ABC will resuscitate its much-loved Wonderful World Of Disney brand to finally dive into the hot live-musical space with a The Wonderful World Of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live! special in October. American Idol will undergo ABC-esque format changes in its midseason reboot on its new network. The Bachelor Winter Games will be pitted against Olympics broadcasts, Dancing with the Stars announces a Juniors edition, Roseanne is returning, and new comedy The Mayor joins four new dramas on the schedule.
Oh, and Jimmy Kimmel will be an Upfront no-show, after 15 years as highlight of Upfront Week, with his roast of his bosses, their competitors, and advertisers.
Yup, ABC’s got loads of stuff to talk about at its Upfront presentation, starting now!
Lea Michele kicks things off, dressed in black catsuit and singing upliftingly…
George Stephanopoulos makes cameo appearance in fun opening video in which cast members of various ABC primetime shows try to come up with a new ABC tag. “I ask the questions,” Stephanopoulos insists. “Who are you? What are you hiding?”
‘Blackish’ star Anthony Anderson gamely starts the pitching, with an assist from “Beverly” who’s handing out baked goods. He introduces the “Whitest Person in America, Mr. Ben Sherwood!”
Sherwood says ABC was the first network to stage the very first Upfront presentation, in 1962. “So, on behalf of ABC we’d like to say ‘we’re sorry’.”
Ben Sherwood tells the Lincoln Center crowd that one of the great traditions of the Upfronts is the annual masochistic tradition of Jimmy Kimmel Insults. “Jimmy is where he should be today taking care of his family,” he said, triggering big round of applause for Baby Billy Kimmel.
Sherwood reads letter Jimmy Kimmel asked him to read to Uupfront attendees:
As many of you know, I’m boycotting the upfronts to protest ABC’s cancelation of ‘Dr. Ken’.
I’m very sorry I can’t be there with you, and if you believe that you’re just the kind of ad buyer we’re looking for.
On behalf of my family, thank you for your good wishes. I promise to be there next year with you, on the off chance network television continues to exist.
ABC sales pitch joins previous networks touting the “power of broadcast television” versus other platforms, adding that ABC excels at developing “meaningful moments.” that clip montage includes Kimmel’s show the night he announced his baby Billy was born with a heart disease and “even that son of a bitch Mat Damon sent flowers.”
Kiefer Sutherland, pitched Designated Survivor finale Wednesday night, adding three major characters next season and teased a promise for a “midseason event that I believe will knock the socks off of our audience.” Hope he knows bar was set very high by this week’s real-life Donald Trump reveal of super-secret intel to a Russian ambassador suspected of being a spy, when that ambassador visited the White House the day after Trump fired FBI director because, Trump said, the FBI investigation of Russian election meddling and possible Trump campaign is bogus.
Sutherland introduces ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey. As she was revving up to make announcement of American Idol return, and a couple hours insisted they were still in talks and it was too early to say whether Katy Perry is joining Idol as a judge, ABC sent out email announcing Katy Perry is joining Idol as judge…
Dungey announces ‘Good Doctor,’ about surgeon with autism and savant syndrome, from ‘House’ creator David Shore. Huge applause from the hall.
ABC’s new fall comedy, “The Mayor,” is about a young rapper who runs for mayor of his struggling hometown.
It’s a publicity stunt and he wins, despite being unprepared and in over his head, which totally does not sound familiar….
Dungey intro’s ‘The Gospel of Kevin’ clip, starring Jason Ritter, also plays well in the hall
Very long melange of old ‘Roseanne’ clips, sets up cast appearance on stage to talk about show’s midseason reboot.
“I’d like to be humble for a moment,” says John Goodman. “I can’t! Goddamn we’re funny!” he says of those clips. Roseanne, meanwhile says some random person asked her who ABC was going to get to play her on the reboot, adding, “we thought we were done talking!”… “But we found out we have a whole lot more to say,” added Laurie Metcalf. “This is going to be fun!” Roseanne cackles happily.
“Right about now is when I usually bring out Jimmy Kimmel” Dungey says. “I love Jimmy, and as a parent…I support his decision to be at home with family.”
Calling Kimmel “America’s Host,” Dungey tells upfront attendees that “because he didn’t screw it up too badly” Kimmel will be back to host the Oscars.
Dungey announces straight to series order for new Shondaland drama, the ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ spinoff about firefighters in Seattle. Announcing to the hall that ‘Scandal’ will end after this coming season, she also gave a special shout-out to ‘Scandal’ star Kerry Washington who, Dungey noted, became the first African American woman to topline an American broadcast show in 37 years. Clips of the show include one of then POTUS Obama remarking that things in real White House are maybe more dull than on ‘Scandal.’ Now, maybe, not so much.
Kerry Washington: “We are extraordinarily proud of what we created with ‘Scandal’ on ABC. We are exploring the darker side of politics, relationship, race and power…Yes, we did fix an election, and tell you the government is spying on your – and well before the real election.”
Dungey unveils midseason comedy ‘Splitting Up Together’ based on Danish series, starring Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson as consciously uncoupling spouses.
While newsmag ’20/20′ is sticking at 10 PM on Fridays, a night that otherwise will be a destination for science fictions fans, Dungey said of ‘Once Upon a Time’ move to 8 and that night, and new ‘Marvel’s Inhumans’ at 9.
Clips shown for Kyra Sedgwick stars as an overworked television producer in new Sunday show ‘Ten Days In The Valley’; and Zach Braff got a good crowd reax for new midseason comedy ‘Alex, Inc.’
Hall loved new midseason ‘Lost’-ian drama ‘The Crossing’ about refugees from a war-town America in the future who seek asylum in a current small U.S. fishing town.
Dungey sets up a “power of live” clip package, including, Princess Di death anniversary special, and summer’s search-for-next-boy-band reality competition series ‘Boy Band,’ which segues to that show’s host Rita Ora coming out on stage, to introduce 90’s boy band Backstreet Boys, who perform advertisers out.