Fox stars including Hugh Laurie and Keifer Sutherland turned out to help the network introduce its fall lineup to advertisers at New York City’s Armory – but of course the day wouldn’t have been complete without the net’s biggest stars: American Idol’s Randy, Paula and Simon, plus final two Katharine and Taylor.
Some of the day’s highlights:
• Ex-Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett took the stage to introduce his new sitcom with Joely Fisher, ‘Til Death, and crack some off-color jokes. “I’ll be honest with you,” he said. “It’s nice to stand on a stage and not have to kiss Ray Romano’s ass.” Next, he mercilessly ribbed Idol’s Paula Abdul: “Paula Abdul’s here! Nice to know Bellevue has a shuttle bus.”
• Kiefer Sutherland thanked the crowd for supporting 24. “When our show got picked up, I thought of the difficulty in completing the first 13 episodes,” he said. “Now we’re in our fifth season and the act of faith you’ve given us, along with Fox, is amazing. I wish I could buy you all a drink, but I’m sure (Fox entertainment president) Peter (Liguori) has taken care of that for you!”
• After clips rolled from House, star Hugh Laurie disarmed the crowd with his British humor. “I find it very difficult to watch the show myself,” he said, “but looking at that, I think this show is great! I know you are all happy the day will never end, but thank you for your support.”
• Liguori invited the Idol judges onstage, and faced some judgment himself. Asked Randy Jackson, “Are you just chillin’ dawg? Just runnin’ Fox? Now explain this look.” Liguori glanced down at his plain gray suit. Abdul commented, “Look at his shoes. They’re definitely better than Simon’s. The eyebrows could use a little bit of tweezing. I hear George Clooney and Taylor Hicks want their look back.” But the biggest laugh came from Simon Cowell. “It seems to me,” he said dryly, “that this is the most bored audience I’ve ever seen.”
• The best came last: Ryan Seacrest beamed in via satellite with Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee. Said Hicks, “I had no idea America would embrace gray hair as they have.” When Ryan asked the two what they’d been up to, Hicks answered, “No activity here. I wish there was some.” The audience laughed, thinking he’d implied that he had a slight case of McPhever. McPhee quickly jumped in: “No, it’s like being with a bunch of friends for three months and then sometimes they get on your nerves but everyone gets along.” Cracked Jackson, “We are actually crying with what you just said.”