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Grave days at the network upfronts

Coffins883The upfronts -- the annual ritual when broadcast television networks present their fall lineups to advertisers -- have always been a weeklong festival of Barnumesque bluster lubricated by liquor and advertising dollars. But the party lights were much dimmer at this year's edition, which ended Thursday.

A palpable cloud of anxiety hangs over a broadcast industry that's down five million viewers from last year, has just crawled out of the wreckage of one disastrous strike and now faces the real possibility of another. Even the invincible American Idol is showing wear and tear with its lowest ratings in five years. And now, the networks have ordered only 17 new series -- about half of what they did last year. Read the whole Miami Herald story.


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