Laugh Lines at the Upfronts - Broadcasting & Cable

Laugh Lines at the Upfronts

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For all the new dramas unveiled last week, comics were big hits at the networks’ presentations this year.

Jimmy Kimmel began with a knock at a certain network’s penchant for, um, sincere flattery, welcoming all to the 2006 ABC upfront—“also known as the 2007 Fox upfront.”

He went on to joke that Dancing With the Stars might use “actual stars” next season, and he ridiculed the network’s multiplatform bluster, asking, “What the hell are mobisodes?”

Everybody Hates Chris creator Chris Rock promised advertisers that The CW will be a big draw “because we’re going to put a lot more white people on our shows. You know the little black kid who plays Chris on my show? Next season, he’s going to be played by a little white girl.”

And Fox recruit Brad Garrett managed a G-rated gag about his years on CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond and the indignity of having to take “creative notes” from CBS Corp. chief and onetime actor Leslie Moonves—a guy whose “artistic career peaked as Bad Guy #2 on The Six Million Dollar Man.”

Bad Guy #2, however, held his own. Noting that he hadn’t appeared in one of his trademark film parodies at the CBS presentation, Moonves assured the crowd that they’d been spared:

“The other choice was me and Bob Schieffer in our version of Brokeback Mountain.”

But it was Rock who killed the assembled advertisers with the sort of candor that network executives only dream of. Before turning the show over to The CW’s Dawn Ostroff, he said, “You better spend some muthaf---in’ money.” Amen.

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