Netflix Upfront: Here’s What Happened At Pier 59 With Shonda Rhimes, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, George Kittle, Mindy Kaling & Kate Hudson

A small group of advertisers were serenaded by Metallica’s Master of Puppets (one of those songs that Stranger Things brought to a new generation) as they walked into Netflix’s first in-person Upfront.

Held at Pier 59 Studios in New York, the event had the feeling of an immersive theater experience with a lot of black t-shirt-clad staff handing out drinks.

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It comes as the streamer unveiled a number of new series and films including a new Kevin Williamson drama, a bull riding drama starring Tim McGraw and a slew of sports docs as well as more episodes of 3 Body Problem.

Shonda Rhimes kicked things off, talking up her move from ABC to Netflix, saying that she’s doing things that can’t always be done on broadcast television. “The definition of a Netflix show is one that people like to watch,” she said before introducing a sneak peek of Bridgerton’s third season, which debuts later this week.

Next up was Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Bela Bajaria (who came out to Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill, another Stranger Things song). “When we say we want to entertain the world, we really mean it,” she said.

Controversial dramedy Baby Reindeer got a shout alongside series such as Ripley, The Diplomat, Beef, Our Planet II, and Beckham as did upcoming titles such as Kristen Bell and Adam Brody’s Nobody Wants This, Ted Danson’s A Classic Spy and Ryan Murphy’s Monsters: The Lyle and Erik Menendez Story as well as movies such as Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.

Bajaria called it a “steady drumbeat of shows and movies” coming in 2024 and 2025.

“At a time when competition is pulling back, we’re investing more of what our audiences want,” she said.

Bajaria then turned to new movies including Happy Gilmore 2 and action comedy Back In Action starring Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz. There was a funny phone call played between the pair and Tom Brady. “I’m relatively successful at un-retiring,” joked Brady, referring to Diaz’s return to acting.

This was Foxx’s second appearance at the Upfronts, two days after his turn at the Fox event. It was also the second time this week that he seemed a little annoyed by the audience’s lowkey reaction.

Chief marketing officer Marian Lee kicked off her ad-turn by talking about how they engineered that dance on Wednesday. While she’s evidently keen to take some money from the advertisers, she said the streamer has one rule. “Our members come first,” she said. “Because we have so much variety, we can help you reach them in a really thoughtful way.”

Netflix’s move into the NFL was one of the big talking points of the day; Bajaria revealed that its two Christmas day games will see the Baltimore Ravens at the Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Talking of football, San Francisco 49ers star George Kittle was on stage promoting the value of the tight-end in Receiver, the follow up to Quarterback.

Mindy Kaling and Kate Hudson at the Netflix Upfront 2024 (Photo by Mike Coppola/Netflix)
Mindy Kaling and Kate Hudson at the Netflix Upfront 2024 (Photo by Mike Coppola/Netflix)

Mindy Kaling has had a busy day; hours after turning up to talk The Sex Lives of College Girls at Warner Bros. Discovery’s Upfront at Madison Square Garden, she was at Pier 59 (in a different outfit) to promote Running Point alongside Kate Hudson.

“I love advertisers,” said Kaling.

“What is an Upfront?,” asked Hudson. “It’s where we convince advertisers that our shows are cool so they want to partner with us,” added Kaling. “Whatever you want to sell, we are here for you.”

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