CBS’s Upfront presentation is underway at Carnegie Hall. Network has unveiled a new schedule with no major changes and Young Sheldon joining The Big Bang Theory and S.W.A.T. on Thursdays.
In what is always the most candid pre-presentation chats with press, we’ve already heard execs explain “it was time” for the 2 Broke Girls cancellation, the American Idol reboot made absolutely no sense for CBS, Les Moonves hopes The Big Bang Theory will run for more than its current 12th season order, he has Everybody Loves Raymond regrets and that, so far as Les is concerned, CBS, not NBC, is Must See TV.
Follow along here as it all unfolds.
CBS wastes no time giving a nod to ‘Late Show’: Jon Batiste and Stay Human kick things off.
“Don’t throw beads — just throw money!” CBS Sales chief Jo Ann Ross jokes. “In world of alternate facts, this simple truth holds: more people watch CBS than any other network. Period.”
Traditional Les Moonves video kicks off: He calls Stephen Colbert who is in the tub. Stephen, what are you doing right now? We’d love for you to open our upfront presentation at Carnegie Hall.
Cut to Colbert taped song and dance number:
“We’ve never had more eyeballs on the stuff we put on air.
Everybody wants a ride on Tom Selleck’s facial hair.”
Lots more of that, including Gayle King giving Colbert a butt tattoo of a CBS eye logo. When it’s done, Colbert, in top hat and tails tells the crowd:
“Hello and welcome. I’m your host Stephen Colbert. I’d like to start by being upfront myself: that was a stunt butt — thank you, Scott Pelley and thank you for waxing.”
“I want to welcome the whole CBS Family” including “our incredible affiliates and, of course, a special welcome to the hot new star of ‘Criminal Minds,’ James Comey.”
Stephen Colbert wraps up his opening, introducing “Chairman of the Board” Leslie Moonves:
“Thank you Stephen. I love that guy. Stephen Colbert and the Late Show are killing it,” Colbert grins. “No. 1 for 15 weeks in a row. The show is up in every demo
including FCC investigators 18-49. That’s right, his
show has gained more than a million new viewers, and three new lawyers. And, if you think that I love Stephen more now because he’s No. 1, you’re right.”
“Remember one year ago?” Moonves continued, relishing the moment. “Who would have predicted Stephen Colbert would be winning late night on CBS, and Bill O’Reilly would be doing a podcast in his underwear.”
CBS News comes out on stage to pat itself on the back. Ditto sports. CBS Interactive chief Marc DeBevoise follows, pitching the company’s aggressive approach to digital, including ‘Star Trek Discovery’ which, after CBS broadcast premiere, will roll out exclusively on CBS All Access, and which, he announced, has been expanded to 15 episode, also announcing the launch of companion afte-rshow, ‘Talking Trek.’
‘Star Trek Discovery’ preview clip follows. “We have engaged the Klingons!” etc.
“They’ve shot it already?!” James Corden complains, taking stage wearing the ears and jersey. “I was told I was going to be in ‘Star Trek’. I am perfect. I too come from a remote place where there is almost no human life: 12:30 on CBS.”
“It’s not like ‘Star Trek’ fans are particular in the slightest,” Corden observed. He mocked CBS for “boldly going where only 6 television shows and 13 movies have gone before. What’s next? Reboot ‘MacGyver’? ‘Hawaii Five-O’?
Corden thanked the media buyers in the hall, who have spent the week schlepping from presentation to presentation to look at the new shows: ‘Will & Grace,’ ‘American Idol,’ ‘Roseanne.'”
“This is like your own personal Groundhog Day! There must be an easier way to do this. Can we just play the tape from 2002? This is my third upfront with CBS; it’s also my third time finding out ‘Scorpion’ is an actual show on television!”
First new-series trot-out: Jim Parsons introduces ‘Young Sheldon,’ which he narrates. Media buyers love the clip.
Mark Feuerstein introduces clip of his new semi-autobiographical CBS Monday multi-cam comedy ‘9JKL.’: the divorce, moving back in next to his parents, aka Linda Lavin, Elliott Gould.
‘Superior Donuts’ star Jermaine Fowler, reminds advertisers, “I’m the first black lead in a CBS sitcom in, like, a decade.” On a network that has shows with name like ‘Code Black’, and ‘Big Brother’, “you’d think there would be more black people,” he snarked.
Jeremy Piven pitches to media buyers new CBS Sunday drama ‘Wisdom of the Crowd,’ in which he plays a Steve Jobs type who who creates a cutting-edge crowdsourcing app to solve his daughter’s murder, revolutionizing crime solving in the process.
Bobby Moynihan noted he was dashing over to Carnegie Hall from his “other” show to introduce clip for CBS’ new Monday ‘Me Myself and I,’ also starring John Larroquette as another, much taller, and more mature, version of himself.
David Boreanaz intros “SEAL Team,” which is very much of the times, and plays really well in the hall.
CBS longtime programming guru Kellyl Kahl makes his Carnegie Hall debut:
It’s a pleasure and true honor to be here” he said noting he’s been to more than 20 CBS Upfronts. He’s usually pacing way in the back of Carnegie Hall, “because I’m too nervous to sit down.”
“When you’re the scheduling guy,” he explained, watching a new schedule being unveiled is “like watching your baby being born. Every year. At Carnegie Hall. With 3,000 of your closest friends in the delivery room.”
He walks them through the week. The crowd loves him. Especially when he snarks “Good luck Megyn Kelly” in re Oprah Winfrey being added to the stable of 60 Minutes contributors, and Kelly having a new Sunday newsmag on NBC.
Nice way to wrap the presentation.