Jimmy Kimmel was there to, as his boss Bob Iger said, to “tear everyone apart” at Disney’s upfront last Tuesday at North Javits in New York. Photo: Disney/Jennifer Pottheiser.

ABC/DIsney gve host Jimmy Kimmel far too much ammunition for his annual Upfront eulogy before ad buyers this past week in New York. The star-studded gathering, which featured big names from Disney feature films and their streaming and sports ventures, helped distract from what was otherwise a tough year for media giants. That whole, lets throw all-in on streaming and subscriptions strategy? Oops.

“We are bundling,” noted Kimmel, “and while from the outside this may look like an act of desperation, from the inside, it also looks like that. We didn’t want to bundle, we had to — like when you’re freezing to death and it’s so cold you have to get into a sleeping bag with your uncle so you don’t die. That’s us. You’ve seen our churn rates. This is not just churn. It’s Chernobyl.”

Kimmel did not hold back.

“Now finally our users can turn on their TV and get all the channels in one package for one price all supported by ads. We call it ‘basic cable’ and it’s gonna blow your mind. We’re consolidating. We are building one enormous ad-supported streaming pile of shit.”

Meet ABC’s Golden Bachelorette, Joan Vassos.

Which brings us to what’s new this fall on ABC. You guessed it — the network will premiere The Golden Bachelorette. The series will feature Joan Vassos, a former bachelorette on The Golden Bachelor who had to bail three weeks into that show due to a family emergency. She too could wind up picking her ideal mate to love and cherish for eight or nine weeks.

Kaitlin Olsen with her It’s Always Sunny co-star Rob McElhenney. She was there to promote her new ABC cop series High Potential. He was there, along with Ryan Reynolds, to promote the forth season of their Disney+ streaming series Welcome to Wrexham

Kaitlin Olsen from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (and also featured on Hacks) will star in the ABC drama called High Potential. She plays a woman who just knows who really committed the crimes when the real cops come to a dead end. No, she doesn’t have super hearing or was a former crime novelist or can read people’s faces — she’s just got that good old fashioned female intuition.


Don Johnson, left, with NBA star Chris Paul. (Disney/Jenny Anderson)

Remember Don Johnson? The former Miami Vice star is being wheeled back to prime time and paired with Canadian-born Joshua Jackson as doctors who work about a luxury cruise ship. The show is called Doctor Odyssey and seems timely given all those thousands of people who were held captive on giant floating petrie dishes of disease and death during the darkest days of the COVID pandemic. Who thinks these things up? Ryan Murphy, that’s who.

On Wednesdays, ABC will introduce a series based on a true crime podcast: Scamanda. It’s about a christian lady with a big secret.

ABC’s big secret is that, while Will Trent and Grey’s Anatomy soldier on, they have very few scripted shows on their schedule. Having suffered through those writers and actors strikes last season, the network has just one night of all scripted fare pencilled in for 2024-25. The rest are all Bachelor knockoffs, two hours of Dancing with ther Stars and game shows. Abbott Elementary will be the only sitcom remaining once The Conners finishes its seventh and final season.

It’s a formula that seems to work in an era when less is expected in terms of appealing to a mass audience on broadcast. ABC claims that this is the fifth year in a row that they are the most-watched network in the 18 to 49-year-old viewer demo.

The stars of my favourite show, Martin Short, Steve Martin and Selena Gomez, took the stage to promote Only Murders in the Building. The fourth season premieres August 27 on Hulu and on Disney+ in Canada.

That does not impress Jimmy Kimmel. As he has done for many years now, the longest-serving late night network talk show host stood on stage at the North Javits Centre and delivered a scathing monologue. He roasted his boss, Disney CEO and Chairman Bob Iger, who was hauled back from retirement once Disney’s fortunes went south under the brief reign of his successor. Kimmel did not hold back, mocking attempts by all the major media companies to pivot all the way back to ad-supported services. His no-prisoners approach included the following cutting remarks:

“Bob Iger should be retired by now, he should be off on a yacht somewhere. Instead he’s here pretending to be excited about a new season of Will-Fucking-Trent. Bob tried to sell us last year, he put us up for sale, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, no one wanted to buy us. When no one was interested, Bob explained that he didn’t mean he literally wanted to sell us, he was just testing the waters for Wall Street. You know, Bob, when people test the waters, they usually dip in a toe, they don’t drown their children.”

Kimmel noted how other media companies, such as Netflix, Apple and Peacock, were also trying to figure things out by announcing new bundled streaming packages.

“We have a sports bundle,” said Kimmel. “ESPN is teaming up with Fox and Warner Brothers Discovery to give subscribers … live games, fantasy sports and betting. It’s a package we’re calling it Weekend at Divorced Dad’s House.”

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