Kimmel slays and Constance Wu jokes abound: Upfronts download
Welcome to our special pop-up TV upfronts roundup. Each day this week we’re bringing you breaking news and some of the best (and worst) of TV’s dog-and-pony show, curated by Jeanine Poggi, senior editor, and delivered directly to your inbox. Get it in your email by signing up here.
ABC was the anchor of Disney’s massive upfront presentation, its first since acquiring assets from 21st Century Fox. But the alphabet network got lost in the more than two-hour presentation filled with some compelling FX dramas, ESPN banter and a performance from the Harlem Gospel Choir to promote National Geographic’s “Genius: Aretha.” Here’s a full analysis of the dog-and-pony show.
Despite finishing last in the seasonal race to scare up the greatest number of viewers in the all-important adults 18-49 demo, ABC has elected to maintain the status quo with its fall programming lineup, slotting in just three new scripted series for the final quarter, Anthony Crupi writes. (Watch the trailers for those here.)
Best of Kimmel
As is typically the case, Jimmy Kimmel’s stand-up was the best part of the presentation. Here are some of the highlights:
“I can’t believe Channing left us for Netflix,” he said, referring to Channing Dungey, the former president of ABC who left for the streaming platform late last year. “What is she? Our viewers?”
“Remember last year when you guys gave Les Moonves a standing ovation? That was funny. How is it possible a network whose logo is literally an eye didn’t see that coming?”
“Fox is now the network equivalent of a divorced dad’s refrigerator…. 18-49 isn’t even their demo anymore, it is the number of people that still work there.”
Disney takes control of Hulu
In an interesting move, Kevin Mayer, chairman of direct-to-consumer and international, opened Disney’s presentation, despite not overseeing programming. Mayer noted that as of Tuesday, Disney has assumed full control of Hulu thanks to a deal to buy out Comcast’s stake in the platform. You can read more about that deal here.
Community (no, not the TV show)
That’s the name of Xandr’s new ad marketplace. Execs from A&T’s ad unit made the announcement during its first upfront presentation on Tuesday morning at Bryant Park Grill. It is debuting with digital inventory from WarnerMedia’s brands, including TNT, TBS, CNN, TruTV, B/R Live, Otter Media and Warner Bros., along with Vice, Hearst Magazines, Newsy and streaming services Philo, Tubi and Xumo. Linear TV inventory is expected to be included later in the year.
It was certainly a bold move for Xandr to make its pitch to agencies and marketers during the same week programming behemoths like NBC Universal and Walt Disney introduce their new content for the fall season. But the pressure is mounting for Xandr as competitors like OpenAP get close to introducing similar offerings.
Xandr’s goal is to enable advertisers to connect with hard-to-reach audiences, regardless of how they engage with content on TV, connected TV, over-the-top, mobile and online. While it isn’t there yet, Community is the first step toward that goal. And it’s worth noting OpenAP’s product seems further along, including TV inventory from the consortium’s members, which include NBC Universal, Fox, Viacom and Univision.
Terry Bradshaw’s upfront gaffe
The “Fox NFL Sunday” host apologized for offensive comments he made about actor Ken Jeong during Fox’s upfront presentation on Monday, Variety reports. Bradshaw referred to Jeong, a judge on Fox reality competition “The Masked Singer,” as “the little short guy from Japan.” Jeong is actually a native of Detroit and his parents were South Korean immigrants.