ABC Upfront 2012: Because One Show About a Grown Child Moving Home Wasn't Enough

We're still trying to figure out what ABC's execs were talking about at their upfront presentation when they claimed they were the "number one must-keep" network, but at least they had something resembling a sense of humor about their shows, talking about while their Bachelors may not stay engaged, their viewers are. And then, as usual, they unleashed Jimmy Kimmel, whose show has been on the air for ten years, which is about nine longer than I predicted way back when. He joked to the ad buyers in the crowd that "We don't know what we are doing. We have no idea what people want to see. If we did, we wouldn't have an upfront; we'd just put the shows on the air and you'd just mail us a check." Then he added, "That show Work It... you know we were just kidding about that, right?" Of course, he had to rip on the other networks as well. On NBC: "Spinning chairs and a monkey. This truly is a golden age of television." On Fox's X Factor: "No one knows talent like Britney Spears and Demi Lovato. Britney Spears wanted to be a judge since she's spent the last ten years appearing before them." On CBS: "For the 18-to-49-trips-to-the-bathroom demographic." On The CW's new musical chairs show: "Oh Sit! It used to be called Steaming Pile o' Sit, but they shortened it." Still, his best joke was also at The X Factor and Idol's expense: "I feel bad for Paula Abdul. She's the Rosa Parks of bipolar talent show judges. No one was more dedicated or more medicated." It's a good thing that Kimmel was funny, because none of ABC's new comedies looked amusing at all.

ABC's 2011 Upfront Presentation: Quantity, Yes, But Quality? Not So Much

Instead of leading off with Jimmy Kimmel to get us warmed up and excited about these new shows, ABC's upfront presentation jumped right in, so Jimmy didn't come out to make the obligatory gay/British jokes about his new boss Paul Lee until halfway through the event. Actually, thirty minutes in was perfect timing for him because that was about when I become fairly horrified with the new crop of shows. But even Kimmel seemed off his game, making easy jokes about CBS ("More people die watching CBS than any other network") and NBC ("they'll be selling their ads on Groupon this year") and Fox's X-Factor ("It's like American Idol meets a mirror"). He did get in some decent cracks about the upfronts in general: "Remember those shows that we were so excited about last fall? We cancelled all of them... and yet here you are again. We think you might have a gambling problem." Not unfunny, but he was better in previous years. As for the network's gobs and gobs of new shows? They've been better in years past, too. There wasn't a single one that blew me away or cracked me up the way that Lost or Modern Family had done at first glance.

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