ABC will unveil its new Shonda Rhimes Thursday in the fall, and new comedy Black-ish that got the plum post-Modern Family timeslot (though its showrunner Larry Wilmore has departed for Comedy Central where he will replace Stephen Colbert). This morning, on a phone call with reporters, ABC programming chief Paul Lee had to defend his move of Rhimes’ sexy Grey’s Anatomy to the broadcast-prudish 8 PM timeslot, as well as the cultural diversity of his new series. Let’s see how these primetime schedule moves play in Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall to advertisers — and with Jimmy Kimmel:
4:12 PM ET: Anne Sweeney gives her final pitch to advertisers as co-chair of Disney Media Networks and Disney/ABC President, while people in the hall mull her decision to quit so she can go realize her dream of becoming a TV director. She introduces her successor, Ben Sherwood. He stands in the audience and salutes her. “Ben, I think you’re going to be great and I can’t wait to see you onstage next year,” she says. “Don’t forget — I’m still a shareholder.”
Related: ABC’s New Series Trailers
4:39 PM ET: “Our shows rock — OK, that’s the upfront. Want to go to the pub?” ABC programming chief Paul Lee said opening his dog and pony show. Least objectionable programming is dead, he said. This year, Lee says he approached “some of the greatest storytellers in the world and asked them one thing: bring us your passion project — we’ll take off the handcuffs…And in my opinion they do not disappoint.” He said the new shows include “One of most blistering pieces of raw film ever scheduled on broadcast television” but didn’t say which show he was talking about. Jumping right in to address that which had reporters’ knickers in a knot earlier in the day, Lee said his new primetime schedule “most of all reflects the already changed face of America…We set out to reflect America,” he said, as he began to talk about new Wednesday comedy Black-ish.