CBS made very few changes to its fall prime-time schedule, adding just one new comedy and three new dramas. Executives at the network contend that the lineup doesn’t need a makeover, given that it’s the only one to show an increase in audience ratings this season. Fair enough.
Still, even with just a handful of new shows to preview, CBS managed to keep the upfront presentation from being too dull. Some laughs, some cringing.
Chief Executive Les Moonves played up the network’s ratings for 2008-09 and took mock offense at an L.A. Times story that pointed out that CBS isn’t the sexiest of networks. “Who says we’re not sexy. My wife thinks I’m sexy — or at least that’s what she tells me.” Crowd liked it.
Crowd also liked Simon Baker, star of “The Mentalist.” Two female advertising executives sitting in front of me couldn’t get enough of him, snapping pictures with their phones etc. “I know what you’re thinking,” Baker offered. “Yes, I’m a little shorter in real life.”
Laurence Fishburne reminded everyone that he’d been on CBS a couple of times before his current stint on “CSI.” One of those occassions? Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Sweet.
Neil Patrick Harris took a page from his show, “How I Met Your Mother,” and offered a few of his character’s tips from “The Bro Code” for advertisers heading to upfront parties. Among some of the gruesome lines: “Article 176 C, if you wake up tomorrow morning in bed with Jennifer Love Hewitt, what happens at the upfronts stays at the upfronts.” “Article 176 D, if you wake up with Morley Safer, see Article 176 C.” “Article 150, a bro never dances with his hands above his head. Ever.” “Article 157, a good way for a bro to get a get in the mood at the CBS party is to suddenly mention the dirtiest sounding CBS shows. These include, but are not limited to ‘The Bing Bang Theory’ and ’69 Minutes.’”
L.L. Cool J, who is set to star in NCIS: Los Angeles, actually came out on stage and performed “Mama Said Knock You Out.” You really had to be there. At one point, he urged a thousand or so buttoned-up advertising executives at Carnegie Hall to “Put your hands in the air, stand on your chair!”. Some did. Seriously. I only wish I had a camcorder.