Last year, ABC Entertainment Prexy Steve McPherson wowed everyone with his dancing moves, in a "Dancing With the Stars" tie-in. This year, it was the cast of "Ugly Betty" performing a version of "A Chorus Line's" showstopper, "One."
Oh yeah, and they previewed some new shows, too.
ABC does bring some pizzazz to the upfront derby, but there's also a peculiar aspect to these affairs -- including an extended promo for the net's "Bingo Night" that, at least on the closed-circuit feed, left the audience looking as flat as they did during the preview for the net's new TV-ad-inspired-sitcom, "Cavemen." (While that show figures to get scads of attention, I have a feeling that the "Cavemen as last oppressed minority" conceit is going to be a very, very delicate line that won't be easily balanced.)
Otherwise, the Alphabet net's development looked reasonably good, though if I had to bet, that Wednesday lineup of three new dramas -- even if one of them is the "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff "Private Practice" -- is a strong candidate to have something delayed to midseason, if only to ease the promotional headache of trumpeting an entirely new night.
And I know McPherson and NBC counterpart Kevin Reilly are college buddies, but they still win the early version of this year's prize for "Two networks order the exact same show," with NBC's "Lipstick Jungle" bearing an uncanny resemblance to ABC's "Cashmere Mafia," almost down to the logo. Call it convergent evolution.
Then again, both "ER" and "Chicago Hope" hung around for awhile, so maybe these can too.
-- Brian Lowry