A media industry troubled by a maturing streaming model and a bearish stock market was no match for the thick layer of nostalgia on display during Disney’s initial presentation on Tuesday. The company will celebrate its 100th anniversary later this year. And Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek opened the Basketball City presentation at Pier 36 in the South Street Seaport by recalling the company’s long history in storytelling.
“It’s an incredible milestone for us,” he said. “We’ve created memories for millions of fans across generations.”
What Chapek didn’t mention is that Disney+ will offer an ad-supported tier; a nod to the business imperatives of the premium streaming model. The celebrity-rich presentation reinforced the story-first philosophy.
Ellen Pompeo listed some impressive “Grey’s Anatomy” stats: Viewers watched more than 2 billion hours of “Grey’s Anatomy” last year; as the show celebrates its 400th episode next week, it is the longest-running primetime medical drama in television history; it is broadcast in more than 200 territories and in 60 languages; it featured the “first Asian gay surgeon, the first recurring deaf doctor and, this season, the first recurring non-binary surgeon,” Pompeo said. “When you see yourself on screen, wonderful things can and do happen.”
ABC will debut two scripted dramas in the fall: “Alaska,” starring Hilary Swank as a former New York reporter who takes a job at a small Anchorage newspaper after a scandal forced her into exile, and spin-off “The Rookie: Feds,” starring Niecy Nash-Betts as the FBI Academy’s oldest recruit. The network has also ordered “Celebrity Jeopardy!”, a primetime spin-off of the iconic game show, which will be hosted by Mayim Bialik, who shared hosting duties with Ken Jennings on the syndicated program.
Meanwhile, “Bachelor in Paradise” will air twice a week — Monday and Tuesday — filling the scheduling hole left by the company’s decision to move “Dancing With the Stars” to Disney+.
Kerry Washington, who spent seven seasons on Shonda Rhimes’ “Scandal,” reminded audiences that she started her acting career in an ABC After School Special, starred in “NYPD Blue,” and had a story arc on “Boston Legal”. .” More recently, she voiced a character in “The Simpsons” and produced Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere.” She hosted the upcoming Hulu drama “Reasonable Doubt” (starring Emayatzy Corinealdi as an unorthodox Los Angeles defense attorney). It’s the first new drama from Washington’s Onyx Collective, which she explained will produce “high-quality, culturally-specific storytelling for global audiences.”
The (long) ESPN portion of the presentation was led by the slightly funny Manning brothers (Peyton and Eli). Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and XFL owner and president Dany Garcia revealed that ESPN would be the exclusive home of the XFL, which Johnson called a “league of passion, pride and culture.” Of course, ESPN also has the NFL, which makes one wonder how the Spike Lee-directed Colin Kaepernick documentary will deal with the NFL’s treatment of Kaepernick.
Marvel Studio’s Kevin Feige shared previews of “Ms. Marvel,” the teenage superhero who’s releasing her own movie this June on Disney+ (and will also join “The Marvels” next year), “She Hulk Attorney at Law,” also coming this summer, and he revealed that “Echo” is in production.
As tradition dictates, Jimmy Kimmel closed the ceremony by poking fun at the hand that feeds.
At Disney, he says, “we are a happy family. If anyone in Florida asks, a straight family, mom, dad, and no gay uncles living in the guesthouse.
And he took direct aim at Chapek, who sports a shaved patty, and, uh, others: “A Disney CEO has never spoken candidly before, now we know why. Bob, I think I speak for all of us when I say, “Bob, we can’t wait to see you on ‘GI Jane II’.”