ABC chief talks fall failures, successes
Posted January 10, 2013
ABC Entertainment chief Paul Lee says he's pleased Jimmy Kimmel has "come out strong" in his new time slot and is bullish on Seth MacFarlane's Oscar hosting gig: "I think he's going to bring us a really contemporary feel," he says. " I'm sensing that he's going to have lot of fun out there," if Thursday morning's jokey nominations announcement is any indication.
Modern Family continues to be strong, and many of ABC's dramas gain lots of viewers when delayed DVR viewing is counted. But he's "disappointed there were no breakout hits" in the third-ranked network's lineup. Last Resort failed because it "did not connect" with women viewers, though it had a small but loyal following among men. "If we do shows that guys like and women don't come to, that won't work for us," he says. He expressed surprise that 666 Park Avenue didn't work because research suggested it had strong appeal, not the first time surveys' predictive powers have been lacking.
And Nashville has won traction among younger women but needs to broaden its audience to those 35 and older. Among midseason replacements are Red Widow, about a woman drawn into the Mob after her husband is murdered, and Zero Hour, a Da Vinci Code-style mystery starring Anthony Edwards.
Lee says Dancing With the Stars will remain on twice a season despite the aging reality hit's slump among younger viewers, and he blames the all-star format for fall's weak showing. "It turns out people want to see bad dancing more than good dancing," he says, and spring's season will revert to new cast members for whom viewers can follow the "journey" of improvement.
Many TV critics were most excited about a potential project for which a pilot episode has not even been ordered: Buffy, the Vampire Slayer's Joss Whedon, also behind Disney's hit movie The Avengers, is now developing comics-based S.H.I.E.L.D for ABC, the latest effort to mine characters from Marvel characters that Disney now owns.
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