ABC unveiled their line-up yesterday, and released trailers for all their new series last night, and I have to say, beyond “Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.” I wasn’t that impressed with any of their new shows, including the Rebel Wilson comedy, Super Fun Night, which landed the post-Modern Family slot. Once again, they’re pitting two sitcoms against New Girl and The Mindy Project, which didn’t work out so well for them last year with Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B—, but they think with SHEILD as an anchor, they can successfully launch The Goldbergs (a wacky, 80s The Wonder Years with Patton Oswalt narrating) and Trophy Wife, a wacky version of Step-Mom, minus the cancer, with Malin Akerman and Bradley Whitford (it sounds better than it looks, and I know, it doesn’t sound great, either).
There’s a ton of turnover on the schedule, but if there’s anything that the trailers reveal, it’s that all their dramas look the same, and so do their comedies. The buzzword at the ABC upfronts was “branding,” and their new shows look like shows that were created for “branding” purposes. They’re very uniform, especially the comedies, which are brighly lit and heavy on sight gags. They look like single-camera comedies, but they have multi-camera comedy mentalities.
Anyway, as usual, the best thing to come out of the ABC upfronts is Jimmy Kimmel’s introduction, where he basically makes fun of the other networks, and everyone in the room, while also taking their money on behalf of the network. Here’s his five best jokes.
1. “So listen, you don’t know if these shows are going to work. I don’t know if these shows are going to work. Just throw your money in these bags, we’ll pass them around and be done with it. It’s time to stop calling this an upfront and start calling it what it really is. Throwing a bunch of sh*t at a wall to see what sticks. And guess what, you guys are the wall.”
2. “NBC, as you know, is replacing Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show. They did a lot of research and they found that by being #1 in his time slot he was embarrassing their other shows so they had to get rid of him. Jimmy Fallon will replace him. You know, a lot of people still confuse me with Jimmy Fallon. Here’s an easy way to remember which of us is which. He’s the one who sings and plays the guitar, I’m the one who comes here every year and calls you a$$holes.”
3. On Splash: “The reason we’re here is because you are about to invest billions of dollars in a network that rolled a 400-lb. comedian off a diving board last week … Our celebrity diving show Splash didn’t go as well as we’d hoped. But we have a great idea for next season. Next season we’re taking the water out of the pool and calling it Splat.”
4. “The Fox upfront was interesting. With the exception of the problems they’re having with American Idol, there’s a lot to like about their new schedule. Of course, with the exception of the hole in the side of the boat there was a lot to like about the Titanic, too. American Idol will be hard to replace but Fox has one new show with the potential to do it, it’s called Junior Master Chef and the idea is Gordon Ramsay works with 9-12 year old kids. They were originally going to call it Mommy, A Mean British A$$hole Told Me My Pancakes Look Like Goat Dick, but the title didn’t test well with women or goats.
5. NBC is on a roll — oh wait, not a roll. What do you call it? A spiral. It’s important to remember when you cancel one Matthew Perry show, three more rise up to take its place. Things are looking up for NBC since they finally got rid of their worst shows, The Office and 30 Rock. They’re planning a 12-day long game show called The Million Second Quiz. The top prize is $10 million, which is pretty amazing. Not the prize, but the fact that NBC has $10 million … the thing that’s important to remember is that last year NBC made a show starring a monkey and a lot of you bought advertising on it. So clearly none of us have any idea what we’re doing. As the old saying goes, you can’t polish a turd, but you can buy $100M in ad time on it. So let’s do that. Let’s go in on a turd together.”