Seth Meyers Skewers Tom Sandoval, Peacock, Fox News, Linda Yaccarino and More at NBCUniversal Upfronts

At the NBCUniversal upfronts, they saved the best for almost last: “Late Night With Seth Meyers” host Seth Meyers hit the Radio City Music Hall stage to throw out a few quips before introducing NBCUniversal ad sales chief Mark Marshall.

Meyers came out swinging: “Hello and welcome to the NBC upfronts. If you’re looking for the Fox News upfronts, that’s happening outside a lower Manhattan courtroom,” he said to chuckles.

More from Variety

He then took aim at the broadcast industry: “What a joy to be back in Radio City Music Hall. I asked an NBC executive why do you hold upfronts here every year and they said, ‘I like looking at the marquee and thinking, “Sure. It’s a tricky time for TV but it couldn’t be worse. We could be in radio.”’”

The uncertain fate of Paramount Global was ripe for comment: “Also, not to brag — a very good day for me. I found $20 on the street this morning. Long story short, I’m one of the two finalists for Paramount!”


And then Meyers took aim at the obvious story of this upfront: That streamers like Netflix and Amazon are now in the mix. “It must feel so gratifying that eventually everyone comes back to advertising,” Meyers said. “Remember when streamers told you, ‘We’re gonna do television a new way, so I’m afraid we won’t be needing your little commercials anymore!’ Cut to a few years later, every episode of ‘Shogun’ is interrupted by, ‘Whopper Whopper Double Whopper!'”

Meyers also noted the whole idea of upfronts is a bit puzzling. “At upfronts you think we’d be honest and upfront about everything but that tends not to be the case. For example, I’m gonna let you guys in on something. Not every branding opportunity is ‘unique.’ Sometimes it’s just a regular old branding opportunity. When you say ‘unique branding opportunity,’ you sound like the guys in ‘Glengarry Glen Ross.’ ‘I got a very unique branding opportunity, so unique I’m not even supposed to tell you about it! You remember “Deal or No Deal.” It’s on an island now. How’s that for unique?'”

He added: “‘Deal or No Deal’ was always a great show. So I admit I was surprised that moving it to an island works so well. I love ‘Jeopardy,’ but I don’t think I’d watch it more if it was in the woods.”

As for some of the new shows: “NBC is announcing airing new drama called ‘The Hunting Party.’ It stars South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and the dog from ‘Frasier.'”

That one got some laughs and groans. “I’d say Kristi Noem would make a good ‘Real Housewife,'” he added. “But Andy Cohen told me ‘she’s a lot’ — and if he says it!… Bravo announced the ‘Vanderpump Rules’ spinoff ‘The Valley’ has been renewed for another season. They’ve also picked out something from Tom Sandoval and are waiting to learn if it’s contagious… ‘Law and Order: SVU’ has been renewed for its 25th season and this is cool. It’s been on so long that criminals from season one are now eligible for parole.”

SIGN UP for Variety‘s free daily Upfronts newsletter

And then he took aim at Peacock: “Things happening on Peacock. Peacock continues to prove that the easiest way to make a billion dollars is to spend 8.”

But the loudest reaction from the audience of ad buyers may have been this deeply inside joke, about former NBCU ad sales chief Linda Yaccarino — now at Twitter, er, “X.”

“NBC is launching a new adventure competition series called ‘Destination X.’ ‘Destination X,’ or as it was originally titled, ‘The Linda Yaccarino Story,'” Meyers said.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.