NBC kicks off Upfront Week Presentation Palooza this morning, at Radio City Music Hall.
Among the things to look for: NBC pitching to advertisers the re-launch of its Thursday “Must See TV” brand, with the reboot of Will & Grace, promise of Tina Fey appearances on Great News’ Season 2 eps, the move of hit drama This Is Us to Thursday at 9 PM, and Dick Wolf’s take on The Menendez Murders. Also, NBC execs will explain the un-cancellation of Timeless.
Will NBC News’ new star Megyn Kelly make an appearance? And will an NBC late-night star step into the void left by ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, who is taking a break from his much loved Upfront orgy of advertiser-and-network mockery after 14 consecutive years.
About to start:
NBC brings out new The Voice coach Jennifer Hudson to kick off its presentation which the network is modestly billing as “unequaled.” Nice touch, reminding advertisers ABC does not have her for its reboot of American Idol next season.
“I’m here to swallow gum and take names!” Melissa McCarthy as SNL’s White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer gets the big laugh in the opening clip montage.
NBCU advertiser chief Linda Yaccarino says she thought about running on stage, a la Olympics, but decided “I don’t need a torch because the company already is on fire.”
Upfronts, she says are about one thing: “Selling Your Stuff….Let’s talk about why all of our stuff sells all of your stuff” better than anybody else.
In maybe a nod to, maybe Fox News Channel?, she makes a big pitch on “brand safety.” “You never have to worry about your brand showing up next to something objectionable” on NBCU. She acknowledged, it’s a low bar, but added slyly: “and some companies can’t even do that.”
“SNL’s best season in over 24 years” gets first round of applause in the hall; NBC alum/President of the United States Donald Trump tweet to come….
Will & Grace musical video features Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally, Sean Hayes, singing about “a world to rediscover in our sitcom-sized apartment we could never afford.” “Everything’s as if we never said goodbye!” they sing. Audience agrees.
“So glad to have this Must See TV show coming back!” Superstore star America Ferrera enthuses of the Will & Grace return, while we take imaginary bets as to how many times “Must See TV” is going to be said in the course of this presentation.
Telemundo, Universal Kids – The Network Formerly Known As Sprout – E! get time on stage. E! touts People’s Choice moving to network.
“We really like to keep a low profile,” Kim Kardashian jokes, as advertisers madly photograph the unequaled NBCU Upfront Moment. She has shown up to tout baby sister Kyle’s new E! show, Life of Kylie.
Andy Cohen and Bethenny Frankel trot out
Keeping It Real Estate, Love Italian Style, and next season of Imposters.
So far, this NBCU upfront presentation has been scripted to within an inch of its life.
Even Cohen stays on strictly to script as he tells advertisers his network has greenlit All that Glitters, which he describes as “the actual events behind Anna Wintour and Tina Brown’s ruthless rise to the top of the magazine publishing world.”
Jason Blum introduced a sneak peek of his series version of The Purge, the highly successful genre franchise that will continue as a feature, for USA and Syfy which he described as “about an America much like the one we live in today” except one day a year when all crime is legal so “you either lock yourself up and hope for the best or go out in the street and avenge an injustice done to you.” He noted the series is being launched concurrent with the fourth film in the franchise which he claimed was a first.
Bill Pullman and Jessica Biel introduced to advertisers their USA Network crime thriller anthology, The Sinner. In a refreshing moment, Pullman went rogue after stumbling over the pitch script for USA’s new drama Damnation:
“Damn it! It’s Damnation!” he blurted. “It’s a damn epic saga about the secret history of 1930’s American war between the haves and the have-nots!” Audience seemed to appreciate the break in the canned commentary.
“Hi everybody — I already hugged them,” NBC News on-air talent
Megyn Kelly told advertisers, making her debut Upfront appearance as an NBC News employee. She was talking about Matt Lauer, Savannah
Guthrie and Lester Holt on stage. “What a great time to be at NBC. I’m
here! I’m psyched!” She said she was “honored to join this historic —
and winning — team. Unbelievable numbers!” she enthused, sounding
uncomfortably like her former Fox News Channel colleague Donald Trump. She revealed nothing new about her new weekday 9 AM show, taking over the Today timeslot formerly hosted by Billy Bush. Her show, she said, would “inform” and “empower people…to help them Settle For More in their lives” – notice the book plug?
“I’m so happy to be with all of
you” Kelly said, to the NBC News team on stage, telling advertisers, “We’ve been friends for a long time – and now on with the show.”
Jennifer Lopez takes Best Dressed at NBC’s Upfront presentation, introducing a look at NBC’s new dramas. Big applause for The Brave, Menendez Murders. and Rise.
Seth Meyers is brought out to resuscitate advertisers as the presentation closes in on two hours:
With Donald Trump in the White House, this is being called the post-truth era, Meyers said, but, in truth, “The Upfronts have been post-truth from the beginning!” Meyers said.
on what is promised and what delivered, this week is the definition of fake
NBC talks about its new programs the way Trump talks about
health care, Meyers observed: “You’re
going to have the best shows, it’s going to be amazing.”
“I just showed up. Has anybody mentioned This Is Us?” the NBC late-night star snarked, noting it’s the first NBC show in 13 years to be the top program of
the week. “Maybe a better name: This Is Unlike Us,” Meyers suggested.
“I also want to talk about rest of NBC schedule or, as Bob Greenblatt
calls it, This is Our Other Shows.
Meyers announced a new coach had just been confirmed for The Voice: Merrick
Will & Grace is being revived “and when he heard about
that, someone had to revive Mike Pence,” Meyers said, adding that he was glad NBC kept the show’s original name which he’d assumed would be changed to Chicago: Gay.
The Despicable Me minions perform a lively Gilbert & Sullivan-esque plug for Despicable Me 3.
And that’s a wrap