During Seth Meyers’ set wrapping up NBCUniversal’s Radio City Music Hall Upfront Week presentation, he noted, “Being in this room, there’s a real Academy Awards vibe, and I have to say, the only thing that’s missing is a viral moment. And when I think about viral moments, no one’s better at that than Ellen DeGeneres. And because her show is seen on all of the NBC-owned stations, and over 70 affiliate stations, and because she’s the EP of NBC’s Little Big Shots, we asked her if she could be here today and she said ‘no.’ Right away, a hard ‘no.’ We didn’t even get to the end of the question; she knew where it was going. A hard ‘no.’ ”
Ellen instead sent a video message to media buyers assembled at Radio City Music Hall. “I want to be there. I do. So much! But I have this thing at this place and so on,” she explained, informing them she has sent “the next best thing” by way of introducing Saturday Night Live‘s Kate McKinnon, as Ellen.
“So let me get this straight: There’s more than one Ellen now?” Meyers asked.
“Yes, Seth. We got a bunch of scientists together and we cloned me, so now there’s an Ellen in every major American city. It’s like Chick-fil-A but more gay-friendly,” McKinnon joked.
For her famous 2014 Oscar-hosting selfie, Actual Ellen had wrangled Jared Leto, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Lupita Nyong’o, Bradley Cooper, and photo-bombing by Kevin Spacey.
McKinnon’s Ellen-esque selfie, at NBCU’s clambake, included (left to right) Ian Ziering, Sharknado: The 4th Awakens on Syfy; Dennis Haysbert, Incorporated on Syfy; Jeni Pulos, Jeff Lewis, Flipping Out on Bravo; Andy Cohen, Watch What Happens Live on Bravo; McKinnon; Maya Rudolph, Martin Short, Maya & Marty on NBC; Kyle Richards, The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills on Bravo; Kenya Moore, The Real Housewives Of Atlanta; (top row) Sophia Bush, Chicago P.D. on NBC; Jennifer Lopez, Ray Liotta, Shades Of Blue on NBC; Gabriel Macht, Suits on USA; John Cena, WWE on USA; Maria Menounos, Jason Kennedy, E! News on E!; Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Malcolm Barrett, Timeless on NBC.
The gag closed out NBCU’s upfront presentation, which had been opened by Meyers’ late-night lead-in, Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon. Meyers gave a nod to Fallon, complaining that, despite the room’s “Academy Awards vibe” he’d mentioned, “If I had to follow Linda Yaccarino and the Future of Branded Content, I have to think it would affect my ratings.
“I’ve always dreamed of performing on this stage. In the dream, it wasn’t for Upfronts,” Meyers quipped. Among those who have performed at the hall, he said: Sinatra, Beyonce, “Parton and Greenblatt” – a reference to last year’s Upfront, when NBC Entertainment Group chairman Bob Greenblatt played the piano for Dolly Parton’s performance. “I might be wrong, but I think that’s the last time they performed together,” Meyers quipped.
“Watching the sizzle real for a new show is like seeing your brother’s new girlfriend at Thanksgiving. She seems great…but chances are she won’t be around next fall.”
“Did we order that cupcake show with Mark Lazarus? I don’t know how we get 22 episodes out of it. What’s the opposite of ‘chemistry’? They are the modern Parton and Greenblatt.”
“I got turned down for my idea for a crossover between The Voice and Blindspot, where Adam Levine finds out what his tattoos are about.
“E has Fashion Police – the only police force that disproportionately targets white people.”
“This is the first time NBC and Telemundo are here for one Upfront and, depending on the outcome of the presidential election, it may be the last. It may be hard to hear each other over Trump Wall.”