upfronts 2012

The Eight Things We Learned From ABC’s Upfront

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NBC and ABC aren’t too far apart in the race for second-to-last place, yet ABC’s upfront presentation this afternoon didn’t have the aroma of desperation that NBC’s had yesterday. It was more upbeat, more self-assured — and the executives’ jokes were better and more natural than Fox’s awkward and badly delivered one-liners. In addition to learning the value of showmanship, Vulture picked up a couple of other key lessons:

1. ABC Still Misses Lost
The clip from 666 Park Avenue, a supernatural drama set in a fancy apartment building, ended with Lost’s ominous thud sound. (And the show features Terry O’Quinn.) Last Resort, another intense drama about a renegade nuclear submarine, has a motley crew starting a new kind of life on a lush but dangerous tropical island. Yunjin Kim co-stars in Mistresses, the Alyssa Milano–led soap that will premiere next spring.

2. Body mortification Is hilarious.
ABC’s comedy sizzle reels included a guy getting a nail shot through his foot, a teenage boy slamming his fingers in a door, and multiple falls, slips, punches, and slaps. Comedy!

3. CBS Is a Worthy Punching Bag
Every year at the ABC upfronts, Jimmy Kimmel gently roasts the proceedings. (It’s always pretty terrific; every network should do this.) This year’s biggest laugh came came from joking about CBS’s older viewership. “CBS is going to stay in their lane,” he said. “They’ll have their turn blinker on the whole time, but they’re going to stay in their lane.” Huge, huge laughs from the advertisers.

4. Britney Spears, However, Is Not
“If you pay Britney Spears $15 million, how much do you have to pay someone who can sing?” Kimmel said, which was met with a pitying groan. “Oh, I didn’t realize this was a gay audience!” he responded, which actually did get a big laugh. (And a couple of groans.)

5. ABC Is Really Into Multiple Platforms
Watch on your phone! Or on your computer! Or tablet! Or other device! Please! They are begging!

6. The Twilight Effect Is Still in Effect
Melissa Rosenberg, creator and executive producer for the organized crime–family drama Red Widow (formerly known as Penoza) was identified multiple times as the writer of Twilight. She wrote the screenplays, but it seems like her experience as a co-executive producer on Dexter would be more relevant — especially since Widow is one of the few ABC shows without any kind of supernatural or fantasy element.

7. Connie Britton Is the Best
Oh man, even when she’s not Mrs. Coach, she’s still the best. Nashville looks like Country Strong except kind of schmaltzy and amazing rather than schmaltzy and lame.

8. It’s Time to Officially Just Call the Show Apartment 23
ABC big cheese Paul Lee called it Apartment 23 repeatedly, and the screen behind him said that, too. No need for this annoying “Don’t Trust the B” nonsense anymore.

Upfronts 2012
The Eight Things We Learned From ABC’s Upfront