[01/12/10 - 01:52 PM]
Mcpherson: ABC Happy with Kimmel
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- "We don't have any plans to change our late-night right now," ABC topper Stephen McPherson told reporters during the network's executive session at the TCA Winter Press Tour. "I love Kimmel, he's been amazing... I think it's really important that we tie Jimmy to ABC, to our shows."

McPherson also added that "seeing a great network [NBC] tumble is not something that we rejoice over... we don't take any pleasure in that. We're going to compete against them but we want it to be vibrant, we want it to be a good competitor. It's kind of like playing for the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox decide to stop playing baseball."

Not surprisingly, McPherson was more interested in boasting about the Alphabet's newfound comedy success on Wednesday nights. In addition to being picked up for second seasons, "The Middle," "Modern Family" and "Cougar Town" will also film two extra episodes this year, bringing their freshman totals to 24 each.

McPherson conversely was disappointed in the performances of its Tuesday entries "Scrubs" and "Better Off Ted." "Our intent was not to burn them off," he said about their current double runs. "It was really knowing that was the best slot we had [at] this time and we went for it and it hasn't worked out the way we wanted."

The executive also addressed the decision to split up "V" and "FlashForward" into two cycles. "We did not intend for the first chapter to be so short," he said about the former. "There was production issues that took over unfortunately. And then when we looked at that and realized how many episodes we could have consecutively... we decided we would do the fall premiere as kind of a limited chapter and it will come back when we can really run consecutive episodes."

"'FlashForward' was a little bit different in that we had it on the air, we saw that repeats really weren't working and then we looked at, okay, if we come back at the beginning on January, we'll literally be one on, two off, two on, three off and it was this terrible kind of [thing] the way we faced with 'Lost' early on... and so we made the strategic decision [that] both 'V' and 'FlashForward' come back at the same time, we can promote that and make it an event."

That same logic will apply to the yet-to-be-scheduled midseason effort "Happy Town." "It is definitely serialized, it is event television, it is a beginning, middle and end within that kind of limited series with the potential for it to [go on] after that time," he said. "I think honestly we're going to see how that performs on the air before we make any decision of how that will be programmed or scheduled [going forward]."

Beyond its various announcements (read the stories), McPherson confirmed the existence of "Bachelor Pad," a spin-off of "The Bachelor" franchise in which contestants from previous cycles live together and compete in various challenges. It's understood seven episodes have been ordered for a late summer start.

Overall McPherson was good humored about the network's various experiments (on "Conveyor Belt of Love": "How could we be done with such a genius show?"; on what makes "Lost" so successful: "I think if I knew that I would probably not, you know, done derivative shows like some.") while a few memory lapses (he mentioned "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" doesn't have a premiere date... despite a release going out this morning; he admitted that "Scrubs" wouldn't work well with the other comedies on Wednesday... despite it being scheduled there on January 27 and February 3) weren't too embarrassing.

The only "controversy" stirred up was McPherson's assertion that "I guess it was mentioned in NBC's press tour, Jeff Gaspin said we were down at 10 o'clock. We're actually up eight to 10 percent." The Hollywood Reporter settled the issue, pointing out each were referring to different sets of data.

  [january 2010]  

· V (ABC)

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