TV Upfront

The upfronts download: NBC's annual Mother's Day announcements

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Wednesdays on NBC will be all about Dick Wolf (second from left) this fall, with 'Chicago Med,' 'Chicago Fire' and 'Chicago P.D.' airing back-to-back.
Wednesdays on NBC will be all about Dick Wolf (second from left) this fall, with 'Chicago Med,' 'Chicago Fire' and 'Chicago P.D.' airing back-to-back. Credit: Parrish Lewis/NBC

Welcome to our special pop-up TV upfronts roundup. For the next week I'll be nothing but an upfront girl living in an upfront world. Each day we'll bring you breaking news and some of the best (and worst) of TV's dog-and-pony show. Get it in your email by signing up for the Media Buzz email right here—we're taking it over for the upfronts.

Happy Mother's Day from NBC

There's nothing like celebrating Mother's Day with a press call on NBC's fall programming slate. The peacock said Sunday that it is dedicating a night to Dick Wolf in the 2018-19 season and will lean on reality programming next spring.

NBC picked up five new dramas and two new comedies for next season, with NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt once again emphasizing the stability of the network and the importance of its year-round schedule. With "Thursday Night Football" no longer taking up part of its fall schedule, NBC will use the night as home to its comedies, including "Superstore," "The Good Place" and "Will & Grace."

But perhaps the biggest news for NBC is its move to "save" "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" after it was cancelled last week by Fox.

The joke's on you, advertisers

Jimmy Kimmel will return to roast advertisers at ABC's upfronts on Tuesday after skipping the dog-and-pony show in 2017 as his newborn son underwent heart surgery. Ahead of the presentation, Kimmel spoke with Ad Age about comedy in the Trump era, the future of late-night TV and his biggest influencer (spoiler alert: she watches "Paw Patrol").

Incredible shrinking ads

In between the new shows and the shrimp this week, TV networks will also be pushing their efforts to reduce commercial loads. Perhaps the flashiest of these efforts will come from FX Networks, which is adapting the New York Times' "The Daily" podcast into a weekly series. Aptly dubbed "The Weekly," the show will air with just three minutes of commercials, a 65 percent reduction in ad time.

And over on A&E Network's History channel, scripted dramas and mega-documentaries will air with as much as two-and-a-half minutes less of commercials starting in the fourth quarter. The bonus: A&E's head of ad sales Peter Olsen promises this limited commercial environment will not mean massive price hikes for advertisers.

While nearly all can agree that fewer commercials is a win-win for advertisers and consumers – the math is tricky. So we did some back-of-the-envelope calculations showing just how much more expensive a TV commercial can get in a world with limited commercials.

So long, we barely watched thee

Networks have begun unveiling their programming decisions for next year. It's always fascinating to see shows that average under a 1.0 rating in the demo all of a sudden have a fan base that's bemoaning their cancellations. Fox axed "Last Man on Earth," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and "The Mick" on Thursday and of course Twitter went ballistic. Other series that series that received the heave-ho include: ABC's "Quantico" and "Designated Survivor"; NBC's "Great News" and "Rise"; and CBS' "Kevin Can Wait" and "9JKL."

One network's trash...

While NBC is bringing back "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" after Fox abandoned it, Fox is bringing back "Last Man Standing," which was cancelled last year by ABC. It's likely Fox will use the Tim Allen comedy to fill at least one of the holes left by "Last Man on Earth" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" on Sunday nights.

TheWrap takes a look at every broadcast show renewed, canceled and ordered so far.

Other notes

What's old is certainly what's new again, reboots once again en vogue. Aside from "Murphy Brown," CBS is also reviving "Magnum P.I.," while The CW has picked up a "Charmed" reboot.

Don't miss any of the parties or pitches this week. Here's Ad Age's handy guide.

One event missing from the calendar this year is Adult Swim's infamous party, which has seen Miley Cyrus smoke a joint on stage and Kanye West, be Kanye West. Turner is scrapping the event, instead only hosting Turner-branded events during the week.

NBCU's Telemundo went out early with its upfront pitch. In a live-streamed news conference, Telemundo executives discussed closing the gap with rival Univision, the World Cup and its new programming and digital initiatives, according to Deadline.

A&E also announced last week that during the upfronts it is prepared to strike a few deals that guarantee business results instead of the typical age and sex guarantees.

Variety took a look at what it will take to woo Procter & Gamble's Marc Pritchard during the upfronts.

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