Another day, another big network talks programming at the TCAs. Today it was ABC bossman Paul Lee and he opened the panel like this: “Good morning. So, what did you think of Work It?” Ha! Lee didn’t spend much time talking about the “controversial” new sitcom that has critics and regular TV viewers alike baffled at the sight of it on ABC’s midseason schedule. For one thing he admitted that he doesn’t get why people protested the show leading up to last week’s premiere. His words: “I don’t find it to be offensive, I didn’t get it.” When asked why he picked up the wacky workplace comedy in the first place he responded, “I thought that there was room for ambitious, sticky shows like Revenge and Scandal and smart shows like Suburgatory. And I thought that there was room for a very, very, very silly show like Work It.” Sorry, Lee, it’s not working…creatively at least. The soft premiere was still good enough for Lee to comment that the ratings were “right in the middle” of expectations. Hmpf.
What else? Lee set premiere dates for two ambitious new shows. Drama Scandal from Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy) premieres Thursday, April 5 at 10PM after Grey’s and comedy Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 starts Wednesday, April 11 at 9:30PM following Modern Family (Happy Endings‘ second season run will have concluded). His strategy here is simple and will likely prove effective. “We are using our number one drama to push the launch of Scandal, and we are using our number one comedy to push the launch of Don’t Trust The B—-,” Lee said.
Cougar Town fans, your show is coming back in the spring, but it’s season three premiere date still hasn’t been solidified. “The reality is I think Cougar Town is having one of its best [seasons],” Lee said. “We haven’t yet landed on where it’s going to go, but it’s tentatively in there for March. I think when we launch it, we’ll bring a big strong message that we love that show.” Lee went on to share a “dream” of his, one that involves ABC promoting a night of “young irreverent comedies” including Cougar Town, Happy Endings, and Apartment 23. Sounds tantalizing, doesn’t it? Update (1/17): Work It has been cancelled and Cougar Town will replace it starting February 14.
Also mentioned was upcoming drama set in the South GCB (formally Good Christian Belles, and before that Good Christian Bitches). Lee shared his thoughts on the use of the term “bitches” in not one but two of his midseason shows. Specifically about GCB: “We think it reflected the irreverence of the show, but we can’t use [bitch] in broadcast titles. What I’m hoping for is that it piques people’s interest. I would love people to go, there’s something edgy here.” And as for Apartment 23? “[It has] so much attitude…we felt it reflected the irreverence and the outrage of the show.”
What’s the fate of bubble show Pan Am? Lee says, “When it opened, it really brought an audience. There’s such a feeling of goodwill toward that show. We have new and original shows right through February.” Ratings check next month, and depending on the show’s pulse Lee will renew it or can it. Like he did Charlie’s Angels: “I don’t think we breathed life into that franchise but I think it was a strong attempt.”
[Via Deadline; THR; EW; TVLine]