Fox closed out Day 1 of broadcast TV’s Upfronts Week 2019 from its usual stage at New York City’s Beacon Theatre. Pretty much everything besides the setting was new.
Below are eight things TheWrap took away while in attendance.
Fox Employees Always Clap the Loudest
Whether it is TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour or upfronts, Fox employees always whoop the loudest for their leaders. That trend continued Monday afternoon when new broadcast boss Charlie Collier pretty much called for the claps.
Give the communications professionals a break — it’s not a very easy year to be Fox, which is way slimmed down following the Disney deal.
Charlie Collier Panders to Locals
While plugging his network’s top-notch sports rights, AMC alum Collier (cleverly) called an audible on the New England Patriots helmet and Boston Red Sox logo adorning the digital board behind him. He basically declared the New York Mets and New York Jets champs of their respective current and upcoming seasons.
Good luck with that prediction.
Murdochs Are Here
Goodbye Dana Walden and Gary Newman, hello Charlie. The new Fox Entertainment CEO handled the network’s upfront duties for the first time on Monday and, hey, “no pressure” with Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch in the house. You know, the new Fox boss’s new bosses. Collier was a good sport about it, making the whole nervous joke himself and throwing to the Fox Corporation chiefs in the audience so they could give a quick wave hello.
Shannon Doherty No-Shows
Fox trotted out the cast of “Beverly Hills, 90210” to promote the meta revival’s summer debut. Gabrielle Carteris, Jennie Garth, Brian Austin Green, Jason Priestley, Tori Spelling and Ian Ziering, the gang was all there. Well, except for Shannen Doherty. But don’t worry, the audience was assured Doherty — who was recently announced to be joining the limited series, titled “BH90210” — will be on the show. And she did appear in the cute little teaser Fox rolled before bringing out the OG cast members, just not on stage.
Certainly missed was Luke Perry, the actor behind “90210’s” Dylan McKay, who died last month at 52 years old.
What is happening right now? Fox decided to do a weird five-word bit during their presentation that went on and on and on and on and on (if they get to overuse the number five, then so do we). Here are just a few examples of the ones the network execs and stars dropped: “Passionate Trojans Irish USC Go Buckeyes” (re: Fox College Football, and yes, that one was NOT five); “Ryan Murphy Procedural But Better” (re: “9-1-1-“) ; “This Time, There’s No Virgins” + “Now Featuring Grown-Up Problems” + “You Can Go Home Again” (those three gems re: the “Beverly Hills, 90210” revival); “Audience, Stay Awake, Prize Coming” (from Collier, directed at reporters in the theater).
Here are few suggestions from TheWrap re: this shtick: Do not do this again. Please stop the madness now. Who thought this was smart? Are the upfronts over yet?
Locker Room Talk
Midway through his big event, Fox Sports cameras “caught” Collier backstage wiping his brow with a Mets towel. NFL on Fox reporter Erin Andrews got a few minutes with the channel’s head coach, who vowed to take the rest of the show “one cliche at a time.”
Though some spots worked better than others, Collier remained a good sport throughout.
“Mad Men” Reunion
When Collier introduced a teaser for the new midseason, tech-centric thriller series, “neXt,” he used it as an opportunity to throw it back to his days as AMC network chief. The drama’s star John Slattery came out in character as his old “Mad Men” persona, Roger Sterling — complete with a martini, glasses and a sharp ’60s style grey suit. Cheers to the memories, boys.
Joe Namath Unmasked
Before this whole thing ended, Fox reminded everyone about its new smash-hit singing competition series, “The Masked Singer” — and just how weird it is — by playing a mini round of the guessing game/unmasking on stage. “Masked Singer” host Nick Cannon brought out an old costume from Season 1, The Deer, with a new masked celeb inside it, and had judges Jenny McCarthy, Robin Thicke and Ken Jeong attempt to figure out who was serenading them from under there this time. It turned out to be the former New York Jets’ NFL Hall of Fame quarterback — which was very obvious the entire time.