The major TV networks are making announcements about their schedules this week, responding to the successes and failures in the first half of their 2010-11 seasons, as part of the Television Critics Association winter press tour. ABC president Paul Lee spoke today about the state of his network. What's good, bad, and puzzling about what he had to say?
"A brand that combines smart with heart..."
That's Lee's vision for ABC, something exemplified in its recent breakout hits like Modern Family and Castle. Lee said that he wants to foster a "showrunner culture" at the network, where producers will be allowed more control over their series.
The network announced early renewals for its hit comedies Modern Family, Cougar Town, and The Middle—all testaments to the success of allowing a show's distinct voice shine through. Similarly, early pick-ups for Shonda Rhimes' Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice—as well as Castle—make a further case for how this "showrunner culture" will continue to set ABC's programming apart from its procedural drama-heavy competitors.
While Lee is to be commended for cheering his smart slate of comedies, his most effusive praise was reserved for a less-deserving program: The Bachelor. "This particular season is going to be delicious and funny and fascinating and sexy in all the right ways," he said. "I would personally hold up The Bachelor—and I take none of the credit for this; this precedes me—of how you can take a really good idea and own it." The takeaway: not only is the The Bachelor going anywhere anytime soon, but expect to see many more copycats in the vein of Dating in the Dark, More to Love and other nadirs of network programming.