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Unsurprisingly, the event scaled back on its celebrities, relying on more executives and reality TV stars to introduce its clips and segments. This is a major departure for the upfronts, an advertiser-focused event that networks often use to flex their roster of talent. This absence was most prominent during a spot plugging the upcoming 50th season for “Saturday Night Live.” Instead of featuring any member of the current or former cast, MSNBC reporter and “Morning Joe” co-host Willie Geist introduced the segment.

“If you squint a little bit or maybe just can’t find your glasses in your purse, I could be Colin Jost, right?” Geist joked. A source close to the event told TheWrap that Jost was never confirmed to attend or be part of the presentation.

That doesn’t mean the event was completely celebrity-free. Reba McEntire and Nick Jonas performed musical numbers for an auditorium full of advertising executives and journalists.

NBCUniversal was the first network to debut its upfront, setting the tone for this increasingly strange television season. Last Friday, the network debuted its 2023-2024 fall schedule, which included three new scripted series as well as a new night dedicated to Big Ten football.

But not every network has proceeded as business as usual. Ahead of its presentation Monday, Fox announced that it will not be releasing its fall schedule at this time. Instead, the network will depend on flexibility as it adjust its premieres in accordance to how the writers’ strike unfolds.

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