Nick Denton may be the most degenerate man to ever feed us, but he's hardly so cruel as to send a pregnant woman to live-blog the television upfronts AND talk to Jeff Zucker. Thankfully, a Very Special Gawker Reader sent us a play-by-play of NBC's upfronts at Radio City, complete with a live performance by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler with lots of cutesy inside jokes. Aren't you sad you missed it? Don't be. After the jump, our correspondent tells you all about Dennis Hopper (in sailor clothes!), Eric McCormack (so straight he's, um, chain-smoking!), and Jerry Bruckheimer's (doesn't like to be touched!) Big Apple adventure.
The NBC upfronts at Radio City started off with a live edition of Weekend Update with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. The duo spent most of the time making fun of NBC's 2004-2005 schedule, and then talked about the new season, and why it's better than the other networks. The jokes touched on Bill Cosby's new show, "Touched by a Huxtable," the new HDNBC being so clear that you could see "Matt LeBlanc's panic," and reasons advertisers should buy time on Desperate Housewives ("During commercial breaks, you're supposed to be complimenting your gay friend on his margaritas"). Tina Fey asked if a certain agent was in the audience, mentioning that she met him at a party six months ago — at which point she stood up and showed us her six month-pregnant belly.
A couple of suits spoke for a while (Jeff Zucker bombed on a joke about Weekend Update having the accuracy of the CBS evening news), and introduced schmaltzy and funny video montages about NBC shows. The new shows were introduced individually, after which the cast of each show came out and spoke for a bit. Seth Green, it turns out, is extremely short. And Dennis Hopper likes to dress like a sailor. The only new show not mentioned was The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. Guess they didn't want to call attention to the ankle bracelet that kept her away from Radio City. In fact, there were no Martha jokes the whole day, which must have been a decision of the higher-ups.
At the official after-party at the Maritime Hotel, there was the expected bunch of NBC names big (Eric McCormack, who was outside with the smokers when James Burrows came, told Burrows that he was only watching them smoke, and then proceeded to light up as soon as Burrows went inside, plus Kelsey Grammer, Jerry Bruckheimer), small (Carson Kressley, Jai Rodriguez, a couple of guys from the new series Four Kings), and strange (James Lipton, who seemed equally stodgy in person). Josh Cooke (the dude from NBC's phenomenal hit Committed) came out and, looking totally confused, asked one of the guards how to get to the subway to go to the Ritz. It was sort of pathetic seeing him asking for directions to the subway instead of just hopping in a cab (or, like everyone else, a black car). The guard didn't know, so he asked another guard, who also didn't know. At this point James Burrows came out to get into his car, saw Cooke looking confused, and asked if he was okay:
Burrows: Are you OK, Josh?
Cooke: Yeah, you know, I was just asking them how to get to the...
Burrows: Do you have a ride?
Cooke: No, I figured I'd just take the subway.
Burrows: You can take a cab.
Cooke: Yeah, I guess I can take a cab.
Burrows: Here, do you want to come with me?
Cooke: What? No. Huh?
Burrows: What hotel are you going to?
Cooke: The Ritz.
Burrows: Come in my car.
Cooke: But I'm going uptown.
Burrows: Yeah, so are we.
Cooke: Are you sure it's not out of your way?
Burrows: It's fine.
[they get in car]
Eric McCormack was outside smoking most of the night. And in case his sexuality was ever in doubt, he and this other young fortyish guy (I can't place him, but he's definitely an actor) were hitting on these two beautiful young girls who must have worked for one of the agencies. The other actor (McCormack's accomplice) blatantly walked over to them and said, "Do you want to come talk to us for a while?"
When they declined, he said, "What's the worst that can happen? You spend 10 minutes talking to a big TV star." So they did.
[a partial list of people that were at the party: Paul Shafer, Richard Belzer, Jerry Bruckheimer, Eric McCormack, James Burrows, Kelsey Grammer, Dennis Hopper, Jeff Zucker, Benjamin Bratt, Carson Kressley, Jai Rodriguez, Michael Moloney (designer from Extreme Makeover Home Edition), Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers, Liev Schreiber, Josh Cooke (Committed), Ming-Na (ER), Seth Green, Rainn Wilson (The Office), James Lipton]