Upfronts 2010: Kimmel Turns Jabs to Competition


Jimmy Kimmel was again the life of ABC’s upfront presentation. Although the late-night comedian saved his most merciless jabs for the competition — unlike last year, when his most devastating punchlines were aimed at his own network.

He asked the audience what they thought of Fox’s presentation, which for the second year in a row featured a musical number from the cast of Glee: “Is it me or has Fox finally come out of the closet,” he asked to a low chorus of groans from the audience gathered at Avery Fisher Hall.

Kimmel joked that fourth-place NBC is really trying to keep their entire schedule a secret, better not to draw attention to failure: “I read in the New York Times this morning that Jeff Zucker is building a 400-foot containment dome over the entire fall shedule.”

He riffed on NBC’s decision to cancel the origianl New York-set Law & Order and green light a new version set in Los Angeles: “The last time NBC took a show that was in New York for 20 years and moved it to Los Angeles it wound up as the lead-in to George Lopez.”

Kimmel expressed incredulity over an episode of CBS’ Undercover Boss in which a Hooters manager professed shock that waitresses at the eatery are routinely sexually harassed by customers. “The guy should get an Emmy,” he said, adding, “Here’s some advice for chain restaurants, if your new busboy shows up and speaks English, he’s probably the CEO.”

He lightly ribbed ABC Entertainment Group President Steve McPherson for paying lip service to “breaking the mold” and then ordering a medical drama from Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes.

ABC’s upfront presentation was short and to the point with remarks from Disney/ABC TV Group president Anne Sweeney and new ad sales chief Geri Wang, while McPherson walked attendees through the schedule.

Most of the cast of Modern Family introduced the network’s new comedies.

Lost star Matthew Fox introduced the network’s new dramas as well as a video tribute featuring the cast of Lost reminscing about their time on the show. Josh Holloway, who plays Sawyer, recalled that the cast gathered in a bar to celebrate the ratings for the pilot. “That was the first night I really believed I could throw away my boxes and stick around,” he said.

But Kimmel admitted that he is not such a big Lost fan. In fact the show, with it’s complicated mythology and esoteric plot twists, he said, “is what I imagine it would be like to be trapped inside the brain of Paula Abdul.”