Gawker's old pal Jimmy Kimmel had what the Times' Dave Itzkoff termed as a "'Jerry Maguire'-like moment" while delivering an address to potential advertisers at ABC's upfront presentation on Tuesday, and it was simply awesome.
In case you're unfamiliar with the "upfronts," they're an annual television industry event held in New York where all of the bigshots and stars from all the networks present their show lineups for the upcoming season to advertisers in the hopes of removing them from their money. Usually, these events are one enormous act of autofellatio, an endless stream of workers sucking the cocks of the companies they work for in order to hold on to their jobs and continue to cash ridiculously large paychecks, and really, who can blame them? Apart from the time in 1991 when Johnny Carson announced out of the blue that he was retiring during an NBC upfront presentation, these things are usually painfully benign, and are rarely, if ever, truly newsworthy. Typically it's an endless parade of people like Charlie Sheen stepping up to a podium to tell the fine folks at Procter and Gamble and General Motors how if they thought last year's season of Two and Half Men was funny, well, they haven't seen anything yet, because this upcoming season is going to be a fucking riot, and then they politely ask them for $1.5 million for a thirty second spot and the advertisers usually pay it and everyone goes home fat and happy. The end.
Now, with all of that established, back to Kimmel, who completely shattered this usual sort of monotony with his performance yesterday. Here's a sampling of what he said as advertising executives just sat there squirming in their seats, laughing nervously, exchanging "WTF?!" glances, not quite sure of what to make of what what happening in front of them as he fired rhetorical scuds at ABC, its competitors, and the advertising industry in general.
"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."
"Every year we lie to you and every year you come back for more. You don't need an upfront. You need therapy. We completely lie to you, and then you pass those lies onto your clients."
"Next year on ‘Grey's Anatomy,' your product could kill Dr. Izzie. It just depends on how much you want to pay."
"I think all our shows are going to work this year. I really do. I don't, really."
"The important thing to remember is: who cares, it's not your money."
Kimmel also took a shot at NBC and Jay Leno, whom ABC once courted to possibly replace him when his contract with NBC expired, saying that they're "giving Jay's viewers exactly what they want. An early-bird special."
It's hard not to love and respect Jimmy Kimmel more than ever after all of this, but one can't help suspecting that ABC will soon be announcing his show's cancellation so that it can extend Nightline back to a full hour.
Jimmy Kimmel Demolishes ABC's Upfronts [New York Times]