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Kimmel Skewers ABC Rivals in Traditional Upfront Bit

Chat show host cracks that annual sales pitch is 'bullshit'

Jimmy Kimmel Photo by Mark Davis/WireImage

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In what has become a snarky rite of spring, ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel on Tuesday afternoon affectionately skewered his network, before turning his sights on the competition.

Speaking at the tail end of ABC’s 2012-13 upfront presentation, the star of Jimmy Kimmel Live wearily upbraided media buyers, telling the likes of Mindshare CEO Antony Young and MagnaGlobal chief Tim Spengler that he was getting tired of having to deliver his annual message to the advertising community.

“I’m sick of it. I’m sick of new shows. I’m sick of the old shows. I’m sick of research. I’m sick of demographics. I’m sick of Anne [Sweeney]. I’m sick of Paul [Lee], and I’m getting sick of you,” Kimmel beefed. “How many times do I have to tell you that this is bullshit? This is bullshit.”

With that, the comic launched into a five-minute bit that saw him ridicule some of ABC’s more egregious miscues. According to Kimmel, the jaw-droppingly awful comedy Work It signaled ABC entertainment group president Paul Lee’s inherent disdain for Americans. (Aping Lee, who is British, Kimmel tutted, “It’s utterly asinine! I reckon the Yankee nitwits will gobble it up! Pip pip!”)

Of course, Kimmel reserved his sharpest barbs for the other broadcast networks. NBC got the worst of it, as Kimmel mocked the network’s newly minted monkey star and the gimmickry that underlies The Voice. “Spinning chairs and a monkey—this truly is the golden age of television,” Kimmel joked, adding that the capuchin co-star of Animal Practice was NBC’s first feces-hurling diva “since Gary Busey appeared on Celebrity Apprentice.”

Kimmel also scored a few points against CBS, which enjoys unparalleled reach but also is the oldest-skewing network on the air. (Per Nielsen, the median age of the CBS audience is 57 years, or about 11 years older than Fox. Then again, at 53 ABC is no spring chicken either.) “CBS: they really do have their finger on the pulse … of viewers who have almost no pulse,” he said.

Also getting a laugh was Kimmel’s assertion that CBS leads the industry in delivering “the coveted 18 to 49 trips to the bathroom demographic.”

Kimmel’s been lampooning the desperation of Upfront Week for years, and this time around his shtick was particularly well timed. Like NBC and Fox before it, ABC has gone all gooey over comedy, ordering up four new sitcoms and launching a third night of laughs.

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