Paul Lee, President of ABC Entertainment Group, met with journalists at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., on Tuesday and touted the success of the network’s new fall shows — “Revenge,” “Once Upon A Time” and “Suburgatory” in particular — referring to these hits as “sticky” series that audiences want to tune into week after week.
“We certainly thought there was room for some ambitious shows, for some really sexy, sticky shows like ‘Revenge’ and for some really sophisticated, smart shows like ‘Suburgatory,’ Lee said, further gushing about “Revenge” by adding, “It’s sexy. It’s sticky. It’s moreish, as the Brits say. You just want more of that show.”
And though Lee takes some credit for giving these shows their “place in the sun” by staggering premiere dates to avoid the crush of new programming that appears in early fall, ultimately, he says, these series are successful because they are creatively strong shows.
“In the end, it’s all about the show,” Lee said. “If Mike [Kelley, ‘Revenge’ creator] hadn’t created a story that everybody wanted to come back to, none of the efforts of the network would have held. So I give credit to the showrunners much more than I do to our positioning or our marketing.”
More highlights from the ABC executive session:
Expect “Cougar Town” to receive a March premiere.
“We haven’t yet landed where it’s going to go, but it’s tentatively in there for March, and it’s in there for a very good reason,” Lee said. “We’re going to give it a really good launchpad.”
Don’t say the B-word
At one point, both new series “GCB” and “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23” contained the word “bitch” in their titles — “Good Christian Bitches” and “Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23,” respectively. But as would be expected, Lee said “on broadcast, it turns out it’s not a word that you want to use in the title.” “Apartment 23,” about an unapologetic New Yorker who takes in a naïve new roommate, has a lot of attitude; Lee said keeping the bitch reference “reflected the irreverence and the outrage of that show.”
As for “GCB,” about a former mean girl socialite who returns to her hometown of Dallas, Lee said it “officially stands for ‘Good Christian Belles,’” also a discarded title.
“It’s sort of by chance that we have two [series with ‘bitch’ references in the title], but we’re spreading them out for a couple of months [on the schedule],” Lee said. “I didn’t want to do my trilogy.”