The Q&A position of ABC’s TCA executive session started with props to The Bachelorette, with a critic quoting the network’s entertainment president Channing Dungey’s comment at the same event last year that it may be a while for The Bachelor franchise to produce its first diverse star. Instead, that happened fast with the current season of The Bachelorette. “I’m really pleased because it was a very organic thing that happened,” Dungey said.
From then on, the spotlight shifted to the franchise’s offshoot Bachelor In Paradise, whose delayed upcoming season was mired in controversy with allegations of a sexual assault on set that led to a production shutdown and an investigation by producer Warner Bros. that concluded that there had been no sexual misconduct.
Dungey called the incident “a little bit of a wake‑up call to really make sure that we have all of the right processes in place, and I think we feel very good that we do.” She added that it “has brought to light some safety issues that we want to make sure that we are more on top of moving forward in terms of making sure that our contestants are safe and protected at all times.” She would not comment on the results from the investigation, referring to the studio.
Dungey also was asked to address the first promo for Bachelor In Paradise, featuring fan tweets, which was labeled by some viewers as tone deaf. “We were never looking for a way to sensationalize it,” she said. “We thought that it was cheeky and funny and sort of in line with the show. However, the response told us otherwise, and then we pulled it.”
Also among the topics was ABC’s upcoming reboot of American Idol.
“What I like about American Idol is that it’s broad,” Dungey said when asked why she thinks the revival will work after a series of music reality series on the network have failed, most recently Boy Band this summer. She also was asked about the financials on the show, which reportedly spent around $25 million to get Katy Perry as a judge and another $12 million or so on Ryan Seacrest as host.
“To have somebody like her on the panel is fantastic,” Dungey said of Perry, noting that “we make sure we make the right decisions to make the show financially viable… We hope to be a home of Idol for quite some time.”
During the session, Dungey also addressed the relationship with corporate Disney sibling Marvel, and the fact that the Marvel series on ABC have not been as well received critically as Marvel’s dramas for Netflix.
“The tone and style of the Netflix series, I don’t think they would work as well on ABC,” she said. She noted that “Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to grow creatively.” As for the upcoming ABC drama Marvel’s Inhumans, which was met with mixed reaction at Comic-Con, “it’s still work in progress,” she said, adding that changes have been made