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5 takeaways from ABC's Upfront – Diversity



Here are the five biggest take-aways from ABC's pre-presentation on Tuesday.

Roseanne Barr is the face of ABC

It was not long before ABC bragged about "Roseanne". Star Roseanne Barr appeared at the head of the show at the end of a recorded comedy video and then went on stage to introduce Disney-ABC Television Group Chairman Ben Sherwood as "the guy responsible for most of my tweets." Barr got a lot of applause as she stepped onto the stage – matching her rediscovered star power.

As Sherwood boasted, "Roseanne" was the highest rated television program of the 18-49 demo this season – for the first time in 24 years that ABC had the # 1

show. Sherwood and Barr hugged and a few minutes later ABC News launched a new marketing campaign with the voice of another "Roseanne" star, John Goodman.

"The premiere ratings even surprised us," said ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey, who claimed that 1 in 10 Americans saw the "Roseanne" revival premiere. Although the numbers for the comedy have declined significantly since the premiere, they have stabilized – they have recorded for two weeks with a 2.6 live game on the same day and a demo rating. If "Roseanne" receives similar reviews next year, it will prove that ABC's plan to revive the show was mocked after Barr's unpleasant appearance last year.

Roseanne is an imperfect face of ABC.

With rare numbers to send, ABC can not be expected to not make "Roseanne" his bonnet ornament. But the content surrounding "Roseanne" in advance revealed what an odd fit the show is for that role. ABC has spent years connecting its brand with shows such as Modern Family, Black-ish, Speechless, Fresh Off the Boat and How to Get Away with Murder. "Roseanne" overrated in the Midwestern states, where Donald Trump performed well in 2017, and television TV struggled to connect with mass audiences. The schedule ABC touted at upfronts was short on similarly designed programs. The only new series that seems suitable for "Roseanne" is Nathan Fillion's cop drama "The Rookie".

Then there is their politics. Just minutes after Barr entered the stage, Freeform presented. When shots of David Hogg from the Parkland School Shoot for the Disney Cable Channel appeared, he recalled that Barr had a rally against Twitter the week Roseanne had his premiere, accusing Twitter of giving him a Nazi salute Armed force. Smuggling the ABC brand to a star who exposes alleged conspiracy theories is a risky affair.

Michael Strahan is the face of multiple networks.

Advertising buyers gathered at the Lincoln Center were treated to Michael Strahan's second day pre-tour. A day earlier, Strahan had joined Fox's co-stars Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, and Howie Long in a Fox & # 39; s premiere. On Tuesday he joined his ABC News colleagues on stage.

On the one hand were his fellow campaigners Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos, on the other David Muir and Amy Robach, Strahan literally stood in the center of the ABC News pitch. His ubiquity this week underscored his dramatic rise as a broadcaster since retiring from football in 2008. This fall, he will host Fox's "Thursday Night Football" foreplay show, an analyst on "Fox NFL Sunday" and a hosted on Good Morning America "- after appearing on ABC as host of" The $ 100,000 Pyramid "this summer.

TGIF is kinda back, maybe.

With the movement of" Speechless "and" Fresh Off The Boat "on Friday night, Dungey hinted at the return of TGIF, the 90's Friday night comedy brand, with shows like" Full House "and" Family Matters. "But the rollout seemed lukewarm, with no" TGIF "graphics on The lack of fanfares indicated that the scheduling for the two shows was postponed at 8:00 pm Friday's was perhaps a late-game decision, or at least the revival of the TGIF-Mo nikers – whom Dungey used in a teleconference with reporters earlier in the day –

ABC's bigger comedy brand, long network strength, now seems to be a mixed bag. Dungey was voiced this morning about the future of "Modern Family," which co-creator Steve Levitan has hinted might end his next season. Ant seems to have been a missed opportunity that ABC has failed to develop a multi-camera comedy that pairs with "Roseanne" on Tuesdays the following season.

Kenya Barris is the new Shonda Rhimes.

For years Shonda Rhimes has been the main creative force at ABC. Although the TGIT block of Rhimes-produced shows Thursday Night remains a feature of the network plan, the only mention of Rhimes leaving ABC Studios for a full contract with Netflix last year was Jimmy Kimmel's joke about her exit. "Shonda is an amazing talent and a person who has changed the face of this network," said Kimmel. "Now that she's going to Netflix, I can honestly hope, on behalf of everyone here at ABC who worked with her for so long, that she's going to rot in hell."

Still at ABC is "Black-ish" creator Barris, whose profile continues to grow. Freeform's Kary Burke praised Barris as she offered the series order for his new show "Besties". Dungey did the same, praising "Black-ish." An appearance by Yara Shahidi, star of Barris & # 39; Grownish, was the highlight of Freeform's part of the Upfront. Barris was by far the most prominent creator of the Upfront, a position long held by Rhimes.

But it remains unclear what Barris' future is at ABC. After shutting down a recent episode of "Black-ish" this season, Barris tried to quit his ABC studio deal to join Rhimes at Netflix. But his interest in the streaming service is complicated by the fact that he still has two years on his current contract. Speaking to reporters this morning, Dungey was optimistic about the company's relationship with Barris, saying that the two had recently discussed new deals. But Barris has remained silent since the Black-ish episode in February.


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