The CBS upfront presentation today calls for a drinking game: How many times we’ll hear from the stage that CBS is No. 1? First off hammering out the message is the network’s head of sales Jo Ann Ross, who re-created Carrie Underwood’s infamous Grammy dress with messages touting CBS’ success and urging advertisers to buy projected on the bottom of her ball gown.
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A pre-taped “One Year More” musical number featuring the cast of How I Met Your Mother transitioned onstage, featuring the quintet of actors, joined by a group of everyday folk carrying the departing show’s signature yellow umbrellas. Says CBS Corp CEO Les Moonves, “I’d like to see the cast of The Walking Dead do that.”
Moonves touted CBS’ ratings dominance this season in all sorts of ways, including in a form of a tweet: “Message easy. CBS wins everything. #dropthemic.”
The highlight of the presentation so far is the surprise appearance by David Letterman.
Touting the success of CBS’ drama series, Moonves said, “the place for drama is in primetime not at 7 AM the morning and 11:30 at night,” while images of Ann Curry’s tearful farewell on Today and of Jimmy Fallon and Jay Leno flashed behind him.
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Representing CBS’ drama class onstage was the cast of the network’s (and all of television’s) most-watched horlong series, NCIS. Their The Big Bang Theory counterparts walked out to highlight CBS’ comedy. “When you google Big Bang Theory, you get our show, not the creation of the entire universe,” CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler boasted, with a screengrab behind her proving her point, as “creation of the universe” is suggested as a related search. Most of CBS’ new shows look solid, with drama Hostages and comedy The Millers getting big applause.
After landing the plum Thursday 9 PM slot, the new Robin Williams comedy The Crazy Ones also landed the big closing spot at the CBS upfront presentation. Tassler called Williams the “biggest get of this season, actually of many seasons.” After the trailer for the show, Williams came out onstage to do some of his signature crowd-pleasing (and a little blue) act.
“The upfronts look like Westminster Kennel, but with more agents, and a little less ass sniffing.” Reminiscing about his last upfront 15 years ago.”It was simpler times — bunch of executives and a mound of cocaine.”
“In the old days, there were three networks, now there are hundreds. For the sports fans, there is ESPN, for the foodies, there is the Food Network. And if a little child wants to be transported to the Land Of Make-Believe, there’s Fox News.”