ITV held its annual Upfronts event, hosted by I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here presenters Ant and Dec, who did little to hide the fact that they were doing it for free with contract negotiations on the cards.
The pair co-hosted with a surprisingly crude but funny Paddy McGuinness while they interviewed celebrities such as Mr Selfridge actor Jeremy Piven about the second series of the drama, Through the Keyhole and Celebrity Juice presenter, Keith Lemon and Stoke striker Peter Crouch about next year's World Cup, which will be shared between ITV and the BBC. The stars of the show were easily those in charge of the commercial broadcaster.
Fru Hazlitt, managing director of ITV Commercial was her usual impassioned self when discussing the future of TV, stating: "everything we do is about energy, bravery and pride" explaining that the pride came from those who worked at the company to deliver content through commercial partnerships which kept it operating.
Despite stating the same thing a few years ago, Hazlitt reiterated that "now is the time to be in television" in contrast to the view that television had died in the face of the digital revolution.
"People are spending more time watching TV than ever before and advertising on TV is growing for first time in many years. TV is going through an astonishing renaissance...and the reason is due to something fundamental which we must never forget, there is no better medium for making us really feel something and ITV leads the way with that," she claimed.
Hazlitt claimed that ITV was also "the most loved commercial channel" in a poke at rival BSkyB and stated that it was driving national conversation through its programming as well.
"Without us, social media would be nothing," she stated of the UK social conversation amidst the growth of second screen viewing. "In fact, looking at social media, without The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE) social media would really be nothing" adding that the programme drove a lot of of online and offline conversation and inspired new use of the national language, before offering some choice examples and adding that the programme also brought in over a billion pounds to the economy in sales of Vijazzles, Sudocrem and and fake tanning lotion.
One statistic raised by Hazlit was that in the last year 604 programmes on commercial TV had attracted over 7 million viewers - 600 were on ITV and the other four: "Well who cares?"
She concluded, before running a video featuring clips from adverts from the last four decades, by stating that " TV is still most powerful advertising medium in the world...Advertising is cool, creative, culturally relevant and constantly innovating, a powerful tool and blooming good fun...it makes us laugh, cry and all the advertising goes along with that too."
In between Hazlitt's speech and that of Peter Fincham, director of TV for ITV, Ant and Dec chose one of the audience to play a special version on Win the Ads, which included a Poirot moustache and a Simon Cowell chest wig were among the 'prizes.'
Fincham took to the stage, and opened by admitting that ITV had had a couple of "challenging" years, with the BBC holding the broadcast rights to the Queen's Jubilee celebrations and the London Olympics and Channel 4 broadcasting the Paralympic Games, which had affected its share of viewing in 2012.
"We knew that this year was important to show what we were going to do."
He turned his attention to 2013 as the first year of the digital switchover from analogue, which meant that all UK TV viewers had a choice of around 150 channels to watch, however he claimed that ITV had seen a growth of 3.5 per cent so far this year, the first time is had grown its share since 1990. He cited entertainment programmes such as Splash, Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and the relaunch of Catchphrase and Through the Keyhole as examples of success that would all be renewed.
He also revealed that Britain's Got Talent would see Cowell and David Walliams return to the show next year and praised factual content such as Paul O'Grady's Love of Dogs and Exposure which broke the Jimmy Savile scandal earlier this year. He also described the impending second series of hit drama Broadchurch as being "very different" and said of the channel's flagship soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale: "The gap is widening and ours is in a really strong position," in comparison with the BBC's long-running soap Eastenders.
Fincham also discussed new commissions such as the relaunch of Birds of a Feather, a drama from the production company of Sherlock, called Edge of Heaven, and the first appearance of Joan Collins on ITV in the next series of Benidorm, before thanking the audience of advertisers and media buyers for making them all possible.
Other highlights from the evening saw a video featuring Little Ant and Dec interviewing and then becoming commercial bosses Dags and Kelly (Simon Dalgleish and Kelly Williams) while Ant and Dec also interviewed Aleksandr the Meerkat, with the evening concluding through performances from X Factor winner Alexandra Burke and finalist Jahmene Douglas.
The event was a speculator three hour show, but it also managed to prove to the broadcaster's advertisers that ITV is in a very healthy state, with a slate of programming that is genuinely in demand, and that's with nary a mention of a certain Downton Abbey.