Commentary

We're Begging You, TV: More Crazy Leno/O'Brien Stories, And Kimmel Live Commercials

ABC's Jimmy Kimmel again gives us the shorthand state-of-TV-business report. We can only hope TV and media agency executives do the honorable thing -- and respond with crazy business decisions.

"As you can see, I'm for sale," says Kimmel, in his stand-up appearance in front of advertisers and media buying executives during ABC's 2010 upfront presentation. This, after showing off videos of some live commercials for his late-night talk show.

"You people never learn, do you? And we know you have the money this year, by the way, so don't try to act all poor." Yes, even Kimmel knows rocketing TV program prices are up 25% or more for all TV during recent scatter market activity.

Seems like the old days. And in that vein, Kimmel still has fun with everyone's whipping post: NBC.

"There are some very big things going on at NBC. They cancelled 'Law & Order' and picked up 'Law & Order: Los Angeles.' You know, the last time NBC took a show that had been on for 20 years in New York and moved it to L.A., it wound up as the lead-in to George Lopez on TBS." And you thought we were done with Leno and O'Brien? Oh, no -- not yet.

CBS? You're not that perfect either. Think Charlie Sheen and "Two and a Half Men." "You get arrested for threatening your wife with a knife on Christmas. So how do you handle a public-relations nightmare like that? You call your agent and you demand two million dollars an episode or you're not coming back. And you get it. Tiger Woods must feel like a real dumb-ass right now."

Fox might have made an ill-fitting move, placing its hit young-female-skewing show after the Super Bowl next year. That gets up in Kimmel's grill. "The coveted post-Super Bowl slot next year is going to 'Glee.' Apparently they're trying to set a new Guinness World Record for most drunk 43-year-old guys saying, 'What the fuck is this?' all at once."

Kimmel's stuff is like an old-fashioned comedy roast -- even ABC's chairman of entertainment Steve McPherson isn't spared:  "Steve McPherson said it best earlier, when he said, we're looking for shows to break the mold -- and then introduced a new medical drama from Shonda Rhimes [the creator of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice"]. I've been saying for years, Shonda, when are you going to give us a new medical drama? And she has."

And this: "I love 'Lost' and I'm going to miss it. Watching 'Lost' is what I imagine it must be like to be trapped inside the brain of Paula Abdul."

Fragile egos in Hollywood and at media agencies? We hope so. That only makes writing about the business even better. That's because the result of some of these crazy decisions is that we gain greater insight about the information that really matters.

And if Kimmel gets more advertising, so much the better. Those live commercials, which also seem like a comedy roast of those brands, are just what the doctor ordered. I even remember them, more than making up for the millions of times I fast-forward through other programs' commercials.

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