Upfront Critique: Turner
Turner joined the melee of Upfront Week this morning with a message of we're funny, we're heavy, and we're real. TBS ("Very Funny"), TNT ("We Know Drama"), and Tru ("Not Reality - Actuality") meant that it was time to laugh, cry, and feel pretty happy that our jobs didn't involve the occasional drowning.
Note to Turner: 90 minutes for three networks is pretty impressive. However, after about 30 of those minutes (more like an hour later if you count those of us who arrived early and promptly took our seats) - those stackable convention chairs take a toll on one's wallet section. There's a reason that they use these chairs at wedding receptions - they expect people to get up and dance every five minutes or so. In fact, maybe that's why they dance so much at those receptions. The "Electric Slide" was probably invented by a guy who was trying to get feeling back after being left alone at the table with dear sweet Aunt Harriet.
And leading into the event by playing Coldplay? Bold choice. Although that's the one that I've called "The Upfront Song" for about three years now, since every network used that song for their upfront theme then.
Perhaps there's something to be said for sitting, well, not so up front at an upfront. From the second row vantage point, a TNT lineup featuring Holly Hunter (5'2"), Kyra Sedgwick (5'5") and Jada Pinkett-Smith (5') looked like they could have taken on Yao Ming, Shaq, and Lebron James - unless that's part of their NBA package for midseason. And this would also be a place where Twittering would be a social faux pas - unless done in moderation. Further proof that the Turner "Man" was trying to keep the Tweets down? Turner representatives were thought to be in the audience. I'm pretty sure the guy next to me was a TNT plant - Yao is pretty unmistakable.
One other note to Turner: To avoid adopting a new corporate tagline of, "We Don't Know Grammar," it's "fewer breaks," not "less breaks." I guess the "Elements of Style" purchase was delayed until the repeal of the legacy tax.
A few points about the new programs on the Turner Networks:
TNT's "Wedding Day" seems like a reality show that's happened already. Since it's a Mark Burnett show, it should take 0.35 seconds before the first "Survivor" joke to misfire somewhere.
Jada Pinkett-Smith plays nurse on "Hawthorne," Dylan McDermott plays deep undercover in "Dark Blue," and Ray Romano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher play "Men of a Certain Age" - henceforth known as Men-opause.
Over at TBS, the big news is their opening the door into the late night daypart - or perhaps, entrada into the daypart by way of George Lopez. (He's Mexican, you know. We heard about this. A lot.) He plans a talk show that will be a party every night. He apparently already has the blessing of President Obama because anything symbolizing "change" beyond a diaper these days has to be tagged with the Obama Seal of Approval.
Also coming on TBS: "Neighbors from Hell." Because they just do. "South Park" was sourced. It's animated. Do we have to draw you a picture? Well, perhaps we should, because we didn't get much more than that as a promo, so there's not much to say yet.
And does NBC castoff "My Name is Earl" make the rumored leap to TBS, joining its off-network airings with original episodes? No mention of that, but it sure does make a lot of sense to do it. Who wouldn't want to see Earl try to go all the way over to TNT to try to cross Grace Hanadarko off his list?
And then Tru, that newfound realist, is offering three new working title shows: one about the behind-the-scenes workings of the NFL in what will probably be called "NFL Full Contact," a reality-type documentary about antiterrorist operatives in "U.S. Special Ops: Declassified," and "Conspiracy Theory," using former U.S. Navy seal, former Governor of Minnesota and former Jesse "The Body" Ventura to scare the bejesus out of anybody who might be hiding anything. If Area 51 isn't real now, it will be soon - because who's going to not tell Jesse what he wants to hear?
My money's on Joy Hickey.