UPDATED (Refresh for latest live-blogging): So far, NBC is sticking to its original script despite the leak yesterday. The network opened with a pre-taped skit with Alec Baldwin as 30 Rock‘s Jack Donaghy touting media buyers as “America’s true heroes”.
Here is how he introduced himself: “Many of you may know me from my brief and ultimately illegal marriage to Nikki Finke.”
NBC Uni TV Entertainment chairman Jeff Gaspin also joked about the NBC’s upfront moving from Radio City Music Hall to the Hilton Hotel. Among the benefits from the switch: earning Hilton reward points. “I booked a massage for 4 pm… next year. He also deadpanned about how excited he was when he was offered to run NBC last summer. “That job just comes along every 8-9 months or so,” he said.
The trailers for The Event and Undercovers looked solid, with the one for David Nutter-directed Chase getting the biggest applause. “With Lost and 24 going off the air, we knew we needed a show to knock it out of the park, and we did it with The Event,” NBC’s scripted chief Angela Bromstad said.
But for me, The Event didn’t quite live up to the hype with a little too many layers of the mystery. Chase was a solid procedural while Undercovers was fun to watch.
The clips from new Thursday comedy Outsourced, which is set in India, were funny. But the Indian culture-related jokes were a tad too many.
The segment of Love Bites shown by the network didn’t feature the anthology series’ stars Jordana Spiro and Becki Newton; instead, it was a funny vignette starring Jennifer Love Hewitt and Greg Grunberg. Wonder how the show will do as a series with what feels like short movies stitched together? Grunberg was hilarious though and is staying on as a regular, which is good.
Late-night host Jimmy Fallon came out with his guitar to do a few live ads. Hit shill for Applebee’s: Applebee’s – they now list their calories on the menus. What part of ‘I don’t give a fuck’ you don’t understand Applebee’s?
The most awkward moment of the presentation was media buyers stretching arms to catch and then funble autographed footballs thrown from the stage by the hosting team from Sunday Night Football.
NBC’s midseason shows look promising, too. Comedy Friends With Benefits was better than I expected, while Paul Reiser was charming and self-deprecating. The Cape looked as good as a genre show can. I found Harry’s Law a little boring, but Kathy Bates is a delight. Pretty strong applause for the clip.
Midseason comedy Perfect Couples drew a lot of laughs, though for me it didn’t quite live to the hype of being the comedy frontrunner this season. Solid though. Gaspin: “Don’t worry, we only have 13 shows to go.”
A short speech by head of sales Mike Pilot, and then over and out.