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Hot Off the Upfront Press...

5/18/2003 08:00:00 PM Eastern

"Nevertheless, there's a vast crapshoot aspect to this process. It stems not only from the lurking insecurities at the heart of any show-biz enterprise, but from an anticipated shift in what viewers will want in coming months. To put that in concrete terms, the general consensus is America finally may be growing sick of reality shows (Yesssss!)."

Kay McFadden, The Seattle Times

"ABC's fourth new comedy, It's All Relative, will air Wednesdays right before The Bachelor. It's just like The Birdcage, the American remake of La Cage aux Folles, only the guy's parents are the uptight heterosexuals and the girl's are two gay guys. We have no idea why that change was made unless ABC was worried that ad execs might be loath to sell pink pills that make you happy on a sitcom about a hetero guy who had been raised by two gay men."

Lisa de Moraes, The Washington Post

"So why, then, would ABC rent out Radio City Music Hall for its upfront presentation this year? Why would it hire 30 or so members of the Broadway musical Hairspray
to do a big dance number from the show, complete with Harvey Fierstein in drag popping out of a giant aerosol can? Why would it hire a seven-piece band and backup singers and have Jim Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in suits, sweating to the oldies in an ear-splitting set to cap off the afternoon? I guess if you're going to lose $300 million, what's another mil thrown at a losing cause?"

Aaron Barnhart, Kansas City Star

"Those who say crime doesn't pay haven't been watching CBS."

David Bianculli, New York Daily News

"Nobody enjoys upfronts week as much as Moonves. Particularly now that his network is the clear No. 1 in viewership and is solidly profitable, the CBS chieftain relishes the chance to kick his opponents while they're down. Wednesday afternoon, Moonves stood behind a podium and regaled his audience with zingers and put-downs that reminded everyone who was top dog."

Aaron Barnhart, Kansas City Star

"NBC, the first network to unveil its plans for the 2003-04 fall season, presented a lineup to advertisers yesterday that appeared to correct some mistakes, perpetuate others and use the final season of Friends, complete with a two-hour finale in May, as its ace in the hole."

David Bianculli, New York Daily News

"During the morning phone news conference, Zucker called it 'the hottest sextet to hit American television in a decade.' He used the expression again during his presentation to advertisers. Maybe he's hoping reporters will use the phrase so that NBC can run ads for the show that say: '"The hottest sextet to hit American television in a decade"—The Washington Post.'"

Lisa de Moraes, The Washington Post, on NBC's Coupling

"A kind of CSI for the William Bennett set."

Alexandra Wolfe, The New York Observer, describing NBC's new Las Vegas.

"WB will continue with too-hip-to-live dramas on four of the six nights it programs, but on Thursdays and Fridays will try to attract more viewers with Reba-esque comedies that seem soooo off WB's "I'm Young I'm Hot You're Not" brand. Maybe it's just not possible to be terminally hip and
scripted funny."

Lisa de Moraes, The Washington Post

"At the upfront, instead of throwing money at showy production numbers that have nothing to do with TV, The WB invested in eye-popping film-quality trailers, the kind that make even the most pedestrian comedy seem like groundbreaking television."

Aaron Barnhart, Kansas City Star

"That's the upfronts for you. The version of network history you get here is like state photography in Stalinist-era Russia, with programs that fell from grace expunged from official memory. There will be scant mention, as the networks announce this fall's surefire hits, of Birds of Prey, Hidden Hills, That Was Then, girls club or any of last fall's surefire hits.

James Poniewozik, Time Magazine

"The WB has an awfully self-important sense of history for a network that went on the air in 1995. Attendees at its upfront Tuesday were greeted with a reel of high points from its eight whole years of existence, from the debut of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the heartfelt Superman stories of Smallville to—well, that pretty much brings us up to date. Of course there was no mention of, say, Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher."

James Poniewozik, Time Magazine

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