All week in New York City, it rained spinoffs, surprises and Constance Wu jokes: The networks have finished their upfront presentations, where they pitch advertisers on their big plans for the upcoming TV season.
They also spent time trying to reassure the people buying ad time that they’ll be just fine without some of the shows that are leaving this season. (It was fun while it lasted, “Big Bang Theory.”) You can check out the full fall schedule here and watch trailers for new shows here.
Read on for our takeaways on all the jokes, promises, and goodbyes at the upfronts in New York City.
Kimmel Is Still King
If you like Jimmy Kimmel at the Oscars, you’d love the guy at the upfronts. The ABC late-night host makes fun of his bosses, and potential advertisers eat it up every single year. His 15 minutes have truly become the must-see of the week — even though “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” is behind Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert in the ratings. His best jokes from Tuesday are here.
Sports Wagering Has Arrived
An early theme of upfront week was betting. No, not on which shows won’t make it to next year’s upfronts (we have to remain impartial here), but on sports betting. Now that sports gambling is legal in eight states, Fox and Disney (via ESPN) spoke about getting in on the action. ESPN is partnering with Caesars Entertainment, while Fox is launching its own betting service, Fox Bet, with Canada’s The Stars Group.
Fox Is VERY Slimmed Down
This was a very different upfront for Fox in almost every way. New broadcast boss Charlie Collier had the undesirable task of selling advertisers on the few assets Fox has left, which pretty much comes down to “The Masked Singer” and NFL and WWE rights. The former AMC chief did the best he could, though we could have done without one weak, repetitive device.
Disney Is Not
Does the Walt Disney Company owns everything, or does it just seem that way? In addition to its 21st Century Fox acquisition, Disney announced ahead of its Tuesday upfront that it would take over Comcast’s one-third ownership of streaming service Hulu. Considering how many networks now fall under the Mouse House’s roof, it’s a miracle the Tuesday presentation isn’t still going on.
NBCUniversal’s upfront opened with WWE Superstar John Cena attempting to save Fallon in an update to Apple’s iconic “1984” ad. Later at the Radio City Music Hall event, the Bella Twins graced a side stage to plug their reality show.
Joined by Ronda Rousey, Cena showed up live at Fox’s upfront later that day to pitch potential advertisers on “SmackDown Live.” They were followed on the program by WWE execs Stephanie McMahon and her husband Paul “Triple H” Levesque.
And just before its upfront on Wednesday, Turner announced that it had entered into a deal with All Elite Wrestling to air a weekly AEW show on TNT starting this fall — just like TheWrap reported it would.
If it works, might as well try it again — or a few times if you’re “NCIS” or Dick Wolf. Fans of “9-1-1” (and Rob Lowe), “Black-ish,” “FBI” and “Riverdale” will get even more of those shows with “9-1-1: Lone Star,” “Mixed-ish,” “FBI: Most Wanted” and “Katy Keene.” Meanwhile, CBS gave the “Big Bang Theory” spinoff “Young Sheldon” the old “Big Bang” timeslot. One spinoff that surprisingly didn’t go forward was “Jane the Novella,” which CW boss Mark Pedowitz said didn’t have the “quirkiness and fun” of the original series.
Constant Constance Wu Jokes
ABC execs were well aware of Wu’s let’s-call-it “tepid” reaction to her sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat” getting picked up for a sixth season. ABC Entertainment chairman Karey Burke joked the show is “still starring Constance Wu” and Kimmel took it even further, throwing Wu’s emotional tweets up on a screen. “Only on ABC is getting your show picked up the worst thing that can happen to you,” he joked.
Umbrellas + NYC = Still a Bad Combo
Upfronts attendees got some good weather on Wednesday and Thursday, but the start of the week was pretty terrible. Out-of-towners received a rude welcoming from the Big Apple and its Nor’easter effects on Sunday, and the torrential rains ran all the way through Tuesday. We hope everyone packed an umbrella — but not one of those golf umbrellas that horrible people carry around Manhattan. Rude.
Your Newest Streaming Services: Apollo Sword and StankeyVision?
Neither NBCUniversal nor WarnerMedia have figured out what they’re going to call their upcoming streaming services, both of which are launching next year. Luckily, Seth Meyers and Conan O’Brien have some ideas. While both admitted they’ll probably be called something like NBC+ or WarnerMediaNow, we’re quite partial to “Apollo Sword” (NBCU) or “StankeyVision” (WarnerMedia).
“Snowpiercer” [Insert Train Pun Here] Turner’s long-in-the-works adaptation of Bong Joon-Ho’s 2014 film looks to finally be back on track, though it will switch over to TBS. The drama, which stars Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs — in the roles played in the film by Tilda Swinton and Chris Evans — got a surprising second-season renewal. It is expected to debut after TBS’s coverage of March Madness.
Bye-Bye, “Big Bang”
CBS gave it one last shoutout. Co-creator Chuck Lorre commemorated the occasion by reminding everyone that the show’s original pilot was… not the one that made it on the air. He recalled former CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler calling him to say, “It’s not very good. Would you consider doing it again?” We’re glad everything worked out.
A Pretty Big “Crisis” for The CW
We already knew that the CW’s next Arrowverse crossover was tackling one of the most famous DC Comics storylines in “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” but we didn’t know just how big it was going to be. Now we do. This year’s big crossover will span a whopping five hours — and the midseason break — and include the full might of CW’s ever-expanding roster, including newcomer Batwoman. It’s also likely to be the farewell for Stephen Amell’s Green Arrow.
We Finally Got the Name of That “Star Trek” Picard Show
Yeah, it’s “Star Trek: Picard.”