Kimmel: The Joke's on the Buyers

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A high point of the upfronts is alwaysJimmy Kimmel's annual riff about
how much manure the networks tend to shovel at their presentations, and how
gullible media buyers are for spending nearly $9 billion on their primetime
schedules. This year, Kimmel's show graduated to the 11:35 p.m. time slot. Will
he tone down his act? We'll know May 14, when ABC's presentation takes place at
Lincoln Center.

Here are some highlights from previous Kimmel upfront routines.

"It's hard to believe I've been doing this for 10 years in a row now.
And I'll be honest: I'm sick of it. I'm sick of new shows. I'm sick of the old
shows. I'm sick of research. I'm sick of demographics. I'm sick of [Disney/ABC
Media Networks co-chairman Anne Sweeney]. I'm sick of Paul [Lee, president of
ABC Entertainment], and I'm getting sick of you. I hate to say it, but how many
times do I have to tell you this is bull----? This is bull----."

"Remember those shows that we were so excited about last fall? We
cancelled all of them. And yet here you are again. I think you might have a
gambling problem....I can't promise you any of these [new] shows will be good. I
can't promise you any of them will be successful. But what I can promise you is
that they will be expensive to advertise in."

2010: "All these analysts say the networks are losing ground to cable. I
disagree. I believe we're gaining ground on newspapers. Watch your back, Christian
Science Monitor
, we're coming after you."

2009: "Every year we lie to you and every year you come back for more.
You don't need an upfront. You need therapy. We completely lie to you, and then
you pass those lies on to your clients."

2008: "ABC might be the worst date ever. They expect you to put out and
they won't even buy you a drink."

"But you all know, really, don't you? That we're all making it all
up? None of us have any idea why something works. Some shows are good and get
bad ratings; some shows are bad and get good ratings. And some shows are NCIS.
We don't know; suddenly Howie Mandel starts opening briefcases and everyone
goes nuts. All we can do is keep sticking it out there and keep putting doctors
in showers with each other."

2004: Kimmel referred to NBC as the rich kid in high school who gets the
BMW, CBS as the straight-A student and Fox as the jock. Of ABC, he said, "We're
the fat kids who eat paste."

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.