Monday, June 01, 2015

Dolly Parton, Stephen Colbert and Half-Naked Miley Cyrus: Scenes from the 2015 Network Upfronts

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It's been a few weeks now since network upfronts--the week in May when the broadcast networks (and a few cable ones as well) showcase their new shows for advertisers in New York. It's a hectic week, shuffling from one venue to the next, frequently staying out late and keeping tabs on everything that's been picked up, renewed and canceled. But there's plenty of room for surreal moments too--like Miley Cyrus (above) performing, half-naked, at Adult Swim's annual Wednesday night event. (Acts like Outkast, Jay Z, T.I. and M.I.A. have performed there in the past.)

Here are more visual highlights of the network presentations:

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If anyone was still worried whether the real Stephen Colbert could be as engaging as the obnoxious "Stephen Colbert" he played on Comedy Central, the host's appearance at CBS' upfront presentation ended those fears. (There was always a lot of the real Colbert in the character he played anyway.) Funny, smart, sharp, engaging... I can't wait to see what he does when "Late Show with Stephen Colbert" premieres on Sept. 8.

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C'mon, here he is, parodying Kim Kardashian's Paper magazine cover! What more do you want?

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Fine, you want a photo of Colbert sitting next to Leslie Moonves as they wear fake, thick, dark black beards? OK, you're weird. But here you go.

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Not too long ago, Fox would highlight "American Idol" throughout its upfront presentation. This year, it was, "American What? Oh yeah, it's canceled after next year. BUT HAVE WE MENTIONED 'EMPIRE'?!!!!" No surprise, Fox wrapped itself in "Empire," and of course they did. It's a tremendous smash. And there's no way we were going to leave the Beacon Theater until the cast came out and sang. And yes they did -- Yazz, Jussie, plus Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard. (No "Drip Drop," though!!!)

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And nevermind "Idol," when Jennifer Hudson (who, you may recall, didn't win her year on the talent show) blew away the audience during the "Empire" segment.

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Dolly Mothereffing Parton came out during the NBC upfront and showed the audience why she's still a legend. (NBC will be airing movies based on her life.)

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In an upfront first, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt accompanied Parton on piano. Dolly told the audience about Bob's dinner parties, and how they always end up around the piano. I'd do almost anything to see that.

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Chris Carter, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson. X-Files. Boom.

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Also a first CBS upfront for James Corden, whose new "Late Late Show" is already earning critical acclaim and generating plenty of social buzz. CBS execs are very, very pleased.

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This man should be pleased. The most powerful host in late night, Jimmy Fallon.

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At the CW upfront: Gina Rodriguez and the cast of "Jane the Virgin" are having a moment.

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Also at the CW: Stephen Amell ("Arrow") and Grant Gustin ("The Flash") are having another moment.

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The CW president Mark Pedowitz, flanked by the cast of the new "Arrow"/"Flash" spinoff "DC's Legends of Tomorrow." Coming midseason.

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The CW brings a hot music act to its upfront every year. This time, Of Monsters and Men perfomed.

And OK, here you go. More Miley. Listen, she's nutty, often high and can get pretty unnecessarily vulgar. But then she does have a strong voice, and a commanding presence. (The Flaming Lips joined her on stage at one point, but she easily overshadowed them). Some more pics:

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