Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night show is a reliable ratings grabber for ABC-Disney, but the comedian was in roast mode at the network’s UpFront presentation for advertisers.
“Stick around after,” Kimmel said, “We’re going to show you a montage of all the montages you’ve seen tonight.”
The presentation, which for the first time combined pitches from Disney and ABC, was indeed montage-heavy. It seemed the entire event was an extended amalgamation of upcoming and renewed TV shows, with brief, executive interludes.
One common theme however was “Roseanne,” Roseanne Barr’s recently revived Nineties sitcom. It’s been an unexpected hit for ABC and Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, said a tenth of the entire U.S. population has seen the premiere episode.
Barr made a very brief appearance during the presentation and introduced Ben Sherwood, president of Disney-ABC Television Group, as “the guy who writes most of my tweets.” Sherwood talked up Roseanne as the highest-rated network show on TV, and admitted that the last time ABC had the top show was 24 years ago.
And the network is hoping to keep up some of that momentum with three new comedies and five new dramas on the way as well as “The Alec Baldwin Show,” an interview-style program that’s starting out in the prime spot of Sunday at 10 p.m. The show is a spin-off of sorts from Baldwin’s successful interview podcast “Here’s the Thing” with New York Public Radio’s WNYC.
Unsurprisingly, there was no mention of Disney’s impending deal to buy 21st Century Fox in a $52 billion stock play, which is set to include Fox’s entertainment and studio divisions, along with its interests in National Geographic and Hulu. As Disney already owns 30 percent of Hulu, absorbing Fox’s 30 percent stake will give it majority control.
But Kimmel brought it up. “How this will work, no one seems to know” he said of the merger. He also confirmed that Comcast is now making a bid for Fox, reportedly a cash offer worth $60 billion, saying, “We got peacock-blocked” and comparing Comcast to “the surprise ex-boyfriend who shows up on ‘The Bachelorette’ right before she’s about to get engaged.”
“All we know for sure is that someone is buying Fox, Rupert Murdoch is getting richer and everyone is redoing their kitchens with a mother—-ing pasta faucet.”
As for the UpFront presentation itself, Kimmel offered up a concise summary.
“Our ratings are going down and our prices are going up,” Kimmel said. “Too bad, eat it.”
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