No Kimmel? No Meyers? NewFront & Upfront Presentations Face Adjustments With WGA On Strike

At Amazon Ads NewFront presentation Monday, James Marsden took the stage to talk about his new Freevee comedy series Jury Duty, Tracee Ellis Ross was there to discuss her collaboration with Amazon Live on her beauty care line, and writer-producer Shea Serrano spoke about his upcoming Freevee series Primo.

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Less than 24 hours later, there will be no acting or writing talent at the Peacock NewFront presentation today, which will be one of the first New York locations picketed by WGA in the first day of the writers strike after their contract with the studio expired at midnight and negotiations failed to produce a new one.

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The Peacock NewFront had already been designed to focus on the platform and new features it offers for advertisers; the streamer’s content slate will be showcased alongside the rest of NBCUniversal’s upfront in two weeks. Still, Edie Falco, star of Peacock’s new Pete Davidson comedy series Bupkis, was supposed to introduce a clip on stage. That has been adjusted, with an executive taking on that duty.

Veteran showrunner Warren Leight, a WGA strike captain, revealed on Twitter that Falco canceled her appearance so she does not have to cross the picket line.

WGA has said that they plan to picket the upcoming NewFront and upfront presentations, so if the strike lasts more than two weeks, the major networks’ upfront presentations will be impacted.

For now, plans are for the events — including the NBCU, Disney and Fox presentations — to take place as scheduled, I hear. The situation is still very fluid but ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel and NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, whose late-night shows went dark immediately after the strike was called, likely won’t be able to deliver their traditional annual roasts the way they normally do it, live in front of advertisers. Still, sources stress that it is too premature to say definitively whether the comedians will participate. SAG-AFTRA actors also are unlikely to cross picket lines to appear on stage.

CBS this year is not holding its traditional New York upfront presentation where its late-night host Stephen Colbert has been a fixture but is planning an upfront reception in Los Angeles next week where stars and writers-producers are slated to appear. It is unclear yet whether the event will be picketed; showrunners shun promotional duties when on strike.

RELATED: Deadline’s Full Strike Coverage 

Amid a writers work stoppage, show creators also are not expected to fly to New York in support of their shows, and presentations will likely lean heavily on sports and news personalities. Everyone seems to be taking things day by day, and adjustments will be made continuously over the next couple of weeks.

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