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TV network upfronts: Colbert selfies, Supergirl rules and Miley Cyrus in pasties

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A publicity still for "Supergirl."
A publicity still for "Supergirl."

Stephen Colbert wowed crowds, "Supergirl" looks great, people don't know what NBC is thinking with its Dolly Parton movie series and Miley Cyrus played Johnny Cash in pasties.

The TV network upfronts presentations, where the networks sell advertisers on next season's TV, are wrapping up, and we broke it all town with Los Angeles Times reporter Stephen Battaglio.

Stephen Colbert taking "The Late Show" throne

"The big question about Stephen Colbert is, who is he outside of the character that we saw on 'The Colbert Report'?" Battaglio said. "And I would say, outside of the politics, he's pretty much the same guy — or at least his comedy persona is pretty much the same."

Colbert wowed the crowd, Battaglio says, offering more of a personal connection than the outgoing David Letterman.

"He posed for selfies with pretty much every advertiser and agency executive that was lined up to see him," Battaglio says. "David Letterman, who Colbert is replacing, really comes from this era where the host was this distant figure, who talked and the audience listened, and that was kind of the end of the relationship. We're in a different time now with late night hosts. You have to make a connection with the audience. You have to be there for them. They want to know a lot more about you, they want to engage with you in every way that they can, and Colbert is comfortable with all that."


Supergirl trailer

The DC Comics superhero show "Supergirl" looks like a bit of a departure for CBS, which normally programs procedurals and goes after an older audience, but Battaglio says it looks great and plays broader than some of DC's other shows.

"It didn't have a heavy scientific or mythological feel to it, which is what you would I think expect if you saw the show on CW, which is a little bit more geek-oriented. 'Supergirl' is a very blue sky kind of show. It's outside, it's fun, it's optimistic — there's nothing dark about it, which is what you see in a lot of the other comic superhero shows."

Battaglio says he thinks there's no problem with the show being on CBS, and that "Supergirl" was one of the shows that impressed those in attendance, along with ABC's introduction of "The Muppets" in primetime.

"Everything else becomes kind of a crap shoot, because the audiences are so small today."

NBC offers a head scratcher: Dolly Parton

The most out there idea: NBC going big on Dolly Parton.

"People were really wondering why NBC would be doing a series of TV movies based on Dolly Parton songs and stories. That really sent people out of Radio City Music Hall wondering if they have a steady hand on what's going on over there."

Miley Cyrus + Adult Swim

The one big disappointment for Battaglio: Missing the Adult Swim upfronts party, which featured a concert by Miley Cyrus.

"She apparently performed 'A Boy Named Sue,' the Johnny Cash song, while wearing pasties. And I don't think that there would have been another experience like that in my lifetime, so it's some regret that I'm going to live with for a while."

An excerpt from that performance:

Miley Cyrus "A Boy Named Sue" excerpt

Cyrus playing "Tiger Dreams" at the party with the Flaming Lips:

Miley Cyrus & Flaming Lips: Tiger Dreams

Miley's done that "A Boy Named Sue" cover before — here she is doing the full song:

Miley Cyrus: A Boy Named Sue

The pop star has been doing a number of pop covers lately — she also recently covered Crowded House classic "Don't Dream It's Over" with Ariana Grande while wearing a unicorn outfit:

Don't Dream It's Over

Miley did a number of other covers and also performed with the Flaming Lips. Her full set (via Stereogum):

“SMS (Bangerz)”
“Do My Thang”
“A Boy Named Sue” (Johnny Cash cover)
“50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” (Paul Simon cover)
“No Freedom” (Dido Cover)
“Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” (Led Zeppelin cover)
“Tiger Dreams” (w/ the Flaming Lips)
“A Day In The Life” (The Beatles cover) (w/ the Flaming Lips)
“My Neck, My Back” (Khia cover)
“We Can’t Stop”
“Love Money Party”

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