Jimmy Kimmel Roasts Bob Iger at Disney Upfronts Over Rumored ABC Sale: When People Test the Waters ‘They Don’t Drown Their Children’

The late night host also likened former CEO Bob Chapek’s “short union” to the failed “Golden Bachelor” marriage

Jimmy Kimmel host the 96th Annual Academy Awards
Jimmy Kimmel host the 96th Annual Academy Awards (Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Audiences for The Walt Disney Company’s annual upfronts presentation were warned that Jimmy Kimmel wouldn’t be holding back in his roast of the company, and he made good on that promise. Kimmel ended the Tuesday afternoon session by going after everyone, from current CEO Bob Iger to former CEO Bob Chapek.

One of Kimmel’s first pointed jokes of the afternoon was about the rumored ABC sale that made headlines in 2023. “Bob tried to sell us last year. He put us up for sale, and, as if that wasn’t bad enough, no one wanted to buy us,” Kimmel said. “Once no one was interested, Bob explained that he didn’t literally want to sell us, he was just testing the waters for Wall Street.”

“You know, Bob, usually when people test the waters, they dip in a toe. They don’t drown their children,” Kimmel said.

The late night host also took a swipe at Chapek, Disney’s former CEO and Iger’s successor once upon a time. Chapek ran the company from 2020 until he was dismissed and replaced by Iger in November of 2022.

“As you know, Gerry [Turner], ‘The Golden Bachelor,’ and his bride Theresa [Nist] decided to end their marriage after a very short union, same as what happened with Chapek,” Kimmel said. The comedian went on to call the whole season of “The Bachelor” spin-off “a complete jerk off” even though it was “so popular.”

Kimmel then took some time to roast some of ABC’s biggest competitors, many of whom have been hosting their own upfronts this week. He praised CBS for being the most-watched network: “They don’t have an upfront anymore, so let’s give them a round of applause. But do it loud so their audience can hear it.” He also said that there were “more FBI agents on CBS than were at Diddy’s house.”

As for NBC, Kimmel likened the long-running network to “a guy who buys a boat and he paid a lot of money for the boat and he’s always posting pictures of the boat … that’s NBC with the Olympics.”

Speaking on classic networks, Kimmel revealed that he loved the “old dogs” of Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery teaming up to take out the “young guns” of Netflix, Amazon and Apple.

“I have to say, I haven’t seen this much corporate bonding in this business since last summer when they all worked together to starve the writers,” Kimmel said. The WGA joke earned gasps from some of the room, as well as cheers and applause from others. “Thank you, ultra liberal portion of the audience,” Kimmel noted.

He also mocked the increase of bundles. Disney previously announced a sports streaming bundle with Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery, as well as a streaming bundle with WBD that will include Disney+, Hulu and Max.

“While from the outside this may look like an act of desperation, from the inside it also looks like that. We didn’t want to bundle. We had to,” Kimmel said, comparing it to choosing between freezing to death or sharing a sleeping bag with your uncle. “You’ve seen our churn rates. This is not just churn. It’s Churnobyl.”

Kimmel also took aim at Linda Yaccarino, making him the second late night host to poke fun at the X executive during this year’s upfronts. During a closing prayer for the event, Kimmel said, “Please, please help Linda Yaccarino sell something other than Cheech & Chong gummies on Twitter. Amen.”

He also used the advertiser event to bring up the time X owner Elon Musk told advertisers to “go f–k yourself.” “We would never do that. But we do want to remind you that he did,” Kimmel said.

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