“The Late Show With Steven Colbert’s” bandleader John Batiste opened CBS’ UpFront presentation at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday afternoon with a short musical number before segueing into one of many several pre-taped segments.
The first was a skit with the cast of “Young Sheldon,” which introduced CBS president and chief advertising officer Jo Ann Ross, who welcomed the crowd and announced a new data project and an initiative to ensure better depiction of women and girls on CBS’ programming. Next up was John Malcovich and CBS chief executive officer Les Moonves, in another pre-tapped skit, which ended with Malcovich promoting all of CBS’ content, along with its history and the tagline: “tell us a story.”
Moonves came out to cheers and a standing ovation — crucial timing considering the ongoing corporate battle this week playing out between CBS’ Moonves and National Amusements president, and CBS controlling shareholder Shari Redstone. “So, how’s your week going,” Moonves said to laughter before touting the longevity of broadcasting.
“Mom” stars Ana Ferris and Allison Janney gave a tribute to the original “woke” fictional female journalist, Murphy Brown. The revival of “Murphy Brown” is one of CBS’ most anticipated shows for the fall — a trend in keeping with the revival rage across networks. A lengthy trailer was shown before the cast came out to further hype the show’s return.
“It’s so great to have the gang back together, and so many Americans cheering a bunch of journalists,” Candace Bergen said, before taking a few swipes at Fox News.
In keeping with that theme, Stephen Colbert did a brief set that incorporated some ribbing at the current administration while also taking a few, mostly good-natured, jabs at CBS, including the trend toward revivals.
“In addition to the big hit ‘MacGyver,’ this fall CBS will have the reboot of ‘Magnum P.I.’ and, as you saw, ‘Murphy Brown’ — guaranteeing that we will be the number-one network in 2018 and 1988,” he said.
Other highlights of the presentation — all shown with lengthy trailers — included Damon Wayans Jr.’s new comedy “Happy Together,” Cedric the Entertainer’s “The Neighborhood” and a drama called “God Friended Me,” which could double as branded content for Facebook.
Read WWD’s UpFront coverage: