Turner Upfront Presentation Palooza is underway, bombarding ad execs and press with pitches from Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, CNN, TBS, TNT, truTV, Turner Sports, etc., etc.
The morning event at Madison Square Garden – or, as James Corden corrects on stage, a room to the side of Madison Square Garden – kicked off with an “anthem video” about Turner’s vision and re-imagining the viewing experience for consumers.
Turner’s ‘Full Frontal’ star Samantha Bee warms up the room for Kevin Reilly,
Joining in progress. Kevin Reilly taking stage:
Samantha Bee is Kevin Reilly’s warm up act, more on that later. Reilly: if you’re not ahead of the wave, you’re dead in the water. He says they’re making major investment to being ahead of the game and the best of the best. TBS is the No. 1 cable entertainment network, he claims. Brand perceptions don’t happen overnight, but we have arrived.
James Corden interrupts Kevin Reilly’s speech. “I just wanted you to know you got Quiznos back stage: Les Moonves has jumbo shrimp. it’s a better spread.”
Reilly wonders what Corden is doing there [That one’s easy: Drop the Mic]
“I’m just trying too help you out your presentation you like to say is from Madison Square Garden, but this isn’t Madison Square Garden,” Corden says. It’s some room on the side.
Corden begins to rap about Reilly pretending this is not the fifth network he’s run, and getting the hook at Fox, while Reilly stands by the side with his arms crossed.
“I don’t think you’re keeping up with current events,” Reilly says when it’s over.
Corden agrees that it was too harsh, then raps again, about Samtha Bee becoming the “only new news reporter” etc.
Reilly announces Conan deal: 4 years, continuing to do his TBS late night show — no details on reported thoughts about format change – and expands him into digital, pay TV, live tours, etc.
Anderson Cooper comes out after being introduced by a sports video: “I know when you think sports you think Anderson Cooper,” he jokes.
Conan and Shaq join him on stage to be interviewed by Cooper.
Conan steels the show. “Why the hell are you here?!” he asks Cooper. “The republic is hanging by a thread! Wolf Blitzer is back stage eating a scone and you’re hosting this show: ‘Black, White and Even Whiter’.”
“How do they contact you if they suddenly need you, like if Trump just took a shit on the East Lawn? Okay, let’s do this thing, cause this needs to happen.”
Conan mentions how teens went wild for him when he visited South Korea.
“I like when you go places,” Cooper says. “I like seeing you out of the field.”
“You just like seeing me out of the studio,” Conan said.
Yes, we do.
Conan talks about comedy as diplomacy and imperialism. “You don’t have to go overseas for that, sweetie,” Cooper jokes.
Shaq and Conan discuss what famous man they find attractive; Conan has a thing for Tom Brady, seen in a clip playing a video game with Conan during one of Conan’s Clueless Gamer segments. Shaq and Conan agree that they and their dream guys would double date.
“You want in on this?” Conan asks Cooper.
“No. I’m good,” Cooper giggles.
Adult Swim plugs its programs via its most famous computer, who says the presentation is beneath it, because it’s a Very Important Computer. “This is hell,” the computer says… “I’m tired of this. Nothing seem to be working right. This is so dumb it’s breaking my logic circuits.”
Donna Speciale, president of Turner Ad Sales, introduces a testimonial video montage about the “almost like a marriage” relationship of CNN chief Jeff Zucker and other network execs, Conan and other on-air talent, and media buyers.
Followed by the animated cast of Cartoon Network singing about being the place for advertisers to make a lifelong fan.
“This may come as a shock to you, they love to watch commercials too!” they sing.
CNN’s Jake Tapper opens CNN’s portion of the palooza saying on tape that he’s never worked for a news organization that was as committed to telling hard news.
It’s followed by audio-only presentation of various Trump administration figures blasting journalists for perpetrating “fake news” — CNN being the fakest of them all according to the White House. The stage is black except for red lights coming up from the floor. The audio concludes with Trump telling CNN: “You are fake news.” It is a very effective audio.
Lights com up and Anderson Cooper is seen on stage saying “Now, more than ever, our mission is clear; find the gruth, check the facts, hold this in power accountable.”
Wolf Blitzer: “We’ll go wherever the story taks us, whenever the news breaks.”
Erin Burnett: “We are dedicated to delivering all sides of the story.we We aren’t liberals and we aren’t conservatives; we are reporters.”
Don Lemon: “We cannot let up for a minute.”
Dana Bash: “We will nto stop and we will not take ‘no’ for an answer. But we are not the opposition.”
Jake Tapper: “Politicians lie…sometimes they try to confuse the public… what’s news and what’s fake.” Journalists, he said, need to be “be there” and be “worthy” of the First Amendment.
The presentation gets big applause in the hall. But even bigger applause breaks out when Anthony Bourdain takes the stage; he talks about CNN’s Original Series.
Kevin Reilly returns to stage to talk about TNT, touting Michelle Dockery’s ‘Good Behavior,’ ‘Will’ – which Reilly continues to insist is the story of the greatest writer ever and “the world’s first rock star” – etc.
His “biggest project ever undertaken, ‘Alienist,’ is in production and looks extraordinary, Reilly says, promising a “truly cinematic and binge-worthy experience.”
New docuseries from the likes of Morgan Spurlock and Michael Moore are part of a “newly vibrant TNT,” Reilly says.
Segue to a very long clip of 19th cetury-set crime thriller The Alienist, about a criminal psychologist (aka alienist), investigating a series of murders of boy prostitutes.
“I wanted to finish up on a light note,” Reilly says of the serial-murder drama, adding — ironically? — we feel alive at the network, alive at this company.”
That’s a wrap.