Upfronts: Jimmy Kimmel says 'Lost' is like being 'trapped inside brain of Paula Abdul'
This was just what this upfront week needed: a visit from Jimmy Kimmel, ABC late-night host and inexhaustible gift for weary attendees slogging through network sales pitches. “We know you have money this year!” Kimmel chided the assembled advertisers who braved a soggy Tuesday afternoon in New York for ABC’s fall-schedule unveiling at Lincoln Center. “We’re losing ‘Lost,’ but the good news is, we’re bringing back ‘Eli Stone,’ ” Kimmel joked. “Watching ‘Lost’ is what I imagine it might be like to be trapped inside the brain of Paula Abdul.”
Kimmel’s stand-up has become the highlight of ABC’s presentation (last year, he told buyers “every year we lie to you”), and this time he offered most of the smiles in an otherwise fairly straightforward event.
Network executives opted not to throw a glitzy party, like the kind Fox whipped up Monday night in Central Park. But then, Fox is finishing the season No. 1 again in the young adults demographic, while ABC is battling NBC for last place. This season’s lackluster overall performance naturally went unmentioned as entertainment overseer Steve McPherson briskly moved through the new offerings.
Once again, ABC seems to be hitting family themes especially hard. The best audience reaction probably came after clips for “No Ordinary Family,” a superhero drama that could perhaps best be thought of as a mix of “Heroes” and “The Incredibles,” and “Better Together,” a loony family comedy that seems reminiscent of CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother.” The network also trotted out some cast members from “Modern Family,” this season’s standout hit, as well as a stage-shy Matthew Fox from “Lost,” who introduced a brief clip of cast members nostalgically recalling the show and its impact.
But Kimmel said that he preferred to look on the bright side. Pessimists are looking at things the wrong way when they say broadcasters are losing ground to cable. “I believe we’re gaining ground on newspapers,” he said.
-- Scott Collins
Photo: Jimmy Kimmel on stage on Tuesday at ABC’s fall-schedule unveiling. Credit: Ida Mae Astute / ABC
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