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ABC's Steve McPherson Cha-Chas for Advertisers at Upfront

Entertainment President Sells Fall Season With Song and Dance

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- ABC made barely a mention of digital media at its upfront presentation. Instead, it made the most of a good old song and dance. The network's entertainment president, Steve McPherson, introduced William Shatner, who plays "Boston Legal's" Denny Crane. Mr. Crane was there to apologize for last year's "sexist" rendition of "Beautiful Girls."
Entertainment president Steve McPherson grabbed a scantily clad ballroom dancer and cha-cha-chaed his way across the stage at ABC's upfront presentation.
Entertainment president Steve McPherson grabbed a scantily clad ballroom dancer and cha-cha-chaed his way across the stage at ABC's upfront presentation. Credit: ABC

Hot guys
Mr. Shatner's own twist on the song this year? The dancers in top hats and tails were not the "Desperate Housewives" but the hot guys on ABC's shows, such as Patrick Dempsey ("Grey's Anatomy") and Matthew Fox ("Lost"). The number drew howls of laughter from the theater. The cherry on top was literally a Cherry on top. "Desperate Housewives" writer Marc Cherry sang the ending from the balcony. "I'll do anything to keep my show on Sunday night," he quipped.

The hilarity did not end there. Mr. McPherson explained that he'd lost a bet with comedian Jimmy Kimmel over who would win "Dancing With the Stars" earlier this season. The wager: Dance the cha-cha in front of a large crowd.

"Never let it be said I welsh on a bet," Mr. McPherson said before grabbing a scantily clad ballroom dancer and cha-cha-chaing his way across the stage. The crowd gave him a standing ovation in return -- much like the one Mr. Cherry received the year before. If reaction to the presentation and parties is any indication of who'll be spending where, all that dancing will translate to ka-ka-ching for the Walt Disney Co. network.

Most talked about shows
As affiliates and advertisers streamed out of the Lincoln Center venue, the most talked about shows were two dramas, "Traveler" and "The Nine." "Traveler" hangs on some terrorist-related themes, such as: What do you do when your friend suddenly blows up a major New York landmark and then disappears, leaving you as the prime suspect?

"The Nine" was also given high marks by attendees. The show follows the effects of one earth-shattering event on nine people as they try to move forward with their lives.

Among the chick shows that always seem to land in the black hole that is Friday night are two surprisingly strong series, "Betty the Ugly" and "Men in Trees." In "Betty the Ugly," a none-too-good-looking girl lands at Vogue magazine and is made assistant to the son of the owner. The one-hour comedy, a U.S. take on a well-known Latin "novela," is from Salma Hayek and Ben Silverman.

'Men in Trees'
"Men in Trees," a drama, from "Sex and the City" writer Jenny Bicks, turns the table on women's never-ending complaints about men to look at life from the point of view of guys in a near femme-free town in Alaska.(See full fall schedule here.)
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