In the North American television industry, an upfront is a meeting hosted at the start of important advertising sales periods by television network executives, attended by the press and major advertisers. It is so named because of its main purpose, to allow marketers to buy commercial airtime "up front", or several months before the television season begins.
In the United States, the major broadcast networks' upfronts occur in New York City during the third week of May, the last full week of that month's sweeps period. The networks announce their fall primetime schedules, including tentative launch dates (i.e., fall or midseason) for new programming, which may be "picked up" the week before. The programming announcements themselves are usually augmented with clips from the new series, extravagant musical numbers, comedic scenes, and appearances by network stars. Most cable networks present earlier in the spring since they usually program for the summer months. For a guide on the upfront schedule for many of the networks, click here.