Jimmy Kimmel was back at the ABC upfront presentation this year, and after taking a year off from the annual confab with advertisers, he was on fire. Kimmel, who missed last year’s event following the birth of his son Billy (who just celebrated his birthday and is doing well, he reports), took the stage at Lincoln Center and took on Fox, NBC, CBS and more. But he saved some of his sharpest jabs for his home network.
The “Jimmy Kimmel Live” host had fun with the departure of “Grey’s Anatomy” uber-producer Shonda Rhimes to Netflix, and couldn’t resist making fun of the title to new drama “Whiskey Cavalier” — so much that when the show’s actual stars (Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan) came out later, they appeared a bit flustered.
Here are some of the choice highlights from this year’s Kimmel appearance:
“Unlike last year, we’re not in last place, that honor goes to Fox, New Fox — now with ‘JAZ Pods.’ [A term Fox coined for a new advertising configuration.] That sounds like something you’d use to wash leotards. The reason Fox is calling them ‘JAZ Pods’ is they wanted to find a way to shorten commercial breaks and appropriate black culture at the same time.
“Fox needs help, they canceled ‘Lucifer’ and ‘The Exorcist.’ They can’t even make a deal with the devil.
“And help is on the way. Disney, our company, is in the process of buying [21st Century Fox assets]. It seemed to be a done deal, but then last week Comcast, like the surprise ex-boyfriend who shows up on ‘The Bachelorette’ right before she’s about to be engaged, Comcast shows up and weasels its way into our business. We got Peacockblocked, which is what happened.
“So now it looks like there could be an epic bidding war. Mark my words, if theres a war, Bob Iger will prevail. He’ll just charge it to his ‘Black Panther’ card.
“We have a lot riding on this merger. We cant lose Fox and Shonda Rhimes in one year. As you know, Shonda has decided to part ways with ABC, she is moving on and it’s a shame. Shonda is an amazing talent who changed the face of this network. And now that she’s leaving, I can honestly say on behalf of everyone here at ABC who worked with her for so long, we hope she rots in hell.
“Very sad to see Shonda leave, but you know how the saying goes: ‘When one door closes, you’re fucked.’
“We’re going head first into ‘Roseanneistan.’
“‘Roseanne’ is the No. 1 show as we’ve heard repeatedly, so everyone who says Hollywood is out of new ideas, we’re not. It’s just one of our new ideas was to Google, ‘what were our old ideas?’
“No one at ABC expected ‘Roseanne’ to be a big hit. But to be honest, we don’t expect any of our shows to be hits.
“But ‘Roseanne’s’ success proves that the older and crazier you are the more the audience likes you. That’s why we’re so proud to announce our new series, ‘Gary Busey Proves That 9/11 Didn’t Happen.”
“Our new strategy is resurrecting old crap. That said, I have three words for you: ‘Who’s the Boss.’ I mean, literally, who the hell is running this network?
“We’re not the only one doing greatest hits, everyone is doing it. ‘Will & Grace,’ ‘Fuller House, ‘Murphy Brown’ at CBS. That’s right, CBS knows what Millennials want and they’ll be damned if they give it to them.
“I have to admit, I’m excited about ‘Murphy Brown.’ I think it’s exciting to see anything brown at CBS.
“NBC, they’ve been talking about rebooting ‘The Cosby Show,’ but obviously they’re not going to call it that. They’re calling it ‘The Bad Doctor.’
“They’re also recycling shows that other networks throw away. Fox is reviving a canceled ABC show, ABC and NBC are reviving canceled Fox shows. This is what’s known in the industry as a ‘failure orgy.’
“You cancel show it doesn’t mean anything any more. It’s like the McRib.
“Sometimes enough’s enough, you have high hopes for a show and they just don’t pan out. America will not see a fourth season of ‘Quantico,’ in the same way that it didn’t see the second and third seasons of ‘Quantico.’
“We canceled a show called ‘Deception,’ a show about a magician who uses magic tricks to help solve crimes. Which is a shame because it was such a good idea.
“We even canceled ‘Marvel’s Inhumans.’ Somehow we managed to have the only unsuccessful project with the word ‘Marvel’ in its title. It had never been done before.
“But this year is going to be different, this year is going to be so great. That was a joke.
“We’ve got three new comedies and five new dramas. But I’m going to warn you, some of the comedies aren’t that funny. But some of the dramas are hilarious.
“We also have a new reality dating show called ‘The Proposal.’ The idea of the show is contestants compete and marry someone they haven’t met. It’s ‘The Bachelor’ without ‘The Bachelor.’ It sounds like less a reality dating show and more like a thinly veiled sex trafficking operation.
“Nathan Fillion is back with a new cop show called ‘The Rookie,’ which is great news if you were worried that your Aunt Joanne wouldn’t be horny enough this fall.
“We’re also picking up a show called ‘Whiskey Cavalier,’ which is exciting because it took a while, but we finally came up with a title worse than ‘Cougar Town.’
“‘Whiskey Cavalier’ is described as a ‘high-octane hour-long action dramedy that follows the adventures of tough-but-tender FBI agent Will Chase, whose code name is ‘Whiskey Cavalier.’ Should we cancel it now?”