The upfront is all lies, lies, and, occasionally, some truth. ABC's Jimmy Kimmel says so.
"Everything you've heard today, everything you're going to hear this week," Kimmel said during the ABC upfront presentation, "is bullshit." A roar of laughter.
Last June TV advertisers did pay big CPM increases for this year's network TV offerings -- anywhere from 4% to 7%. By the time the 2008-2009 broadcast season had started in September 2008, those higher-priced programs started to run in what became a recessionary time for businesses.
Little laughter was heard around that time -- just reality.
Now media buyers are on the warpath because their clients are on the warpath. Tensions are high. Everyone is talking -- negatives, negatives, negatives. Advertisers want media buyers to sift out the crap from reality. Or else.
Give ABC credit for letting Kimmel play, leaving no network unscarred: "Let's get real here. Let's get Dr. Phil-real here. These new fall shows? We're going to cancel about 90 percent of them. Maybe more." Then concerning ABC's new Mark Burnett reality show: "This show 'Shark Tank' has the word tank right in the title," he said. Bigger laughs.
Advertising clients will no doubt love this one from Kimmel: "Maybe some of these shows will work, the most important thing to remember is, who cares -- it's not your money." Whoa!
Want to do some product placement? "Next season on 'Grey's [Anatomy]' your product could actually kill Dr. Izzie," says Kimmel, "it just depends how much you want to pay."
One competing network executive wondered about Kimmel's routine: "Gee, how could ABC let Kimmel do that stuff?"
I think the comedy just lets media buyers blow off some steam before the real work starts.
For years, it has become regular practice for media sellers to beat up on media buyers -- and, sometimes, vice versa. Now just add another piece to the public positioning of the upfront song and dance: song, dance, and rag.