Tuesday and Wednesday saw Disney’s ABC and ABC Family take over the TCA Press with ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee addressing the media on Tuesday regarding numerous issues:
– Lee said that despite low ratings AND the show being pulled off the schedule AND the episode order being cut, Pan Am actually has a shot of returning next season. In other words, ending the series early and “waiting to decide its fate” would make people actually forget about it when its canceled in May. Smooth move, Paul.
– Lee also said there is no word on the fate of General Hospital, the last remaining soap on ABC’s schedule. He acknowledged a decision must be made, but there is no timetable. ABC has to act soon – General Hospital’s time slot will be turned over to the affiliates on September 10. “It depends on how the new shows do” Lee was quoted as saying, referring to soap opera replacements Chew and The Revolution, which debuts next Monday. Lee even said (maybe in jest) that a decision on Hospital might not even be made until next year. Next year? What? Look, Let’s face it: Chew has already equaled the ratings of All My Children and ABC is not going to drop Revolution after a mere nine months in a marketplace where syndicated shows get two or three years to prove themselves. Yep, I’m calling it: General Hospital will be canceled. Stop bullshitting us, Paul Lee. You just only stalling so you can put off hearing from angry General Hospital fans. How did this moron land a position like this anyway? Oh, that’s right. It’s the media business. How else do you explain Randy “Court Jester” Michaels is still around?
– Lee defended the decision to green-light alleged comedy Work It, which dropped 20 percent in the adult demo rating from its premiere last week. “I thought there was room for a very, very silly show” Lee was quoted as saying. Yeah, it’s silly alright – just not funny. I guess Lee was at Randy Michaels’ and Kevin Metheny’s poker party at the Tribune Tower when he green lighted this crap.
– Lee also said he is using ABC’s highest-rated programs to launch new series. Grey’s Anatomy is being used to launch Scandal while Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 leads out of Modern Family. Cougar Town returns in March, but a time slot has not been assigned. Lee also said the network plans to screen the pilot for The River at movie theaters all across the country before the series premieres next month.
– So you want to start a revolution…. At the press tour was the cast of the new talk show The Revolution which debuts Monday replacing One Life To Live, which ends its run Friday after 43 years. While fan angst isn’t at the fever pitch when All My Children was dropped for The Chew last September, it’s still evident and the cast had to address the issue right way. Ty Pennington: “We can’t replace the show, but what we offer is something different. It’s all about change and the Revolution is certainly about change.” “Hope and transformation” was thrown around a lot at the presentation.
Don’t know about you, but after reading reviews, I still don’t know what this program is all about. What’s the premise again? The five hosts weren’t exactly clear when they tried to define this concept at TCA. While whatever this is is a good alternative to Maury and Judge fill-in-the-blank, a show filled with “good intentions” doesn’t exactly lead to an entertaining program.
– Meanwhile, Marc Cherry and the rest of the cast of Desperate Housewives held a session at TCA outline their plans to close out the show after eight seasons. Cherry said he will make a cameo om the series finale when it airs in May. He told the audience he had a vision on how the series would end when he first created the series. In reference to whether if there would be any reunions or movies, Cherry said “[and] I’m just never sending any of these gals to [Abu] Dubai”, in reference to the heavily panned box office failure Sex in the City 2 (its also a place where Garfield would send Nermal whenever he annoyed him.)
– As for new series, one with a rather interesting title is Don’t Trust The Bitch in Apartment 23 (with the B bleeped out), created by American Dad! executive producer Nahnatcnka Khan with David Hemingson and Jeff Morton, The premise? A conservative girl from the Midwest is forced to bunk with a wild roommate (you know, the B) who parties hard (like having sex on top of – or maybe with birthday cakes.) Khan defended the “girls gone wild” concept, which is a hot trend right now on TV (for better or worse.) Another unique characteristic on the show is former Dawson Creek’s star James van Der Beek, who plays himself (though the device has been tried before with Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey in It’s Like, You Know, an ABC sitcom which ran during the 1999-2000 season.)
If the series is successful, look for the spinoff – Don’t Trust The W—- in Apartment 24 – with Real Housewives of Atlanta’s Nene Leakes as the W.
– Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes touted her new drama Scandal at TCA, in which a professional fixer (played by Kerry Washington) who solves problems – before they can happen (it’s like predicting the future and doing something about before it’s too late.) Ms. Rimes said she came up with the premise of the show from meeting a real-life professional fixer (certainly, they’ll have an episode where Kerry Washington tries to stop tries to stop the Chicago Bears from hiring GM Jerry Angelo and Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz.) Scandal premieres April 5 at 9 pm (CT) after Grey’s and run there for a few weeks. Private Practice meanwhile, will temporarily move to Monday after Dancing With The Stars.
Meanwhile, Paul Lee made some predictions herself – he envisions Grey’s Anatomy running another ten years. Ms. Rhimes wasn’t entirely sold on the idea: “We’ll see what happens”, she was quoted as saying. Despite serious missteps (the Ferry Accident Arc, characters appearing as ghosts, etc.), Grey’s continues to do well – the series is the top-rated in the time slot in the adult demo and key female demos.
At the panel for new Sunday might drama GCB, many wondered if the B stood for Belles or if it stood for Bitches. Exec Producer Robert Harling said the B actual stood for Belles, but it originally stood for Bitches (the Apartment 23 sitcom actually has the “bitch” title, albeit bleeped out.) The premise revolves around a recently divorced mother of two who returns to the affluent Dallas neighborhood where she grew up and finds it in moral disarray. The series debuts March 4.
– In other Disney/ABC news tidbits at the tour, ABC Family announced it would develop a movie based on The Nine Lives Of Chloe King, a series the network canceled last year… ABC Family is also looking at several reality-show formats to green-light… at the ABC News panel, news chief Ben Sherwood wants Good Morning America to beat Today in the ratings, but did wish luck to CBS’ new morning effort (they’ll need all the luck they can get)… Sherwood also said ABC has no plans on recent arrival Katie Couric anchoring World News Tonight, fill-in or otherwise… Disney plans to replace SOAPnet with Disney Junior, a new cable channel targeted to preschoolers on March 23.