Inside CBS' Upfront: New Execs, Colbert Cracks, Well-Received Clips and a 'Big Bang' Bow

As several hundred deep-pocketed ad buyers filed into New York's Carnegie Hall on Wednesday afternoon, CBS began its annual pitch-fest with NFL broadcasters Jim Nantz and Tony Romo.

In fact, Nantz and Romo called its new “head coach,” CEO Joe Ianniello, “downright Belichickian” before running through the rest of the team: chief creative officer David Nevins, who they noted had been successful at other teams and now was playing for CBS; “head of offense” (and entertainment president) Kelly Kahl; and “quarterback” (and ad sales chief) JoAnn Ross.

Unlike the network’s press event earlier in the day, which was hijacked by a charged discussion of harassment and its aftermath , the 90-minute upfront remained decidedly upbeat, ending on a particularly classy (and rather un-Moonvesian) note with Kahl taking a moment to highlight and express gratitude for the team at large.

Chalk it up to Carnegie acoustics or a genuinely solid crop of trailers, but CBS' new fall offerings — three comedies and two dramas — each seemed to play well in the room.

The trailer for the single-camera effort The Unicorn drew nearly a dozen blasts of laughter in the big room and received strong applause when the cast, led by a teary-eyed Walton Goggins, came out onstage.

Zirinsky invoked the old joke about getting to Carnegie Hall; for her it was via the CBS News Washington bureau, where she started more than 40 years ago as a desk assistant.

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