Jimmy Kimmel didn't just bite the hand that feeds him with an outrageous monologue to advertisers -- he chewed it off and spit it back at them.
The ABC night time talk show host spoke to advertisers Tuesday at an annual shindig announcing the network's fall lineup, telling them they were gullible dupes easily separated from their money, according to The New York Times. The event, known in the business as an Upfront, took place at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall.
"Every year we lie to you and every year you come back for more," Kimmel said, adding the prediction that 90% or more of ABC's upcoming shows will be canceled. "You need therapy. We completely lie to you, and then you pass those lies on to your clients."
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Uneasy chuckles in the audience were punctuated by gasps, according to the Times. Most observers seemed to dismiss Kimmel's jabs as shtick, but his withering words had to make his bosses, who were watching from nearby, uncomfortable.
"Everything you've heard today, everything you're going to hear this week, is bull---t," he said.
Although much of Kimmel's firepower was directed at his own network and the companies that may or may have been considering advertising on it, he had some one-liners for the competition. He said Fox's "24" is "a head butt away from cancellation," a reference to star Keifer Sutherland's recent arrest for attacking a fashion designer.
He noted that ABC had tried unsuccessfully to lure Jay Leno away from NBC, and predicted Leno's 10 p.m. show would generate an older audience. And on the subject of demographics, Kimmel quipped that 10% of ABC viewers are "watching from homes they still own," according to TV Week.
But if he put off potential buyers with his barbs, he left them with something to think about: "Next year on "Grey's Anatomy," your product could kill Dr. Izzie," Kimmel said. "It just depends on how much you want to pay."
Leaving the stage, Kimmel had some advice for the executives whose companies provide the revenue that pays his salary.
"The important thing to remember is, who cares? It's not your money," he said.