Television Critics Association Press Tour: ABC

The Television Critics Association press tour is a yearly event when TV executives and the stars of new and returning TV shows gather in New York City for a week to discuss the latest developments at each network. The new, the old, the good, and the bad are discussed, along with all of the viewers’ and critics questions about our favorite TV shows. Unfortunately, I couldn’t be there in person, but that’s not going to stop me from reporting on all the latest news straight from the stars and the executives who make all of the decisions.

ABC

ABC has been having a pretty good season so far, but there are still many issues about the network that needed to be addressed (WHERE’S COUGAR TOWN?, what’s going to happen to the stars of Grey’s Anatomy, and where are some of the networks unscheduled mid-season shows going to land? All of those questions, and more, have been answered by ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee.

Grey’s Anatomy – This a major season for the long running ABC drama. The contracts of shows two main stars Ellen Pompeo (Dr. Meredith Grey) and Patrick Dempsey (Dr. Derek Shepard) are up at the end of the season, and at this time there is no clue on whether the two will be back next season. Dempsey has expressed interest in leaving the show, however, recently told People Magazine that he would return to Grey’s if he had “more time for racing” – not for his family, but for racing (???). Lee wouldn’t comment on the contract negotiations between the shows stars and executive producer Shonda Rhimes, but he’s expressed that “Shonda has a vision like no other. We’ve heard her vision, not just for the end of this season but beyond, and it’s really, really strong. I’m feeling very good about the show.”

Private Practice – ABC will be moving the Shonda Rhimes-created drama from its longtime Thursday night home to make room for a new Shonda Rhimes creation, Scandal, starring Kerry Washington. Scandal will debut Thursday, April 25th at 10p.m. As for Private Practice, the final four episodes of the season will move to Tuesdays at 10p.m. following Dancing with the Stars Results Show.

New comedy Apartment 23 – The long-awaited new comedy starring Dreama Walker, Krysten Ritter and James Van Der Beek finally has a premiere date: Wednesday, April 11th at 930p.m. after Modern Family.

The return of Cougar Town – This gem of a comedy has been off the air since May and all of its fans (including me) have been waiting anxiously for a return date. We didn’t get one from the ABC president, but we have some information. “Sometime in March” is all he’d say. Additionally, Lee stated that he would love to create a new comedy lineup that included Cougar Town, Happy Endings, and Apt 23. “It would be great to have a group of young irreverent comedies together, that’s a little bit of a dream for the future.” That would be one hell of a comedy lineup.

—— Cougar Town could return a little sooner than expected, however. The Tuesday 830p.m. slot may be vacant soon since new comedy Work It hasn’t been doing that well in the ratings the past couple of weeks. Lee told critics that its sub par premiere ratings “landed right in the middle of expectations.”

The success of Revenge and Once Upon a Time  – Lee was ecstatic to talk about these shows, saying that he was glad that “we did a good job of standing out from the clutter.” There is no doubt that both new shows are very different in storytelling, tone, and style from any new show on TV this season. Revenge scoop: the show may be leaving the Hamptons for season 2. Most likely to New York City, it’ll be interested to see how Emily (Emily VanCamp) seeks revenge on her enemies in the Big Apple.

The failure of Charlie’s Angels and Pan Am – “We didn’t breathe life into that franchise, but it was a really strong attempt” said Lee about Charlie’s Angels. Lee is very happy with the progress that Pan Am is making. He ensures that Pan Am will finish out its run – ending in February – and will be highly considered for a renewal, even though the decision wont come until May. Dont get your hopes up. The last new episode drew less than 5 million viewers. Its most likely to be cancelled.

GCB –  Short for “Good Christian Belles” is a  new drama to air Sunday nights at 10p.m. starting March 4th at 10p.m. ABC is hoping that this show will be the networks next Desperate Housewives.

Desperate Housewives –  The show is entering its final stretch on ABC. The series finally will air in May, and while producer Marc Cherry didn’t reveal any details about the finale, but according to Cherry “the last act, which I’ve had in my head for the last seven-and-a-half years, is definitely going to happen. I’ve got it in my head, but it is very much a surprise.”

The Middle – Whoopi Goldberg is set to guest-star on the comedy series later this season.

Modern Family – Kevin Hart will return as Phil’s neighbor, joining new guest stars Bobby Cannivale, Greg Kinnear, and Ellen Barkin.

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