Not much change from last year in the basic business proposition that ABC offered to upfront advertisers today: Forget that it’s the No. 4 network in prime time for 18-to-49 year olds. Execs touted the “brand halo” (as entertainment chief Paul Lee put it) that Disney and its properties offer ABC. “When you bring them all together they are as unstoppable a force as The Force,” Disney-ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney said in a forced reference to the parent company’s acquisition of Star Wars creator Lucasfilm. Sales President Geri Wang and ESPN sales chief Ed Erhardt shared the stage to illustrate ways advertisers can mix and match appeals to women and men, for example via New Year’s programming on ABC and games on the sports network. Wang added that ABC offers more original programming than other networks which “creates great moments for your brands.”
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The network also talked up digital and data. Sweeney says the company will “continue to develop” its WATCH ABC app. It will offer opportunities to watch live broadcasts from multiple viewpoints, multitask on social media, and share clips with others. That can provide a “more integrated, immersive, personalized experience…..You get our passion for innovation and technology and the resources we put behind it, and the scope of our brand and the strength of our businesses.”
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While inside Avery Fisher Hall the ABC brass were touting the network’s new primetime schedule, outside, fans of All My Children and One Life to Live protested the network’s new daytime lineup, which will soon have reality series The Chew and The Revolution replace the two daytime dramas. “Save our soaps,” demonstrators chanted as advertisers were filing into the Lincoln Center, although the group of a couple of dozen was far across the street, so some upfront guests confused that with “Save our shows.” (ABC recently canceled several primetime series, including Brothers and Sisters & V, so that would work, too). The brochures distributed by the protest’s organizer, SoapFansUnited.com, urged advertisers to boycott ABC and called the programs replacing the two soaps “glorified infomercials appropriate for late-night basic cable channels, not for a major broadcast network.”
ABC Unveils 2011-12 Schedule: New Comedy Block On Tuesday With Tim Allen
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: Read More »