ABC Upfront: ‘Roseanne’ Reunion Starts Early and Jimmy Kimmel No-Shows – But With a Note

Upfronts 2017: Plus, “Mayor” star Lea Michele belts out her new single, Beverly Goldberg bakes, and the Backstreet Boys are back!


ABC pitched advertisers its 2017-18 TV schedule on Tuesday, and it actually wasn’t entirely “American Idol” talk from the Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall stage — though there certainly was some of that.

Here are our top seven takeaways from Channing Dungey’s big moment with the media buyers:

“Glee”-ful Start
Lea Michele, the star of new ABC sitcom “The Mayor,” reminded us of two things while kicking off her new broadcast network’s upfront event: 1) That “Anything’s Possible” and 2) Girl can sing.

And then she left. At least the non-sequitur was on key.

Beverly Goldberg Hands Out Schmoopies, err, Cookies…
…in the middle of “Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson’s monologue. It was a bit awkward, and not particularly funny (much like the monologue itself) — but the cookies were pretty good at least. (Fox’s were better, however.)

Hey, Bob Iger and John Skipper Are Here
How wonderful. It was an important show of solidarity, we suppose, especially considering ESPN has been having a rough year. Double-especially if you’re trying to sell ad space across your entire Disney portfolio, as the ABC parent is.

Skipper’s cable net held its own upfront event this morning, when the Worldwide Leader in Sports shared details about what will come from the “Mike & Mike” breakup. Also earlier today, ESPN and ABC jointly announced that Peyton Manning will host the 2017 ESPYS.

Jimmy Kimmel Not “Live”
It was a big bummer to not have mainstay upfronts highlight Kimmel here this year, but the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” host was understandably busy today handling his top priority today: a newborn son. The gifted returning Oscars host did send a letter for all of us, however, which ABC boss Ben Sherwood happily read aloud for those in attendance.

Seacrest, In?
During her lengthy time on stage this afternoon, Dungey officially announced Katy Perry as her first “American Idol” judge. And in an extremely brief teaser for the retooled franchise, Ryan Seacrest did his “This Is ‘American Idol,’” voiceover thing, adding “… on ABC.” So is he actually returning as host? Still probably.

“Roseanne” Reunion Starts Awkwardly
Don’t make Roseanne Barr read a teleprompter. Just don’t. And you shouldn’t trust her to tell a random story, either — especially to a bunch of suits at a fancy industry event. Five of the original and returning “Roseanne” cast members took to the stage midway through today’s event to promote their big comeback, but the plaid couch bit became a bit of a cluster rather quickly.

John Goodman proved he was game for their little live promo, at least. Thank goodness multi-camera sitcoms are written and filmed.

Backstreet’s Back — and Here
In a surprise appearance, all five Backstreet Boys closed upfront event in the name of promoting ABC’s upcoming search for the next boy band, called, of course, “Boy Band.” It felt like 1997 all over again — though ABC had better ratings back then.

CBS’ upfront event takes place tomorrow; CW is set for Thursday.