UPFRONT AND PERSONAL: Ever in search of experiential viewing, ABC brought some of its better-known actors to life — as in real life — during Tuesday’s upfronts at Lincoln Center. Kerry Washington of “Scandal,” Barbara Walters of “The View,” Jimmy Kimmel, and Robin Roberts and the rest of the “Good Morning America” team stood to be recognized during the 95-minute affair.
Washington also helped get things rolling by headlining a pretaped skit with Kimmel and ABC president Anne Sweeney, who copped to stealing Diane Sawyer’s dress and fake eyelashes. Sawyer, of course, didn’t miss a beat, playfully waving her hands in front of her face like eyelashes when Sweeney walked onto the stage. Walters, who some speculated held off on announcing her much-anticipated retirement until Monday for this week’s upfronts, later stood to take a bow.
Always up for a laugh, Kimmel reminded the crowd that Walters would be leaving ABC after more than 50 years “to have a baby — my baby.” He was considerably harsher in describing NBC’s “spiral” and later referring to CBS as something unprintable. The comedian jokingly suggested the audience vote by a show of hands which program should get the ax. Holding canvas money bags, he then told the advertising heavyweights, “Look you don’t know if these shows are going to work and I don’t know if these shows are going to work. Just throw your money in these bags and we’ll be done with it.”
ABC’s Paul Lee (whom Kimmel called Harry Potter at one point) assured the crowd it was all going to work. Joss Whedon’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”; “Lucky 7” from Steven Spielberg; the 10-singles-in-a-bar-one-night “Mixology”; “Back in the Game” with James Caan, and the limited series “Betrayal” were among his favorites. There was also much fanfare for Watch ABC, the open-access preview now offered to New York and Philadelphia residents. It provides video-on-demand playback of the network’s shows and live network TV streaming.
“Bridesmaids” actress Rebel Wilson turned up to plug her new Conan O’Brien-produced show “Super Fun Night.” Washington and the “Scandal” cast revealed a glimpse of Thursday’s finale in which her character is fired upon. Afterwards, Lee, dealing with the mash-up of old and new media, warned, “No tweeting that one.”