As I mentioned in our ABC Comedies preview, Paul Lee is out at ABC. The reason Paul Lee got fired was because he didn’t listen to me. Last year, I told him which ABC Dramas to pick up to series. The only one on my list he picked that premiered in the Fall was Quantico. Surprise, surprise… that’s the only one that got renewed! Blood & Oil, Of Kings and Prophets, and Wicked City were all busts. Expensive, off-brand, misguided busts. Seriously though, the whole slate last year was a bit of a downer.
Who watches ABC Dramas? Women. Shonda Rhimes shows are very, very popular. They’re sticky. They’re viral. There was a time when Scandal owned Twitter, until Empire came along. And yet, Lee & company decided to go with high-concept, no-audience freshman dramas last season. There’s no way two ladies at work would be standing around a water cooler talking about Blood & Oil. I hate to say I told you so… but I told you so.
Now that we’ve covered the past, let’s cover the future. ABC has eleven dramas in contention, with another one already picked up to series. That’s a lot. They also have constituents they have to keep happy — Shonda Rhimes and Marvel, to name but two. Not surprisingly, both Rhimes and Marvel have a series in contention. Could they be groomed as replacements for Agent Carter and has-to-end-at-some-point Grey’s Anatomy? Or will new ABC president Channing Dungey go out on a limb?