For the first time NBCUniversal bookends Broadcast Upfront Week — culminating in this afternoon’s NBCU Cable Entertainment Group at the Javits Center, including Bravo, E!, Esquire Network, Oxygen, Sprout, Syfy, and USA Network.
The presentation will have a hard time topping Joan and Melissa Rivers in the E! Red Carpet Mani-Cam, doing spot-on finger impressions of Lea Michelle and Sharon Stone for Giuliana Rancic and Ross Matthews. Kim Kardashian adjusted her engagement ring to make sure it was caught on the Mani-Cam in all its glory, then declared her fingers ugly and pulled out.
Here’s how it went:
4:20 PM ET: Big question of this upfront seems to be who is going to host it. NBCU Cable Entertainment chairman Bonnie Hammer opened the orgy of new and returning show plugging by assuring us she’s not hosting, and touting the fact this combined network presentation boasted “120 of our on-air talent — that’s 120 wonderful humans.” She continued: “I know how grueling it can be running around town, sitting through umpteen presentations. .. We hope to earn a few brownie points saving your time… shoe leather and taxi fares.”
4:35 PM ET: NBCU’s ad sales chief Linda Yaccarino calls herself the Kim Kardashian of NBCU Cable. Kim Kardashian walks out and says “Hold on I believe I’M the Kim Kardashian of NBC Universal.” Yaccarino tries to give the two of them a name: Kardino?
“Enough about that,”Kim say. “We are at NBC — sorry, it’s cable entertainment upfront.” She says she doesn’t usually mess up with a teleprompter, or something to that effect. “It’s time to get this Upfront started,” she says, recovering.
Video of NBCU stars auditioning to host upfront presentation.
4:39 PM ET: Joan Rivers walks out on stage with Giuliana Rancic. Rivers says they’re “conspicuously coupled” as would say the “most beautiful women in the world Gwyneth Paltrow — as voted on by Stevie Wonder and Helen Keller.”
“We’re like the Duggars with twin beds,” Rivers adds. “We’re like the British Royal Family without inbreeding and bad teeth.”
“That was beautiful,” groans Rancic.
5:00 PM ET: Andy Cohen takes the stage: “I was asked to discuss social content on my show — we call it ‘drinking’ — and gamefying the viewing experience — also, ‘drinking.’
Which of these two Cohen statements is surprising: a) He will try to get his picture taken with Kim Kardashian’s butt after the presentation, or, b) In marketing your brand, ‘alcohol’ is not the only answer.
5:08 PM ET: Sprout’s Chica the Chicken auditions for NBCU Cable Upfront hosting gig. She gets my vote, though, sadly, Joel McHale said on the E! red carpet before this clambake began, eons ago, that he was hosting.
5:14 PM ET: Mark Feuerstein raps about Comcast’s symphony — perfect segue to World Wrestling Entertainment announcement it will continue its partnership with NBCU “for many years to come.” The current deal expires at the end of 2014 and there had been some speculation the relationship might be ending — though CNBC reported earlier today the two sides were close to a deal, citing a source “familiar with the situation,” which sort of took the suspense out of the situation, what with CNBC being owned by NBC.
5:35 PM ET: Joel McHale is announced as the presentation’s host, which can only mean it’s drawing to a close. “Yes this is exactly the upfront I thought I would be at this week — ah, Community,” McHale jokes. “I’m Daniel Tosh… What a wonderful use of company funds that audition video was!” he snarks. McHale blows his next gag, noted he “totally fucked it up” and adds, “You entertain one leader of the free world and can’t deliver a joke.”
All of this week’s sizzle reels “have shown this is an exciting year for sizzle reels,” McHale notes, announcing a new NBCU network called Sizzle. “All Sizzle Reels all the time.” He continues, “I was going to make a joke about every network — but I need a drink and you do too.”