TV Upfront

'I Don't Even Know What Upfronts Are,' Joan Rivers Tells E! Upfront Bash

Kardashians, Seacrest and Jonas Brothers Help Pitch Ad Buyers

By Published on .

The Kardashians, Ryan Seacrest and the Jonas Brothers helped E! Entertainment promote its new look and branding at the network's upfront presentation to advertisers Monday night in New York.

Kim Kardashian, Nick Jonas, Joe Jonas, Kelly Osbourne, Dani Jonas and Kevin Jonas at the E! upfront
Kim Kardashian, Nick Jonas, Joe Jonas, Kelly Osbourne, Dani Jonas and Kevin Jonas at the E! upfront Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/E! Entertainment

The event kicked off with a spoof of the Kardashian sisters, perhaps an effort to defuse occasional criticism of the family. At the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday , for example, Jimmy Kimmel singled out guest Kim Kardashian. "If you're looking for the greatest threat to America right now, she's right there," he said.

The youngest Kardashian sister, Khloe, and her husband, NBA player Lamar Odom, said on Monday that their reality show will go on hiatus so that he could focus on basketball. But last week the Kardashian family renewed its other reality shows for three more years.

The E! event, hosted by Mr. Seacrest, had media buyers and ad execs mingling on plush sofas in Gotham Hall with E! performers and reality-show cast members such as Chelsea Handler, Whitney Cummings, Joel McHale, Kelly Osborne, Ice-T, and newly pregnant Giuliana Rancic and hubby Bill Rancic.

E!, part of NBC Universal, used the presentation to promote new reality programming, including "Married to Jonas," which follows the marriage of Kevin Jonas and Danielle Deleasa; "Mr. . Eastwood," about Clint Eastwood's wife and children; and "Opening Act," the latest singing show from Nigel Lythgoe, a producer on "American Idol."

Suzanne Kolb, President, E! Entertainment; Chelsea Handler of
Suzanne Kolb, President, E! Entertainment; Chelsea Handler of "Chelsea Lately"; Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal; Bonnie Hammer, Chairman, NBCU Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios; Joel McHale of "The Soup" Credit: Larry Busacca/E! Entertainment

Mr. Lythgoe took the stage to explain why "Opening Act" is different from other such shows (including his own).

"It's not a competition," he said. "There's no auditioning or judges or eliminations."

E! will use the premiere of "Opening Act" on June 9 as a springboard for its rebranding effort, which includes the tagline "Pop of Culture."

The network will also focus on expanding its offerings with its first slate of scripted series. It announced before the even that it has nine scripted shows in development.

E!'s ratings , like much of the cable sector, have come under pressure. The network is off 6% in its target demographic season-to-date, according to a UBS report citing Nielsen data.

In his message to advertisers, Mr. Seacrest emphasized digital and multimedia. "Don't think display, think dynamic, liquid advertising," he said.

Joel McHale, host of "The Soup," had a very direct pitch: "To advertisers here -- buy, buy, buy, buy advertising."

But Joan Rivers, "Fashion Police" host and TV personality, really stole the show. "I don't even know what upfronts are," Ms. Rivers joked. She then proceeded to spew profanity and zingers about celebrities, including Taylor Swift, that probably shouldn't be repeated.

Most Popular
In this article: