NBC hoped to wow advertisers with its reach and content at a glitzy presentation Monday for its fall lineup, parading out a clutch of Kardashians and Olympic gold winning athletes, getting “The Voice” judges to sing and even offering a few gentle pokes at a new Oscar-winner — Rami Malek.
Malek was at Radio City Music Hall to promote the fourth and last season of “Mr. Robot” on USA but he was roasted at the top of the 90-presentation by the cast of “Saturday Night Live” and later by late night talk show host Seth Myers, who mocked the entire notion of having to attend the so-called “up fronts.”
“Rami Malek was here today. Rami stars on ‘Mr. Robot’ and he recently won an Oscar for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury and he still couldn’t get out of coming to up fronts,” Myers said. “I mean, what’s it gonna take? If I ever win an Oscar, the first thing I’d think would be, ‘I think this means I don’t have to go to up fronts.'”
Others who attended the presentation included a jort-clad Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Rosario Dawson, Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie and Ted Danson, who joked that turning 70 means that in five years he’ll become “iconic” and in a decade, “a national treasure.”
The “This Is Us” cast was celebrating getting a three-season renewal. Actress Chrissy Metz said before the presentation: “To be doing something that you love with people you love that really changes people’s hearts and their minds, it’s like, ‘What?’ You know, it’s incredible.”
Co-star Milo Ventimiglia agreed: “The personal victory is I get to hang out with this character a little bit longer and these people for a little bit longer, so that’s the exciting thing of knowing we’re doing three more seasons. Everyone wins.”
Mariska Hargitay noted that “Law & Order: SVU” will mark a historic milestone when it enters its upcoming 21st season — becoming the all-time longest running prime-time drama. “I’m so incredibly proud that our show broke network taboos, to tell stories that had been kept secret out of shame, out of fear,” she said.
NBCUniversal touted its vast networks, which includes NBCSN, Syfy, Telemundo, E!, MSNBC, CNBC and USA. Kendall Jenner and Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian highlighted the broadcasting giant’s commitment to unscripted shows. Thirteen female Olympic gold winners, including Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Lindsey Vonn and Tara Lapinski, tried to make advertisers excited about the upcoming 2020 Olympics.
The presentation kicked off when “SNL” recreated its “Celebrity Family Feud” sketch, led by Kenan Thompson’s impersonation of Steve Harvey. One of the contestants was Pete Davidson, impersonating Malek. “This is so exciting,” Davidson deadpanned in a slow, unemotional voice. “I was manufactured in Japan.” Others who were mocked included Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, and Sterling K. Brown from “This Is Us.”
Live music was provided by Luis Fonsi, who sang Latin-spiced hits including “Livin’ la Vida Loca” and “Despacito,” as well as “The Voice” personalities Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, John Legend and Kelly Clarkson knocking out Rolling Stones songs.
The upcoming NBC lineup is relatively stable — with just four new dramas and four new comedies — adding to returning shows like “Superstore,” ”New Amsterdam,” ”Blindspot,” ”The Good Place” and the Wednesday block of “Chicago Med,” ”Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.” And “Sunday Night Football” anchors Sunday, of course.
New shows include the comedy “Perfect Harmony” with “Bradley Whitford playing a choir director, “Bluff City Law” with Jimmy Smits as a lawyer and “Sunnyside” with Kal Penn helping a group of immigrants. Later in the season will see the debuts of the tear-jerker “Council of Dads,” the whacky “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” the crime procedural “Lincoln” and Fran Drescher’s return to NBC in “Indebted.”
NBC is the first network to kick off a week of TV presentations and Myers noted that being prepared for Monday’s event wasn’t the best timing.
“Let me just say how great it is that NBC’s presentation is the day after Mothers’ Day because my wife is the greatest mother in the world and nothing makes her feel more appreciated than when I said to her yesterday, ‘Do you mind keeping an eye on the kids? I’m going to try to write some jokes about NBC’s new fall schedule.'”
Associated Press writer Alicia Rancilio contributed to this report.