Things aren’t great on ABC. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is doing OK, but it’s not a smash. “The Goldbergs” is doing OK, but it’s not a hit. “Super Fun Night” is running on fumes. “Back in the Game” is done. “Trophy Wife” is struggling. “Lucky 7” tanked. “Betrayal” tanked. “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” tanked. “The Assets” tanked. “Killer Women” tanked.
ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee drops by the Television Critics Association press tour on Friday (January 17) morning and we’ll see what he has to say.
Click through for the full Q&A.
9:46 a.m. ABC begins with a statement from Jimmy Kimmel about “kindness.” We get a TCA edition of “Mean Tweets.” It’s celebrities and Paul Lee reading mean tweets about themselves. It’s a good way to start. Sadly, only one tweet is from an actual critic, Linda Holmes of NPR.
9:49 a.m. “Mind Games” has been bumped up to February 25. Ha.
9:50 a.m. ABC will have another “Toy Story” special for Christmas.
9:50 a.m. Lee boasts about all the things they won in the fall. I have no clue what he’s talking about. He praises “Nashville” as a show that grows 75 percent in some measures. He says ABC has building blocks on every night. He knows that Tuesday at 10 and Thursday at 8 and Sunday at 10 are still problems. He says his job is to add assets every year and in “S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Goldbergs” are real assets this year. He says that it’s disappointing that the live numbers came down, he notes thatLady Sif is coming in Episode 15. We’ll also find out who The Clairvoyant is by the finale, if you happen to care.
9:53 a.m. Lee emphasizes that he’s very proud of “Resurrection.” He likes the dailies for “Black Box.” He mentions “Rising Star,” which he calls “the next generation of reality shows,” with its live-voting component. In Israel, 30 percent of people have the ap and vote. This ignores that Israel isn’t the United States, in terms of time zones and all that stuff, but whatever.
9:57 a.m. Yeah. I don’t get “Rising Star.” He thinks it’s going to be a star-maker here. They’re going to launch it in June with the NBC.
9:58 a.m. I don’t care about Maks future on ‘Dancing with the Stars” and Lee has nothing new to say about his status. He liked the way the one-night format worked, saying the season itself was up, even if the finale was down.
9:59 a.m. Yay! Time zone question! What happens to us on the West Coast. “So there are different time zones in America?” Lee asks, joking. He’s not exactly sure how they’re handling it. On the West Coast, we’ll see a live feed of the singer online and vote. Or something. That’s awful. They also played with the idea of having a couple of the singers decided by the West Coast towards the end. This is baffling to me.
10:00 a.m. Lee is a bit disappointed with “The Neighbors,” but he loves the show. He wants to make sure people can watch the show, making it available in different places. “People who find the show love it,” Lee says.
10:02 a.m. What was “Secrets and Lies” something ABC sent straight to series? They’re starting to do this some. He says they’re still doing pilot season, but they’re also doing some shows outside of pilot season. “We think we can cast someone really great in that one,” Lee says. He calls the Australian version “haunting.” They don’t have a timetable for it.
10:03 a.m. What went wrong with “Lucky 7”? “I think you’re right that English people enjoy other people’s misery,” he tells the questioner. He’s joking. He admits it should have been an 8 p.m. show. “We marketed it very early and didn’t get a response from it as an idea,” he says, calling it “an excellent piece of television,” describing it as “a risk.” “You can take too many risks. You can also air in the other direction,” he says. “It did not resonate,” he admits.
10:05 a.m. The short-run winter shows have done poorly. What has he learned? “What we really have to do is do better than what the repeats would have done,” he says. He insists some have done better and others haven’t. “As we learn this process, it’s a very interesting test case,” he says.
10:06 a.m. Our first question about the post-“Modern Family” slot. What are they thinking? “The reality is that we took the risk that we could open up another how,” he says, noting that “The Goldbergs” is beating “New Girl” and it’s very “muscular.” He says that Wednesday 9:30 is the best place for “Mixology” to find an audience and he thinks that overall they’re sticking with the decision. Utterly baffling.
10:08 a.m. What is the status of “Killer Women” and what will happen to episode of “The Assets”? He’s sure they’ll be able to find a place for people to watch “The Assets.” It was built around an interesting business model with ABC News and they’ll continue with that model in the future. “Killer Women” will stay where it is, but end slightly early. They’re trying to program year-round and they have to try different strategies. He repeats that he likes the model of “The Assets.”
10:10 a.m. Back to “The Goldbergs.” Does he think Wednesday night is a whole lineup? And does he think lead-ins and compatibility matter anymore? “I think the reality is that it matters, but it does not matter the way that it did in the ’80s,” he says. He reminds us that sometimes 70 percent of their viewers come after live, but says it still matters. “It’s one of a number of things,” he says. He says there are many factors, including creative and luck and marketing. “We couldn’t be more proud of ‘Modern’ and ‘The Middle,'” and he says he’s also a fun of “Suburgatory.” He loves “Mixology” as well.
10:12 a.m. Does ABC regret the decision not to air “Wonderland” in the game between “Once” segments? Yes. He actually admit that they may, in retrospect, have made a mistake because they wanted to play offense instead of defense on Thursday. Lee’s excited about The Wicked Witch of the West coming in for the second half of the “Once” season. “I totally take responsibility for that,” he repeats of “Wonderland.” Interesting.
10:14 a.m. “I think this changes the rules,” Lee says of why do another singing talent show now. He insists again that Israeli audiences went nuts for “Rising Star,” raving about the ap that was developed for the show, calling it “a 21st Century reality show.” Regarding Kevin Reilly’s statement about the death of pilot season, he describes himself “a gradualist” and says that things are shift a little, but he says that the focus and deadlines of pilot season work well for American television. Coming over from the UK, he’s immensely proud of what his showrunners have done in pilot season.
10:16 a.m. “We haven’t made a decision on it,” Lee says of the future of “Wonderland.” He suggests, though, that the “Once” showrunners might weave assets from “Wonderland” into the Sunday show.
10:17 a.m. What are his thoughts on “Trophy Wife”? And what does he think about “S.H.I.E.L.D.” creatively? “It’s a really good show. It’s a great show and we love the cast on that,” he says of “Trophy Wife,” noting again that they’re making it available. He says that “Trophy Wife” has a chance of coming back and he wants to see it come back. Regarding “S.H.I.E.L.D.” he says “it did take us a little bit of time to find our sea-legs.” The challenge has been to work with the studio to get more of the Marvel universe into it. He’s proud of how the last nine episode are arced out. He loves the last nine episode and says we’re going to enjoy what happens with The Clairvoyant.
10:18 a.m. How much farther can they go with “Revenge”? “There’s a long way to go in ‘Revenge,'” he insists. He recalls in the first season wondering if it could last longer than seven episodes. “They’re having a great, great time this year,” he says. He also loves the back-nine for this one. He calls “Revenge” a self-starter. He thinks “Resurrection” is a powerful show and will work as “a power-pack on Sunday night.” The “Revenge” team loves that they’re getting to make a 10 p.m. show again and won’t have to “pull their punches.”
10:20 a.m. What can he say about Agent Carter? And what is Marvel’s brand on ABC versus Netflix? Well, the Netflix deal is with their studio. He says “Agent Carter” has come in as a script and it’s “really great.” “That one certainly has a chance to be on the network.” The Netflix shows are for “Marvel super-fans”? The questioner, our buddy Alyssa Rosenberg, wants a “She-Hulk” legal procedural. Marvel is ambitious to enjoy both platforms, but he doesn’t want to jump the gun.
10:22 a.m. Can you have too many serialized shows? He thinks we’re entering a period where they can afford to be more patient. He compares TV to The Florida Recount with results changing. “We didn’t think that ‘Body of Proof’ could grow,” he says, explaining why they didn’t bring that one back. They’re developing more soaps, going for “classy.” He calls “Castle” one of the network’s great assets.
10:24 a.m. Were do limited shows fit? “The Assets” felt like a throwaway. “You will definitely get a chance to see that, whether it’s online or on the network,” Lee says of “The Assets.” He felt like they did promote “The Assets” well and says that he was pleased to have done it and they learned from it. He hopes that they can be more patient in the future. He repeats, again, that they’re taking a lot of swings and he just hopes that a number of them work. He promises that they are well into development on some limited series that are going to get “the full weight of an ABC A-priority launch,” but he can’t say what they are. He praises “Shark Tank” as a show that doesn’t necessarily get a big push, but which is a huge success.
10:26 a.m. Last question: Is he disappointed that “Modern Family” hasn’t gotten a post-syndication ratings bump? “Traditionally, what actually happens is that a launch is not quite as noisy and it takes a little bit of time to get into the blood supply,” he says of syndication. He says that they’re seeing a bump from “Castle” in syndication. He hopes they’ll get a “Modern Family” bump in a year. They are, of course, proud of “Modern Family” and “Scandal.” He says the “Modern Family” producers have great plans for this season and next.
That’s all, folks…