UPDATED: Jimmy Kimmel kicked off ABC‘s upfront presentation Tuesday at NYC’s Lincoln Center with a filmed bit alongside Scandal‘s Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and Disney/ABC TV President Anne Sweeney. The potshots at NBC also came quickly: “[ABC Entertainment President] Paul Lee isn’t really British – he’s Mexican. We think this is why Univision is beating NBC.” Here’s Kimmel’s full network-roasting upfront monologue:
“You’ve seen what we have so far. By show of hands, we’re going to let you vote one new show off our schedule. Which will it be? I’m happy to be here. I really do enjoy seeing a lot of you every year coming to New York, but I’d really rather not do the whole song and dance number again so listen, you don’t know if these shows are going to work. I don’t know if these shows are going to work. Just throw your money in these bags, we’ll pass them around and be done with it. It’s time to stop calling this an upfront and start calling it what it really is. Throwing a bunch of shit at a wall to see what sticks. And guess what, you guys are the wall.
Related: Live-Blog: ABC’s Upfront Presentation
This is my 11th year coming to this event and so far this is what I’ve been able to determine. This process is very similar to going to a strip club. We parade out the girls which are the shows to get you excited, and then spend the rest of the night trying to get your money, and tomorrow you have herpes.
Every year we tell you we have a dozen great new shows that people are going to love, and you give us millions of dollars and we put them on and most of them suck, but here’s what’s crazy: Next year you’ll come back and do it again. Every year I wonder, what is wrong with these people? Someone needs to talk to them about their spending! Then it occurred to me, maybe this is a good place for me to sell some of my shit. This is an HP printer, inkjet color copier – $20, no power cord. I’m also selling a Palm Trio cellphone, Verizon, $40. Works pretty good. I’ve got three parrot cages available – make me an offer. And finally, this Bud Light Golden Wheat neon sign – classes up any place, yours for only $175.
But that’s not why we’re here. The reason we’re here is because you are about to invest billions of dollars in a network that rolled a 400-lb. comedian off a diving board last week.
This is an interesting time in television history. It’s a time of great change. We’re seeing more diversity than ever before. ABC has a big hit with the first show in almost 40 years on which the lead actor is an African-American woman, and at the same time more and more traditional white male characters are being portrayed as morally ambiguous, dangerous, and self-destructive villains – Walter White on Breaking Bad, Don Draper on Mad Men, Matt Lauer on The Today Show… the list goes on.
And yes, it’s true, every year our audience does get smaller. To which I say every year Apple products get smaller and nobody has a problem with that. One of the shows previewed today was written by a 3rd grade class – your challenge tonight is to figure out which one it was.
This has been a tumultuous year for late night television. NBC, as you know, is replacing Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show. They did a lot of research and they found that by being #1 in his time slot he was embarrassing their other shows so they had to get rid of him. Jimmy Fallon will replace him. You know, a lot of people still confuse me with Jimmy Fallon. Here’s an easy way to remember which of us is which. He’s the one who sings and plays the guitar, I’m the one who comes here every year and calls you assholes.
Related: ABC 2013-2014 Schedule
NBC is on a roll – oh wait, not a roll. What do you call it? A spiral. It’s important to remember when you cancel one Matthew Perry show, three more rise up to take its place. Things are looking up for NBC since they finally got rid of their worst shows, The Office and 30 Rock. They’re planning a 12-day long game show called The Million Second Quiz. The top prize is $10 million, which is pretty amazing. Not the prize, but the fact that NBC has $10 million.
NBC actually finished behind Univision this year, and they have an interesting strategy for next year. Their strategy for next year is to oppose immigration reform.
By the way, how does it work at the Univision upfront? Do they lie to you in Spanish?
NBC isn’t the only one struggling. Yesterday Kevin Reilly admitted it wasn’t a great year for Fox network either, so this season they’re taking a different approach with what they call ‘limited run’ shows. Which, by the way, we’ve been doing for years. 666 Park Ave, Last Resort, Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23 – all limited, very limited.
The Fox upfront was interesting. With the exception of the problems they’re having with American Idol, there’s a lot to like about their new schedule. Of course, with the exception of the hole in the side of the boat there was a lot to like about the Titanic, too. American Idol will be hard to replace but Fox has one new show with the potential to do it, it’s called Junior Master Chef and the idea is Gordon Ramsay works with 9-12 year old kids. They were originally going to call it Mommy, A Mean British Asshole Told Me My Pancakes Look Like Goat Dick, but the title didn’t test well with women or goats.
Then we have CBS, those smug motherfuckers. Les Moonves told CNBC that jokes about CBS skewing old are ‘over’. Sorry Les, but those jokes aren’t over til my grandma throws away her Mentalist hemorrhoid donut. In a way it doesn’t matter because NCIS, Criminal Minds, Tom Selleck dressed as a cop – these are shows for young people! CBS has a new show premiering at the end of the month called The American Baking Competition. That’ll get the kids to put down their iPhones. They’d better be baking pot brownies because otherwise no one under 60 is going to watch.
The line between online and television programming has never been less well defined. It used to be that you watched TV on your couch and web videos were something you watched on the toilet. Now you can watch everything on your toilet. The internet poses a significant challenge. It’s been difficult for young viewers who watch online to embrace traditional content because so many of them are masturbating… but we are very excited about our app which lets you watch live content on your tablet or mobile phone. Mow you need never miss your favorite ABC shows just because you’re driving again.
We have two major new initiatives debuting today. The first is WATCH ABC. We call it this because our market research shows that people did not know what to do with ABC. Do I smoke it? Do I eat it? No you watch it and that’s the message we wanted to send.
The other is ABC Unified. ABC Unified means you can spend less time figuring out how to allocate your ad buy across multiple platforms and more time doing whatever the hell else you people do all day. We believe this is a revolutionary new made-up way for us to take your money.
It was a season of many ups and downs for us here at ABC. Our celebrity diving show Splash didn’t go as well as we’d hoped. But we have a great idea for next season. Next season we’re taking the water out of the pool and calling it Splat.
Then we had Shark Tank, which, let’s be honest, sounded like the worst idea for a show. It’s #1 on Friday nights. If you’re not advertising on Shark Tank you’re missing a golden opportunity to connect with the highly desirable Lonely Failed Inventor demographic.
The Bachelor is still going strong. The Bachelor, of course, is a show based on the theory that one in 25 hairstylists is your soulmate.
Related: ABC New Series Trailers
I just want to take a minute to salute the great Barbara Walters. As you know, Barbara is leaving ABC after more than 50 years, to have a baby. My baby. I love you Barbara. Where is Barbara, is she still here? She left…? Well, we’ll have it terminated.
You have a difficult job this week. You have to somehow figure out which if any of these new shows is going to be successful, which is something we can’t figure out, and we made them. But the thing that’s important to remember is that last year NBC made a show starring a monkey and a lot of you bought advertising on it. So clearly none of us have any idea what we’re doing. As the old saying goes, you can’t polish a turd, but you can buy $100M in ad time on it. So let’s do that. Let’s go in on a turd together.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to seeing you next year, and I return you now to Harry Potter”.
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