Blessedly brief, per usual, The CW rolled out a tight upfront presentation at New York City Center on Thursday morning. “Since we’re the final presentation,” noted ad sales EVP Rob Tuck, “we have the opportunity to distinguish The CW from every one you’ve seen thus far.” The network certainly did that with a runtime of less than 45 minutes, kicking things off with a playful reel of network personalities set to the Jonas Brothers’ single Cool — apparently the network’s theme song du jour.
Shari Redstone, the head of CBS’s parent company, didn’t take the stage during Wednesday’s upfront presentation, but at the party that followed she was met by a receiving line that included the incoming CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell, the CBS Sunday Morning anchor Jane Pauley and new CBS News President Susan Zirinsky. Last year at this time, then-CBS CEO Leslie Moonves was at war with Redstone over moves she’d made to bring about a merger between CBS and its sibling company, Viacom. This year, it was her party.
When the first output deal between Netflix and CW parents CBS and Warner Bros was announced in 2011, it was hailed as groundbreaking and, with its $1 billion windfall, a lifeline that may have helped save the then money-losing upstart network. The pact, re-uped by both sides in 2016 with some modifications, was up again this spring, and it’s not being renewed. The three new CW series — Batwoman, Nancy Drew and Riverdale spinoff Katy Keen— are being shopped for streaming deals individually by their respective studios.
Following through on plans articulated at TCA winter press tour, WarnerMedia emphasized its new strategic direction during a brisk upfront pitch, highlighting a more blended approach to the formerly drama-centric TNT and comedy-focused TBS.
CBS is defending its handling of a sexual harassment by Michael Weatherly, star of its drama series Bull. CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl said Wednesday that Weatherly “owned” his mistake and was apologetic and remorseful. Last year, CBS reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement with actress Eliza Dushku after she alleged on-set sexual comments from Weatherly made her uncomfortable.
“Our new lineup features both classic CBS shows and genres that viewers love, as well as some new series that push the boundaries of what you might expect from us,” CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl sad this morning before the network’s annual Upfronts breakfast in New York. “We are also saving some very strong series for the second part of the year as part of a strategy to roll out new and returning series throughout the season.”
At the same time that America’s biggest media companies are touting their new dramas and sitcoms, they are also talking up their plans for streaming platforms that will look a lot like Netflix.
“The boycotts themselves are not having a financial impact of any significance,” said the CEO of Fox Corp., the parent of Fox News Channel.
Get first looks at the genre thriller Emergence, starring Allison Tolman, the Cobie Smulders-led adaptation of the Stumptown graphic novel series and the 1980s-set Black-ish prequel series Mixed-ish.
ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ESPN, Freeform, FX Networks and National Geographic come together to illustrate the exhausting smorgasbord of Walt Disney Television.