Upfront Presentations 2018: The Good, The Bad, The Upstaged

This year’s Upfront Week was always going to be challenging, what with many of the most buzzed-about “new” series for next season having already debuted years ago, and corporate overlords consigning broadcasters to the back half of pr…

This year’s Upfront Week was always going to be challenging, what with many of the most buzzed-about “new” series for next season having already debuted years ago, and corporate overlords consigning broadcasters to the back half of presentations in which hitting the 2-hour mark means death. NBC believes in shorter commercial breaks this year – but longer Upfronts. Here are the Upfront Winners and Losers: Best Opening CBS, having long ago figured out that media buyers are…

Media Analyst To Shari Redstone On CBS: “Choose Between Winning The Battle And Losing The War”

One prominent media analyst is calling on Shari Redstone’s National Amusements to hold a public auction for CBS to determine its fair market value and help evaluate whether Viacom is the best match. “It’s up to Shari Redstone to chose…

One prominent media analyst is calling on Shari Redstone’s National Amusements to hold a public auction for CBS to determine its fair market value and help evaluate whether Viacom is the best match. “It’s up to Shari Redstone to chose between winning the battle and losing the war,” wrote Needham & Co.’s Laura Martin. Martin told Deadline that “it would be irresponsible” for National Amusements to press for a merger with Viacom before hiring an investment banker and…

5 Takeaways From CBS’ Upfront

CBS kept broadcast week of upfronts rolling on Wednesday with its presentation at Carnegie Hall. Here are the five key takeaways: 1. Leslie Moonves is the CBS brand. CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves took the stage and received a standing ovation from a siz…

CBS kept broadcast week of upfronts rolling on Wednesday with its presentation at Carnegie Hall. Here are the five key takeaways: 1. Leslie Moonves is the CBS brand. CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves took the stage and received a standing ovation from a sizable portion of the crowd, with others cheering and whistling. It was […]

Les Moonves Jokes About Messy Legal Drama at CBS Upfront: ‘How’s Your Week Been?’

CBS held court at New York City’s Carnegie Hall on Wednesday afternoon for the network’s upfront presentation to advertisers, meaning we’re officially in the home stretch of upfront week.

CBS’ upfront began with the usual bit from sales chief Jo Ann Ross — this year we saw “Young Jo Ann” ride in the car with the “Young Sheldon” cast including Ian Armitage and Zoe Perry, who then joined her on stage. CBS aired trailers for new series including “The Neighborhood” (more on that below), “FBI” “Happy Together,” “God Friended Me” and its reboot of “Magnum P.I.”

Read below for six takeaways from CBS’ presentation this afternoon.

Also Read: CBS Exec on ‘Murphy Brown’ Reboot Ratings: ‘I’m Not Sure We’ll Get ‘Roseanne’ Numbers’

After morning no-show, Les takes the stage

Usually it’s not a big deal when the chief executive of CBS shows up at the upfront, but considering the corporate drama CBS and Shari Redstone’s National Amusements are currently embroiled in, it was a bit more noteworthy. Moonves skipped this morning’s pre-upfront breakfast, but following a video introduction with John Malkovich, he was given a standing ovation as he came out on stage.

“Good afternoon, everyone! Thank you, thank you. How about that John Malkovich? People say I’m scary. So, how’s your week been?” he said, quickly addressing the elephant in the room.

Around the same time a Delaware court granted CBS and Moonves a temporary restraining order against Shari Redstone and her holding company, National Amusements.

Through National Amusements, Redstone owns roughly 79 percent of the voting power in CBS and Viacom, which she has been trying to push to merge.

The restraining order will prevent Redstone and National Amusements from getting involved in CBS’ dealings while the media company decides what permanent action it wants to take to diminish Redstone’s control over the company.

“Anyway, for years I’ve told you I’m only out here for a few minutes, and this year, perhaps, for the first time, I actually mean it,” added CBS’ top exec on the upfront stage.

Murphy Brown welcomed back

Although there was no trailer for its “Murphy Brown” revival, CBS aired a “where are they now” clip that showed what Candace Bergen’s character and the rest of her “FYI” news team have been up to the past 20 years. Bergen and the rest of the original cast, including her now-adult “son” Jake McDormand, briefly took the stage as well.

“It’s so great to have the gang back together,” said Bergen. “We’re really sorry it took so long between season 10 and 11.”

Also Read: Why CBS Killed the Comma for Its ‘Magnum PI’ Reboot

Re-casting can be awkward

CBS’ first new series trailer was the Cedric the Entertainer starring “The Neighborhood,” and while it looked fine enough, there was one small problem: Josh Lawson, who played the role of Dave Johnson in the pilot, is being replaced by Max Greenfield. This isn’t the first time CBS has played a trailer featuring an ousted lead (anyone remember when they ran “Man With a Plan” with Jenna Fischer?). Honestly the whole thing was a bit awkward.

John Malkovich was cursing and confused by advertising lingo 

CBS may air on broadcast TV, but at its upfront, it took page of sister cable network Showtime and let the curse words fly. During the pre-taped video with Malkovich, he dropped a slew of F bombs. His best one was probably something every ad executive in the audience has uttered at least once or twice. “What the f—- is addressable TV?”

Also Read: CBS Fall Schedule: ‘Murphy Brown’ Booked for Thursdays, ‘Magnum PI’ on Mondays

Stephen Colbert has a warning for Steve Bannon

If you’re a TV network has a late night host, by upfront week law (we think) you have to trot that host out to make jokes to the ad buyers in the audience. CBS brought out “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert to joke about his own network’s new obsession with revivals, that messy legal battle with Viacom, and, of course, get in some jabs at his least favorite presidential administration of all time.

After welcoming ad buyers and any former Trump officials that were looking for jobs with CBS, he had a word of warning for Steve Bannon.

“‘The Amazing Race’ is not what you think it’s about.” In referencing how much has changed since he came out on this same stage a year ago: “You had no excuse if you were caught googling Stormy Daniels.”

Read more of Colbert’s best jokes here.

James Corden has a pitch

Not satisfied with one late night host, CBS brought its other late night host in James Corden, who used his three minutes on stage to pitch his own series. “If I’m honest, everybody has said it sucks but they’re wrong.” So he decided to go straight to the money. The pitch: Young Corden. As described by Corden, it’s a crime procedural that takes place in a sexy hospital, so basically every single CBS jammed into one.

In “pitching” the show, Corden touted that it combines the two hottest things right now: “A chubby friendly guy and stealing someone else’s idea.” And don’t worry, there is a part for Rob Lowe.

“Of course there is, what are we idiots?”

That’s a wrap from Carnegie Hall, now off to see if they let Moonves into the after-party at The Plaza Hotel. We’ll see you tomorrow for the CW and their DC Comics superheroes.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Stephen Colbert Mocks CBS’ Reboot Fever, Ugly Legal Battle With Viacom at Net’s Upfront

Les Moonves’ CBS Wins Temporary Restraining Order to Block Any New Shari Redstone Moves

Shari Redstone Changes CBS Bylaws to Prevent Board From Diluting Her Control

CBS held court at New York City’s Carnegie Hall on Wednesday afternoon for the network’s upfront presentation to advertisers, meaning we’re officially in the home stretch of upfront week.

CBS’ upfront began with the usual bit from sales chief Jo Ann Ross — this year we saw “Young Jo Ann” ride in the car with the “Young Sheldon” cast including Ian Armitage and Zoe Perry, who then joined her on stage. CBS aired trailers for new series including “The Neighborhood” (more on that below), “FBI” “Happy Together,” “God Friended Me” and its reboot of “Magnum P.I.”

Read below for six takeaways from CBS’ presentation this afternoon.

After morning no-show, Les takes the stage

Usually it’s not a big deal when the chief executive of CBS shows up at the upfront, but considering the corporate drama CBS and Shari Redstone’s National Amusements are currently embroiled in, it was a bit more noteworthy. Moonves skipped this morning’s pre-upfront breakfast, but following a video introduction with John Malkovich, he was given a standing ovation as he came out on stage.

“Good afternoon, everyone! Thank you, thank you. How about that John Malkovich? People say I’m scary. So, how’s your week been?” he said, quickly addressing the elephant in the room.

Around the same time a Delaware court granted CBS and Moonves a temporary restraining order against Shari Redstone and her holding company, National Amusements.

Through National Amusements, Redstone owns roughly 79 percent of the voting power in CBS and Viacom, which she has been trying to push to merge.

The restraining order will prevent Redstone and National Amusements from getting involved in CBS’ dealings while the media company decides what permanent action it wants to take to diminish Redstone’s control over the company.

“Anyway, for years I’ve told you I’m only out here for a few minutes, and this year, perhaps, for the first time, I actually mean it,” added CBS’ top exec on the upfront stage.

Murphy Brown welcomed back

Although there was no trailer for its “Murphy Brown” revival, CBS aired a “where are they now” clip that showed what Candace Bergen’s character and the rest of her “FYI” news team have been up to the past 20 years. Bergen and the rest of the original cast, including her now-adult “son” Jake McDormand, briefly took the stage as well.

“It’s so great to have the gang back together,” said Bergen. “We’re really sorry it took so long between season 10 and 11.”

Re-casting can be awkward

CBS’ first new series trailer was the Cedric the Entertainer starring “The Neighborhood,” and while it looked fine enough, there was one small problem: Josh Lawson, who played the role of Dave Johnson in the pilot, is being replaced by Max Greenfield. This isn’t the first time CBS has played a trailer featuring an ousted lead (anyone remember when they ran “Man With a Plan” with Jenna Fischer?). Honestly the whole thing was a bit awkward.

John Malkovich was cursing and confused by advertising lingo 

CBS may air on broadcast TV, but at its upfront, it took page of sister cable network Showtime and let the curse words fly. During the pre-taped video with Malkovich, he dropped a slew of F bombs. His best one was probably something every ad executive in the audience has uttered at least once or twice. “What the f—- is addressable TV?”

Stephen Colbert has a warning for Steve Bannon

If you’re a TV network has a late night host, by upfront week law (we think) you have to trot that host out to make jokes to the ad buyers in the audience. CBS brought out “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert to joke about his own network’s new obsession with revivals, that messy legal battle with Viacom, and, of course, get in some jabs at his least favorite presidential administration of all time.

After welcoming ad buyers and any former Trump officials that were looking for jobs with CBS, he had a word of warning for Steve Bannon.

“‘The Amazing Race’ is not what you think it’s about.” In referencing how much has changed since he came out on this same stage a year ago: “You had no excuse if you were caught googling Stormy Daniels.”

Read more of Colbert’s best jokes here.

James Corden has a pitch

Not satisfied with one late night host, CBS brought its other late night host in James Corden, who used his three minutes on stage to pitch his own series. “If I’m honest, everybody has said it sucks but they’re wrong.” So he decided to go straight to the money. The pitch: Young Corden. As described by Corden, it’s a crime procedural that takes place in a sexy hospital, so basically every single CBS jammed into one.

In “pitching” the show, Corden touted that it combines the two hottest things right now: “A chubby friendly guy and stealing someone else’s idea.” And don’t worry, there is a part for Rob Lowe.

“Of course there is, what are we idiots?”

That’s a wrap from Carnegie Hall, now off to see if they let Moonves into the after-party at The Plaza Hotel. We’ll see you tomorrow for the CW and their DC Comics superheroes.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Stephen Colbert Mocks CBS' Reboot Fever, Ugly Legal Battle With Viacom at Net's Upfront

Les Moonves' CBS Wins Temporary Restraining Order to Block Any New Shari Redstone Moves

Shari Redstone Changes CBS Bylaws to Prevent Board From Diluting Her Control

Judge Puts Brief Pause on CBS-Shari Redstone Legal Battle

A Delaware Chancery Court judge put a brief pause Wednesday on the legal battle between CBS and Shari Redstone. Following a hearing, Chancellor Andre Bouchard promised to issue a ruling before a special meeting of the CBS board, which is set to be held…

A Delaware Chancery Court judge put a brief pause Wednesday on the legal battle between CBS and Shari Redstone. Following a hearing, Chancellor Andre Bouchard promised to issue a ruling before a special meeting of the CBS board, which is set to be held on Thursday afternoon. He also granted a restraining order that will […]

CBS Upfront Presentation: Live Blog

CBS’s Armageddon Upfront will begin soon.
Technically speaking, this Upfront Week’s most anticipated new-schedule unveiling will be held at famed Carnegie Hall, per usual.
But it will be begin mere hours after Shari Redstone’s Nationa…

CBS’s Armageddon Upfront will begin soon. Technically speaking, this Upfront Week’s most anticipated new-schedule unveiling will be held at famed Carnegie Hall, per usual. But it will be begin mere hours after Shari Redstone’s National Amusements took the nuclear option, changing CBS Corp’s bylaws ahead of tomorrow’s board meeting to consider diluting the family’s control over the network. NAI said it had to make the move to ensure “the long-term success of CBS” – which…

Inside CBS CEO Les Moonves’ ‘Nuclear Option’ Court Battle Today With Shari Redstone

The showdown between CBS CEO Les Moonves and Shari Redstone, whose National Amusements has a controlling stake in the media giant, heats up today as both sides’ lawyers head into a Delaware courtroom.

The high-stakes hearing could determine who controls the company and whether CBS’ board has the authority to reject Redstone’s push for a merger with National Amusements’ other media giant, Viacom.

The feud between the two sides heated up this week when CBS and its independent board members filed a lawsuit seeking to restrain NAI from interference in its operations — including a planned special meeting of the board on Thursday in which they have threatened to dilute NAI’s voting power from 79 percent to 17 percent.

“This is definitely not something you see everyday. It’s a nuclear option,” CFRA Research media analyst Tuna Amobi told TheWrap.”Who knows what private conversations have happened between Les and Shari, but it’s impossible to imagine there are constructive negotiations going on now.”

Also Read: CBS Sues Parent Company to Dilute Shari Redstone’s Voting Power, Stop Viacom Merger

Amobi expects that the parties will try to expedite the proceedings, otherwise things could get ugly fast.

“It is only a matter of time before Ms. Redstone will attempt to replace the independent directors at CBS who do not agree with her positions,” the company said in a complaint filed with the court on Monday.

For its part, NAI said in a court filing on Wednesday it has “absolutely no intention of replacing the CBS board or forcing a deal that was not supported by both companies.”

In a court filing on Wednesday, National Amusements said it tried to negotiate detente with CBS as long as it adjourned the board meeting on Thursday, but CBS rejected the offer.

NAI also noted that any efforts it takes to prevent dilution of it stake “might trigger the departure of (and payment of massive parachute payments to) key management and directors of the Company” — a clear reference to Moonves himself, who stands to earn a nine-figure exit fee should he leave the company before the scheduled end of his current contract in 2021.

Also Read: Pauley Perrette Thanks CBS for Response to Her Assault Accusations: Network ‘Always Had My Back’

It’s possible CBS is simply trying to gain leverage. Jill Fisch, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, told TheWrap that she wouldn’t just assume CBS’ suit will lead to a trial.

The point of filing for a temporary restraining order, Fisch said, is to have the court weigh in on the case early. Delaware Judge Andre Bouchard will give both parties a sense of how the case could play out, which would give CBS and Redstone’s National Amusements a chance to negotiate.

But there’s no legal precedent for a board of directors trying to use a charter provision to wrangle control of a company from a majority shareholder, Fisch said.

“Nobody has tried this before,” she told TheWrap. “From the language used in the charter, it’s not clear what kind of legal standard the court would even use to make a decision. It’s going to propose some tough questions for the court.”

Also Read: CBS Orders 5 Pilots to Series, Including ‘Magnum PI’ Remake and Ava DuVernay’s ‘The Red Line’

The main questions facing the court right now are: Is the board within the scope of its rights, gifted by the charter, to consider offering a dividend to dilute Redstone’s power? And if the board is within its rights, would this course of action be permissible given the circumstances?

In its complaint filed with the court, CBS argues that the pressure Redstone has put on CBS to merge with Viacom, and the uncertainty surrounding the company as a result, has hurt CBS and its stockholders.

“CBS’s stock price has dropped from nearly $70 per share to nearly $50 per share since merger talks were reinstated — a loss of approximately $7 billion in market cap suffered by the Class B stockholders,” CBS said in its complaint. “This loss of market value has occurred despite management consistently delivering excellent results.”

In a statement following CBS’s filing, National Amusements called the move “outrageous,” and said it plans to “vigorously” defend its position in court.

Related stories from TheWrap:

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, ‘Girls Trip’ Producer Will Packer to Keynote at TheGrill 2018

CBS Beats Q1 Earnings Forecasts on Record Revenue

CBS Chief Les Moonves Earned Less in 2017, Still Made $69 Million

The showdown between CBS CEO Les Moonves and Shari Redstone, whose National Amusements has a controlling stake in the media giant, heats up today as both sides’ lawyers head into a Delaware courtroom.

The high-stakes hearing could determine who controls the company and whether CBS’ board has the authority to reject Redstone’s push for a merger with National Amusements’ other media giant, Viacom.

The feud between the two sides heated up this week when CBS and its independent board members filed a lawsuit seeking to restrain NAI from interference in its operations — including a planned special meeting of the board on Thursday in which they have threatened to dilute NAI’s voting power from 79 percent to 17 percent.

“This is definitely not something you see everyday. It’s a nuclear option,” CFRA Research media analyst Tuna Amobi told TheWrap.”Who knows what private conversations have happened between Les and Shari, but it’s impossible to imagine there are constructive negotiations going on now.”

Amobi expects that the parties will try to expedite the proceedings, otherwise things could get ugly fast.

“It is only a matter of time before Ms. Redstone will attempt to replace the independent directors at CBS who do not agree with her positions,” the company said in a complaint filed with the court on Monday.

For its part, NAI said in a court filing on Wednesday it has “absolutely no intention of replacing the CBS board or forcing a deal that was not supported by both companies.”

In a court filing on Wednesday, National Amusements said it tried to negotiate detente with CBS as long as it adjourned the board meeting on Thursday, but CBS rejected the offer.

NAI also noted that any efforts it takes to prevent dilution of it stake “might trigger the departure of (and payment of massive parachute payments to) key management and directors of the Company” — a clear reference to Moonves himself, who stands to earn a nine-figure exit fee should he leave the company before the scheduled end of his current contract in 2021.

It’s possible CBS is simply trying to gain leverage. Jill Fisch, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, told TheWrap that she wouldn’t just assume CBS’ suit will lead to a trial.

The point of filing for a temporary restraining order, Fisch said, is to have the court weigh in on the case early. Delaware Judge Andre Bouchard will give both parties a sense of how the case could play out, which would give CBS and Redstone’s National Amusements a chance to negotiate.

But there’s no legal precedent for a board of directors trying to use a charter provision to wrangle control of a company from a majority shareholder, Fisch said.

“Nobody has tried this before,” she told TheWrap. “From the language used in the charter, it’s not clear what kind of legal standard the court would even use to make a decision. It’s going to propose some tough questions for the court.”

The main questions facing the court right now are: Is the board within the scope of its rights, gifted by the charter, to consider offering a dividend to dilute Redstone’s power? And if the board is within its rights, would this course of action be permissible given the circumstances?

In its complaint filed with the court, CBS argues that the pressure Redstone has put on CBS to merge with Viacom, and the uncertainty surrounding the company as a result, has hurt CBS and its stockholders.

“CBS’s stock price has dropped from nearly $70 per share to nearly $50 per share since merger talks were reinstated — a loss of approximately $7 billion in market cap suffered by the Class B stockholders,” CBS said in its complaint. “This loss of market value has occurred despite management consistently delivering excellent results.”

In a statement following CBS’s filing, National Amusements called the move “outrageous,” and said it plans to “vigorously” defend its position in court.

Related stories from TheWrap:

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, 'Girls Trip' Producer Will Packer to Keynote at TheGrill 2018

CBS Beats Q1 Earnings Forecasts on Record Revenue

CBS Chief Les Moonves Earned Less in 2017, Still Made $69 Million