When he took the stage for his first ABC upfront presentation, the network’s new president Paul Lee was quick to bring up the event’s main attraction. “When Anne Sweeney called me about this job, I asked myself, ‘Do I really want to be humiliated by Jimmy Kimmel in front of hundreds of people?’ The answer was: ‘Absolutely’ ”
Right away, Lee, who was visibly nervous, branded the network’s new lineup “pure entertainment,” so he began presenting ABC’s fall schedule with Thursday night, showcasing new 8 PM anchor Charlie’s Angels. “I’ve wanted to remake Charlie’s Angels since I was 14,” Lee said. He explained the decision to schedule the remake Thursdays at 8 PM with the fact that it will be the only scripted drama in the slot (besides CW).
Tim Allen was on hand to promote his new ABC comedy Last Man Standing. “It’s about a man in a women’s world. Its original name was The Paul Lee Story.” That was not the only jab at his new boss. “You can dump the accent, you got the job,” he told British-born Lee.
After the clip for ABC’s new cross-dressing comedy Work It, Lee justified his decision to pick up the show with, “So sue me, I’m a Brit,” segueing to “Talking about cross-dressing, here’s Jimmy Kimmel.”
Kimmel was his usual irreverent self. Here are some of his top barbs:
On Lee: “Speaking of gay, let’s talk about the new head of ABC, Paul Lee. Oh, wait? He’s not gay, he’s British? Who better to lead the American Broadcasting Company than an English guy with a Korean last name.”
On Fox’s The X Factor: “I think this is the best idea of 2002. It’s like American Idol meets a mirror.”
On ABC’s reality series Shark Tank, in which wanna-be inventors compete for a cash prize: “You know what someone should invent on Shark Tank? A replacement for Shark Tank.”
On older-skewing CBS: “CBS is the No. 1 network mainly because their viewers can’t remember where they put the remote. … More people die watching CBS than any other network.”
On Ashton Kutcher replacing Charlie Sheen on CBS’ Two and a Half Men: “They said that they will retool the show, and sure enough they found a new tool, Ashton Kutcher.” Why is he a great choice? “He did a good job replacing Bruce Willis.”
On NBC’s upfront presentation: “Bob Greenblatt thanked God for The Voice… God stopped watching NBC after Friends.”
On ABC executives and talent: “All of us at ABC, from the top down, are committed to one thing: Keeping our jobs.”
TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.