It’s been a rocky fall for fledgling ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee, who’s had to sit back and watch as pretty much all of the new shows green-lit by his predecessor (such as My Generation, Detroit 1-8-7, and The Whole Truth) have flopped with viewers. So it makes sense that Lee would use his meeting with reporters at this week’s TV Critics Association press tour to instead focus on what is working by giving early pickups to a slew of longer-running shows. Back next fall will be comedies Modern Family, Cougar Town, and The MIddle, along with dramas Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Castle. Not on the greenlight list (yet): Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters. Are they in danger of cancellation?
In the case of DH, probably not: Lee hinted to reporters that it would very likely be back but that “we’re not quite there” yet (in other words, expect a story soon about certain actors on the show holding out for more money). As for Brothers and Sisters, that show’s fate will depend on how excited Lee is about the new projects he’s working on for next season come May. Lee didn’t make much other news at his session Monday, using his time with reporters to mostly talk about his feelings that ABC needs to take more chances. Indeed, when Vulture asked Lee what he had learned from this season’s many failures, he said that the experiences had underlined “the importance of taking risks.”
Meanwhile, Lee did confirm reports that he’s keen on finding a way of working with Disney-owned Marvel on a series project. Such big tentpoles are “one of the things that our company does better than others I’ve worked for. You can get the whole company behind [them]. … We would love to make a Marvel franchise work.” Lee seemed less certain about reports out today about a new take on Wicked, however, saying it’s premature to even talk about how long the limited series might run. Cautioning the idea was just one of hundreds in development at ABC, Lee said he doesn’t “know if we’re even going to get there.”