With new drama Notorious subbing for Scandal in the hammock 9 PM slot of ABC’s TGIT lineup, the network won’t brand the night as TGIT in the fall. While the branding came from ABC Marketing, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey acknowledged that it has been closely associated with Shonda Rhimes and her Shondaland company, which produces all three shows that have been part of TGIT for the last two seasons, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How To Get Away with Murder.
Dungey explained why ABC couldn’t put another Shondaland series in the fall to replace Scandal, whose production was delayed to accommodate star Kerry Washington’s pregnancy. The Catch, which changed showrunners during production on Season 1, was given more time to work on the second season, while new drama Still Star-Crossed was always designed to go for midseason because of its scope and production schedule from the start.
“It made sense to wait until Scandal comes back in January” to bring back #TGIT, Dungey said.
Marvel is down to one series on ABC with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as Agent Carter was canceled and the Marvel’s Most Wanted pilot was not picked up.
Dungey said she will be meeting with Marvel TV executives in two weeks. “There is a lot of enthusiasm figuring out what would be (the next Marvel show on ABC). “We all came to an agreement that the next show that we want to do together is something that is as creatively strong as it can be.”
As for Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood, whose S.H.I.E.L.D. characters Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter toplined Marvel’s Most Wanted, could they return to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? “The characters were disavowed on the show,” Dungey said, a reference to the actors’ exit from the Marvel drama last spring. “But I never underestimate Marvel’s ability to bring people back.” (Palicki has since been tapped as a lead of a new series, Seth MacFarlane’s Fox dramedy, she could guest star on S.H.I.E.L.D. at best.)
When Dungey landed the president of ABC Entertainment job, there was talk about a programming direction shift at the network away from heavily serialized dramas to procedurals. The network in May canceled its veteran procedural, Castle, while picking up a new one for the fall, Conviction. There will be more next season.
“In terms of closed-ended stories, I think they are terrific, and when you get them right, they really, really work,” Dungey said. “In this binging culture, there’s something about serialized dramas that really compels people. But I would like to see more closed-ended procedurals on the network, particularly because we have to schedule 35 weeks in a year, and it’s nice because with a procedural you can do 22 episodes and they generally repeat really well.”
With Americans’ distrust in the government and the police on the rise, sometimes resulting in violence, Dungey was asked about approaching the topics since ABC has a number of drama series that deal with the subject.
“We are in the business of entertainment,” she said. “There will be shows that parallel events in real world, sometime very closely. We have to be responsible telling these stories. We want to be honest and never be in a position where we would glorify violence or be gratuitous about it.”