One of the true highlights of upfronts week comes when ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel takes the stage at his network’s presentation and does a stand-up act targeting the TV industry that always leaves the crowd at Lincoln Center howling–sometimes in pain because a joke or two comes at their expense. After the non-stop promotional blather advertisers and journalists alike are forced to ingest in mass quantities, Kimmel’s bracing wit is like the antidote to a hype overdose.
And so without further ado, courtesy of Variety, please enjoy Kimmel’s best TV-themed jabs from his 2011 performance:
** Remember those shows we were so excited about last fall? We canceled all of them. And yet here you are again. I think you might have a gambling problem.
** Every year, you come here, we shower you with promises and never really follow through on any of them. If this was a show, we ‘d call it “The Bachelor”: We tell you we love you, we give you a rose, we canoodle with you in a hot tub, and then two and a half months down the line you realize we’re gay.
** Hey, speaking of gay, let’s hear it for the new head of our network, Paul Lee. Oh, did I say gay? I meant British. And who better to lead the American Broadcasting Company than a English guy with a Korean last name.
** Be honest, what did you think of NBC’s upfront? It’s cute that they’re trying. NBC has a new boss, too, a guy named Bob Greenblatt. Bob is asking for patience while they turn things around and you should be patient–hang on to your ad money for as long as it takes them to get their s**t together.
** But in the meantime, they’ll be selling their ads on Groupon this year. You can get a 30-second spot during “The Office” and a Thai massage for 45 bucks.
** Yesterday the head of NBC thanked God for “The Voice.”…God has nothing to do with what’s going on at NBC. God stopped watching NBC after “Friends.”
** The big news yesterday was that Donald Trump would not run for president so he can focus his energies full time on reality shows. He might host two shows on NBC next year, “The Celebrity Apprentice” and there’s talk he might be asked to host “The Sing-Off,” which would be retitled “The Jerk-Off.”
** Over at the Fox network, they’re getting ready to debut “The X Factor,” a competition show featuring Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. Young people will go on and sing and America wil vote who they think will be champion. I have to say I think this is the best idea…of 2002. It’s like “American Idol” meets a mirror.
** The business of network television is very uncertain right now. Fox, ABC and NBC are all losing viewers to cable and the Internet. And CBS is losing viewers…to natural causes. Did you know that more people die watching CBS than any other network?
** Tomorrow you’re going to hear a lot of bragging that CBS is No. 1, and CBS is No. 1. That’s mainly because viewers can’t remember where they put the remote.
** Everyone knows CBS had a big problem this year. One of their biggest stars, Charlie Sheen, left the network to go…crazy. After a lot of back and forth, a lot of threats and hookers, CBS announced they would move forward to retool the show. And sure enough, they found another tool, Ashton Kutcher. He’s popular, he’s handsome, and he has experience. Remember, he did a very good job replacing Bruce Willis.
** This time around we’re excited about all our shows. Except “Shark Tank.” We have no idea how that got back on the schedule. you know what someone should invent on “Shark Tank?” A replacement for “Shark Tank.”
** We have “Charlie’s Angels,” a show that in the ’70s when I was growing up was hugely popular with male and female audiences. This was a show that women loved because it empowered them during a time in America when the only female role models were moms and nurses. And men loved it because we didn’t have Internet porn yet.
** We have “Wipeout” year-round now. You know, originally all were had was fat people falling down in the summer. But our creative team got together, they looked at them and said, ‘Hey, what if we also had them fall down in winter?’ And winter “Wipeout” was born.
** We’ve got “Pan Am,” a show named after an airline that went bankrupt. What could possibly go wrong with that? It’s set in the ’60s like “Mad Men,” and you know “Mad Men” gets 2.7 million viewers a week. Even if we get half that, that’s more than a million people. Can you imagine being able to reach that kind of audience? I certainly can’t.
** Here’s what it come down to. All of us at ABC from the top down are committed to one thing: keeping our jobs. And so we have no choice but to create quality shows even though its a huge pain in the ass. Here’s the thing: I can’t promise these shows will be good or that these shows wil be successful. But I can promise you that they will be expensive to advertise in.
** On May 30th, we’re premiering a show called “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition.” This is a show where we take people who are too fat for “The Biggest Loser” and make affordable housing out of them. Go to ABC.com and click the link to see the promo for this show. Before the promo, you will see a preroll ad for Red Lobster, specifically Red Lobster “festival of shrimp” with unlimited cheddar biscuits for $11.99. This is a show for the super morbidly obsese. Do you understand that the producers have a one-question application for the show: Have you ever shattered a toilet? If the answer is yes, you’re in. And yet somehow we are able to sell those people cheddar biscuits.