Sports fans go to games to see their heroes live and to be around folks with shared interests. Comic book aficionados do the same at Comic-Con, albeit with different kinds of heroes.
On Thursday, television enthusiasts got their chance to gather. For the last six years, the Paley Center for Media on Beverly Drive has hosted "PaleyFest: Fall TV Preview Parties." Thursday's event focused on NBC, as fans came to watch new shows two weeks before they will premiere on the peacock network.
Friday will feature CBS programs, with Fox shows showcased Monday, ABC's on Tuesday and the CW's on Wednesday.
The premiere days "are pretty much equal," said Terry Lynn Ebright, a Paley Center representative. The lineup "depends on the networks' schedules."
On Thursday, NBC previewed new fall television shows Outsourced, The Event, Chase and Undercovers. Stars from the shows came by to mug for the cameras on the red carpet and answer questions after the screenings.
Seeing the actors on these programs didn't mean a whole lot to the spectators Thursday; most of the performers aren't household names yet.
"I'm unfamiliar with all of them… I'm not extremely excited," said Natalie Freeman, a student at Azusa Pacific University.
Freeman is a "big fan" of Thursday night comedy on NBC and is planning on attending the premiere parties of ABC and Fox as well.
Catie Callahan sat in the back of the second floor library at the Paley Center with her friends. Sipping on a free beer courtesy of the center, she was among the dozen or so people who didn't get into the main auditorium for the screenings. But that didn't dampen her experience.
"This is more exciting. It's a limited number, it's exclusive," she said. "You're the first one to see it, it's something cool, it's something fun."
Callahan didn't know about the party until her friend mentioned it to her that day. But Alex Freedman, an aspiring TV writer attending the event, had been following the Paley website "for some time."
"I'm here because I love TV," Freedman said. "Drinks help, but I didn't really come for the drinks."
He said he would come to the rest of the network screenings, although he was most excited about the NBC previews. That's because, he said, the other networks don't have any "interesting" shows to premiere.
"I'm not expecting that much from the other networks," he said.
NBC had a lot more room for new shows on its schedule this year than last because it's returning Jay Leno to his 11:30 p.m. slot opening up his previously occupied 10 p.m. slot.
NBC would do well to attract fans like Freedman to its new programs. Once he gets started on a new TV show, even if it's bad, he said he would "still need to watch a few more episodes."
"I don't stop unless a pilot is really, really atrocious," Freedman said. "I'll watch a half season. It has to be really bad for me to stop."