Finally video footage of late night host Jimmy Kimmel's evisceration of ABC at their own goddamned upfronts has surfaced. And, surprise surprise? It's really not all that controversial—mostly funny jokes and inside-baseball industry hoo-haw, thrown in because it was supposed to be a closed audience. So what's the fuss?
Well Nikki Finke would argue that there shouldn't be any fuss at all, because winking network bashing is a hallmark tradition at upfronts. Which, absolutely, this is true. But what stuck (and stung for some) about this particular account is how, here in the glaring neon white light of TV's economic apocalypse, grim and trenchantly true all of Kimmel's jokes were. Especially when non-industry people heard them.
Yes, the whole thing is built on a pack of lies! And yes! A throw-millions-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks because, as Kimmel put it, "who cares? It's not your money" sort of attitude does seem wrong and a part of why the entire television industry and media at large and, hell, all of America is in the shitter. And that the factory workers of this creaky, arrogant system just sat and laughed and hooted to themselves "Ohhh, it's all so true!" seems a bit obtuse and, I'd imagine if I'd just lost my job at ABC in the past eight months, a bit callous.
In the past these upfront presentations were put on for the clubby group of television and ad execs and the reporters that cozily cover them, and everyone could have a laugh, go get drunk and then the next day everyone would continue to tell everyone how fabulous business is. Now, the dreaded Internet — which has basically demolished the old advertising business model — guarantees that all the inside jokes will get out.
So the people in the audience are sorta jerks and so is Kimmel and so are we for sticking our noses in other people's industries. Everyone's a jerk! This is TV after all.