Turner’s choc-a-bloc Upfront presentation at Madison Square Garden this morning was moderated by CNN talent. CNN star Anderson Cooper and TBS late night star Conan O’Brien competed to see who was the palest, and Cooper bragged that, “with all due respect to TNT, there has been more drama on CNN this year than anywhere else on television.

Samantha Bee Turner upfront 2016TBS’ other late-night star Samantha Bee pitched media buyers on the idea of coughing up $100K so she could become a sponsor of the GOP convention in Cleveland which she promised would include a huge banner ad with her image and their company name, which CNN would show often during its wall-to-wall coverage of the clambake, during which she forecast presumptive nominee Donald Trump would again brag about the size of his penis and House leader Paul Ryan would be seen mulling whether to end it all.

Here how it unfolded:

Lisa de Moraes May 18, 20167:45 am

Turner’s Upfront presentation kicks off with CNN’s biggest star Anderson Cooper and TBS late-night host Conan O’Brien, who says his show’s sponsors include Kevin Reilly’s Career Ziplines.  

Conan to Cooper – two of the palest men in TV: “This is the only time in my life I feel like I’m ethnic. Suddenly I’m Latino, it’s fantastic!”

“Why are you even doing this, Anderson? You were covering two presidential primaries last night, helping Americans choose the next leader of the free world. This morning you’re shilling for the Powerpuff Girls.”

After the comedy routine is over, CNN’s favorite fake-news comedy duo, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash ruminate on what they just saw. Just a few days earlier they’d done same for ABC late night host Jimmy Kimmel when he announced he was running for VPOTUS.

Jake thinks the comedy bit played well in the hall, but Dana, who tends to cut to the chase, said it may have to do with so many in the venue being employed by Turner. Tapper says he’d kill for some of Conan’s sponsors. 

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Turner’s sales honcho Donna Speciale announces that in Turner’s world “A view is at least 30 seconds – not 3.”

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Kevin Reilly takes the stage, noting that when he came to Upfront last year he was new to the company and had little but “a respectable wad of cash to wave around Hollywood.”
Touting the results, he opens with Angie Tribeca, which will launch its second season on June 6. Reilly said to expect two seasons launches in the same calendar year on other programs as “we continue to screw around with” the traditional TV model.
He mentions Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal and gets applause.
Conan is doing some of the best work of his career –  excepting  today’s Upfront presentation, Reilly joked. Conan’s international road trips have performed well and, going forward, they will be moved to primetime in ’17.

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Samantha Bee takes the stage to talk about the election. Premiering during this election cycle has been a “f*cking gift from heaven,” she said.  She asks advertisers to help her raise $100K which is all it takes to become a sponsor at the GOP convention in Cleveland. “For only $100K I can become an actual sponsor and get banner space on the floor of the convention, and in every CNN wide shot, while Turner’s cable news network is doing its election cycle wall-to-wall coverage of the presumptive nominee Donald Trump bragging about his penis and House leader Paul Ryan mulling ending it all with a gun.

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“I know you think I’m kidding, but I’m not,” Bee tells media buyers, in re becoming a GOP convention sponsor. She said she’s “dying” to go, and she’s going to buttonhole them to discuss, at the party to follow.

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Reilly turns to TNT, promising a “big dose of anti-establishment shows that will attract women, while not scaring off male viewers, because men scare easily.” To illustrate, clips follow of Good Behavior, featuring Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery brandishing a big gun and pointing it at people, chain smoking, counting vast sums of money in a briefcase which is code for “ill-gotten.” It’s disconcerting.

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Reilly shows clip of Alienist which he promises will be marquee programming.

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Reilly shows Will clip — hot, young, troublemaker William Shakespeare. Media buyers approve

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Turner segues to Cartoon Network debate, featuring Powerpuff Grils, moderated by Drake Dapper, voiced by CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Anderson Cooper gets to follow that.

Denise Petski May 18, 20168:28 am

Anderson Cooper and Conan O’Brien chatting it up ahead of the upfront 

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CNN’s Anderson Cooper: “If someone pitched [election cycle] to Reilly, he would have thrown them out of office, and rightly so. You could not have made it up.” He  bragged that “with all due respect to TNT, there has been more drama on CNN this year than anywhere else on television.”

Cooper throws to clip of the more WTF moments, and banners suggesting CNN will continue with its flood the zone political coverage through the new president’s first 100 days, so consider yourself warned.

CNN, Cooper crowed, is the “only network both parties been willing to work with.”  And, he insisted, there is no such thing as overkill “on a story that changes every hour, and sometimes every minute.” Thanks to CNN’s political coverage, including owning most of the debates and town halls, CNN is this year enjoying its “most watched primetime in its history.”

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Anthony Bourdain, whose CNN series Parts Unknown next year will debut Seasons 9 and 10, said he’s often asked how his culinary themed show fits in on the news network. “For me it’s simple…we cover the globe, telling stories of our time.”

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truTV’s Adam Ruins Everything Adam Conover takes the stage:  “Everywhere I go on media business, I hear one thing over and over: ‘TV is dead Digital is the future.’

“Screw all of that,” said the YouTube star turned truTV star. “Television rules. The internet is wonderful and it’s where Adam Ruins Everything got its start, but our show is proof…TV is where the magic happens. In my decade making web content, I amassed millions of view, but only 2,000 Twitter followers and was mostly being paid in mean comments….As a former millennial YouTube star: Thank god I am on truTV now.”

Denise Petski May 18, 20168:39 am

Anthony Bourdain and Charles Barkley, TNT NBA analyst, as they arrived this morning.

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Conover touts truTV’s campaign to reduce its ad load.

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Billy on the Street star Billy Eichner take the stage. Hello! What’s up! This presentation is just flying by.  What a treat it was to see footage from 9/11.” he opens.
He noted he struggled on YouTube for years “before finally getting a show on TV which people watch on YouTube.”
truTV execs asked him to come out and say TV is not dead, he said.  “It’s not dead. It has about three years to live.”

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Billy Eichner: “In this era of streaming and chord cutting, truTV is fighting back with more shows about people being tricked in malls. “

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Billy Eichner: “Just this week, New Yorker published six page profile of me and Billy on the Street…Does the New Yorker reader watch TV?”

“In conclusion, the question ‘Is television dead is a silly quesiton. It’s more stupid than not giving Samantha Bee The Daily Show. That was really stupid!..At the end of day it’s all about good content…truTV is the same as YouTube except you can’t control what you’re watching.”

Denise Petski May 18, 20168:56 am

Here’s Eichner, looking dapper, ahead of the upfront presentation.

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CNN’s Wolf Blitzer closes out Turner’s Upfront; “What an Upfront. Let’s give everybody a round of applause,” Blitzer monotones.

That’s a wrap.

Denise Petski May 18, 20169:02 am