Friday Wake-Up Call: Upfront pitches come to an end (TGIF)

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The CW Network's 2018 upfront presentation at New York City Center on Thursday. Pictured (from l.): Sarah Jeffery, Madeleine Mantock and Melonie Diaz, stars of a new version of 'Charmed.'
The CW Network's 2018 upfront presentation at New York City Center on Thursday. Pictured (from l.): Sarah Jeffery, Madeleine Mantock and Melonie Diaz, stars of a new version of 'Charmed.' Credit: John P. Filo/The CW

Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. What people are talking about today: It's a wrap. The 2018 TV upfronts presentations are over, and Ad Age's Jeanine Poggi is out with her annual predictions on the hits and misses among the crop of new 2018-19 shows. (And let's just say that "new" is a relative term, given all the reboots.) There will likely be surprises, as always. "Let's get this over with: We blew it last year in predicting that ABC's reboot of 'Roseanne' would flop," Poggi writes. But at the upfronts a year ago, the show had plenty of skeptics.
Poggi says that CBS' reboots of "Magnum P.I." and "Murphy Brown" are among the possible hits, as is the updated "Charmed" on the CW, along with a tearjerker from ABC ("A Million Little Things") and a drama from NBC ("The Village.") She's not so impressed with the prospects of a dramedy about an FBI agent code-named … Whiskey Cavalier. As Poggi writes:

ABC's "Whiskey Cavalier" is already marked for death thanks to Jimmy Kimmel … "It took a while, but we finally came up with a title that's worse than 'Cougar Town,'" the late-night host quipped.

Read Poggi's full take here; she helpfully includes trailers for your Friday viewing pleasure.
Meanwhile: The CW says it's expanding into Sunday nights with "Supergirl" and the "Charmed" update, as Ad Age's Anthony Crupi writes. Unlike other networks looking to compete for viewer attention in the Netflix era, the CW says it has "no formalized plan to limit our advertising."

The end: Jeanine Poggi's doing one more pop-up newsletter about the upfronts later today (sign up here.) Next week, Ad Age's Media Buzz newsletter will return as usual.

A new start?
Fox News just named its first female CEO: Suzanne Scott, who has worked there since its founding, as Bloomberg News writes. Fox seems to be trying to break with the past after the sexual harassment scandals involving Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly. As CNN's Reliable Sources newsletter notes, "at the moment she is the only woman in charge of a major TV news organization." But there's some nuance to this story. The Daily Beast writes that "Scott was named in multiple ex-network stars' lawsuits as having played a role in upholding ex-CEO Ailes' culture of sexual harassment and discrimination." The Beast notes that Scott has denied those accusations. And it quotes Fox News as saying that since Ailes' departure, Scott has worked to reform the company culture, including with diversity and inclusion councils and "mandatory annual in-person sexual-harassment training."
A skeptical take: The Guardian's snarky headline is "Meet Suzanne Scott: the new Fox News CEO who enforced the 'miniskirt rule'" (as in, requiring female employees to wear short skirts).

1,2,3 testing
Facebook Stories is 14 months old, it claims 150 million daily users, "and now it's time to earn some money off it," TechCrunch writes. Testing of ads started yesterday in the U.S., Mexico and Brazil on Facebook's Snapchat-esque Stories feature. The ads are 5 to 15 seconds, and they're skippable. As TechCrunch notes:

"Instagram Stories also started showing ads when it hit 150 million users, though that was just five months after launch, while it's taken Facebook Stories 14 months to get there."

Out of curiosity, why is 150 million the magic number here?

Campbell's is sharing a recipe for something it dubs Royal Wedding Soup; there are pieces of zucchini floating in it, "which the brand claims to be one of (Meghan) Markle's favorite vegetables," Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli writes. Huh. Prince Harry weds the "Suits" actress this weekend, and brands are getting into the #RoyalWedding hype in ways ranging from confusing to cute. (But seriously, check out the SodaStream limited edition bottles that have tiny royal-looking fascinators as caps. Adorable, right?)

Just briefly:
The CBS saga:
In the latest development over CBS's tussle with its controlling shareholder, "the board voted to strip National Amusements President Shari Redstone and her family of their voting control over the media company," The Wall Street Journal writes. But Redstone says they didn't get enough votes to do so. To be continued.

"Catfish": MTV suspended "Catfish: The TV Show" as it looks into sexual misconduct allegations involving the program's host and executive producer, Nev Schulman, The Daily Beast reports.

Cardi B: The hip-hop star replaced the voice of Alexa in Amazon's Super Bowl ad (and failed at the task, hilariously). Soon she'll star in a YouTube marketing blitz for its updated music streaming service, Bloomberg News reports.

Good question: When Google CEO Sundar Pichai demonstrated how an AI voice assistant could phone in a restaurant reservation and a salon appointment, was that for real? Axios wants to know whether it called real businesses or not. And it points out a few reasons why the demos seem suspicious.

Excuse me?: A barista at a Starbucks in California gave a Hispanic customer a cup of coffee with the slur "beaner" written on it instead of his name, NBC4 reports.

'Mistakes were made': Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae and Sarah Silverman have a few mutant floating hands and legs on GQ's comedy issue cover. The magazine was poking fun at a famous flub by its Condé Nast sibling publication, Vanity Fair. Read more by Ad Age's Simon Dumenco.

Tweet of the year?: The official Air Force Twitter account actually tweeted this: "The Taliban Forces in Farah city #Afghanistan would much rather have heard #Yanny or #Laurel than the deafening #BRRT they got courtesy of our #AR10." Ad Age's George Slefo looked into it. The tweet's gone now, obviously.

Calling small agencies: Fourteen top agency executives and creatives have signed on to judge Ad Age's Small Agency Awards. See who they are here.

Creativity pick of the day: A Kit Kat vending machine in Sao Paulo distributes free chocolate—but not to everyone. As Ad Age's Alexandra Jardine writes, "The machine scans their boarding passes, then recognizes if their flight is on the delayed list and delivers the candy bar." It's a campaign from JWT Brazil. Check it out here, and happy Friday.

You can get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app.

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