Disney Presentation Heavy on Sports and Hulu Originals

Disney’s lengthy upfront presentation was heavy on clips from the company’s numerous networks and platforms during a presentation that ballooned to an hour and 45 minutes.

ABC will bow two new dramas in the fall: “Queens,” the Eve-headlined drama about a former ’90s hip-hop group, and Lee Daniel’s reimagining of “The Wonder Years” with a Black family at its center. There was also a lengthy “blackish” retrospective that set the table for the eighth and final season of the innovative family dramedy.

Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment chief Craig Erwich talked up the streaming service’s “continued content expansion.” To that end, Kris Jenner was on hand to tease a Kardashian-Jenner docuseries. Though she was mum on the details, she offered that they are “open to integrations and sponsorships.” There were also clips for Danny Strong’s “Pam & Tommy,” about the marriage of Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee, and the limited series “Dopesick,” about the Oxycontin scourge, starring Michael Keaton.

FX chief executive officer John Landgraf touted the network’s “almost 30 original shows” this year, including the 10th season finale of “American Horror Story,” which will air on Halloween, and “American Crime Story.” Meanwhile, on National Geographic, Garth Brooks teased the event series “National Parks.” ESPN chief Burke Magnus talked up the young audience reached by ESPN+ (Peyton Manning made an appearance to tout an expansion of his “Peyton’s Places” franchise this summer). He also, of course, talked up the sports network’s catalogue of rights including Monday Night Football, the NBA, the return of the NHL (after many years on NBC Sports), and beginning in 2026, the Super Bowl, on ABC. ESPN next year will bow the six-part documentary “The Captain,” about beloved New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

And ad sales chief Rita Ferro made an impassioned pitch to media buyers to take advantage of inclusion opportunities across all of the company’s brands. “A year ago next week, the world stopped,” said Ferro, referring to the wave of racial justice protests spurred by the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

In keeping with tradition, Jimmy Kimmel closed the presentation by skewering his own network. Rattling off the corporate speak and treacly sentiments the upfront audience just sat through, he summed it up as “our new glossary for 2021.”

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