Jersey Buoys US TV Upfronts


Buoyed by the success of MTV’s Jersey Shore franchise, cable networks are gearing up for the summer shore season, Joisey style. Not only Viacom’s MTV, but its reality-touting competitors at Oxygen, Style and Bravo all have their fists in the air pumping to promote their Garden State shows during the TV upfront events now taking place in New York.

At its upfront event yesterday at at a midtown Manhattan hotel, MTV touted its new shows by wooing media buyers and brand advertisers with a raucous party themed around the looming return of its now-iconic Jersey Shore, which is currently taping its next season far from Jersey on a different shore, in Miami.

Partiers filled their plates with meatballs and spaghetti, and washed it down with Ron Ron Juice (vodka and watermelon juice), named after cast member Ronnie Magro. Cast members busted out their signature dance moves and female servers “poofed” their hair in salute to Snooki, aka Nicole Polizzi.[more]

MTV is putting a lot of emphasis on its crown jewel, which returns with a new season on July 29. Last season’s finale drew 4.8 million total viewers, a series record.

Reality competitor Bravo, meanwhile, is also basking in NJ’s glory with its highest-rated Monday night telecast ever for the season two premiere of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. also marked its best traffic for a series premiere, clocking a 133% increase in page views versus the previous record holder, the fifth season premiere of Project Runway.

Over on the E! spinoff Style network, Jerseylicious, the adventures of a crop of bronze-bodied hairstylists with big personalities (and bigger hair) and a fondness for leopard print, has put the Comcast-owned network in the mix for promoting their own Jersey television hit. The claws are out already with two spunky young stylists, Olivia and Tracy, vying for attention.

NBCU’s Oxygen network is talking up its take on NJ with Jersey Couture, premiering on June 1. The reality skein follows The Scalis, aka Jersey’s First Family of Fashion, who live and work together to run dress shop Diane & Co. Touting their unique brand of Jersey glam, the shop sells bedazzled creations for proms and bat mitzvahs.

What do all of these shows have in common that fascinates viewers? Sequins, gold(!), animal prints, hair with ‘tude (and a publicist), and obnoxious but well-meaning people who like to make spectacles of themselves.

It’s great television and, best of all, it’s not sugar-coated. It may not be what the state of New Jersey wants to be known for, but hey, it beats being branded as the Armpit of America. It also evokes American TV’s shining moment, the much-missed Sopranos (whose veal parm charm HBO is still struggling to recapture).

Viewers in the UK, meanwhile, must be wondering why all the fuss over sweaters in America? (We joik! Fuhgeddaboudit!)


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