Fox Upfront Presentation Leads With Tubi
Gronk, Gordon Ramsay, Derek Jeter, A-Rod among the stars to take stage
Fox’s upfront presentation, at Manhattan Center in midtown, got going amidst picketing writers out front, just as NBCU’s had at Radio City Music Hall earlier in the day. “Disney, Apple, Amazon, Fox,” they chanted. “Watch what happens to your stocks.”
Last year’s Fox event featured mostly stars on screen, but more were in person this time around. Michael Strahan and Gordon Ramsay kicked things off, Ramsay quipping about the standing-room-only crowd, though except for balcony seating, all attendees were on foot.
Next up was Rob Gronkowski. He told the audience it is “my kind of crowd, because I love commercials.”
Marianne Gambelli, Fox president of advertising sales, marketing and brand partnerships, jeered Gronk for his missed field goal in the Super Bowl spot, before clips rolled of Gambelli, or someone who looks like her from behind, booting some mammoth field goals.
Addressing the crowd, Gambelli said, “We didn’t cancel, we didn’t move out of Upfront Week, we are here for you.”
Gambelli then touted the virtues of Tubi and its 64 million active monthly users. Earlier in the day, streamer Peacock had a similarly starring role at the NBCU presentation.
After Nicole Parlapiano, Tubi chief marketing officer, and Mark Rotblat, chief revenue officer, talked up Tubi, they stepped off for Rob Wade, Fox entertainment CEO. He promised “big, unforgettable moments” for Fox viewers. He said he hopes the writers’ strike ends soon, but noted that Fox is well equipped to get by without scripted programming.
That set the stage for Allison Wallach, Fox president of unscripted programming. “Our unscripted pipeline is stronger than ever,” she said, mentioning David Spade’s Snake Oil, which sees a mix of entrepreneurs and tricksters pitch real products and bogus ones, and Jamie Foxx’s music competition series We are Family, the latter a “terrific companion to The Masked Singer,” Wallach said.
Michael Thorn, president of scripted, was out next. “At Fox, visceral, emotional storytelling is what we do best,” he said.
Doc, he said, “reinvents the medical procedural,” while Rescue: HI-Surf features uber-producer John Wells, and panoramas that may go over well in the freezing continental U.S. during the midseason.
The new animated shows are Dan Harmon’s Krapopolis and Jon Hamm’s Grimsburg.
Fox News got its turn a half hour in, with America’s Newsroom co-anchors Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino stepping on stage.
“We know the stories that we report on should matter to the entire country, and not just to the coasts,” Hemmer said.
Fox Business, Fox Weather and Fox Nation also got plugs. Hemmer called Fox Business “the undisputed leader in cable business news, and Fox Weather “a first-class weather service with the full resources of Fox.”
Perino called Fox Nation “a much sought out partner for Hollywood’s A-list,” with shows from Kelsey Grammer, Kevin Costner and Dan Aykroyd, among others.
Mark Evans, executive VP of Fox Sports, talked up sports, including the Women’s World Cup this summer, which set the stage for Erin Andrews and new Fox Sports team member Carli Lloyd, a former U.S. women’s team star. “America loves a winning team, and they captured, in my opinion, two of the greatest World Cups that have been won,” said Lloyd of the 2015 and 2019 championships.
This summer’s Cup will be a unique challenge. “With each World Cup there’s less and less separation between other countries,” she said. “We need more than just talent.”
On to American football, where the announcement of nine Dallas Cowboys games on Fox next season elicited some boos from the New York crowd.
But it was all cheers for Derek Jeter, introduced by Michael Strahan as part of the Fox Sports baseball team. Jeter expressed his love for the sport, and eagerness to stay involved after playing and running a team. Strahan then brought out Alex Rodriguez.
“I can’t wait to watch Derek, A-Rod, Big Papi and Kevin Burkhardt,” said Strahan, “all on the same team.”
With that, a mere 52 minutes after it began, the Fox upfront presentation concluded.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.