[05/15/12 - 11:04 AM]
Lee: Look for All-Star "Dancing With the Stars"; "Hulk" Still in the Works
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- "Why just watch, when you can feel?" will be the question ABC asks its audience during today's upfront presentation. Said tagline was underscored by ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee following the announcement of the network's 2012-13 schedule. "That really encapsulates this brand," the executive told reporters. "Everything we do is about an emotional connection: great stories, great characters and real emotion."

Other notable developments from today's press call with the ABC chief:

-- "We're going to do something different this fall, we're going to do an all-star edition of 'Dancing With the Stars,'" Lee confirmed. "We're going to be bringing back fan favorites from the last 14 seasons." When asked about who specifically will return, Lee would only say "we can't talk about the casting yet but I would love to see some of the fan favorites from the last seasons come back. And we have many favorites over the 14 seasons... fingers crossed, we are casting now."

-- "I think it's time for Friday night to be a destination again for broad family entertainment," Lee said about the move of "Last Man Standing" to Fridays. He likewise defended his decision to shift "Happy Endings" and "Don't Trust the B----" to Tuesday night: "Of our shows, those are two of our most passionate audiences so we believe those audiences will move to find those shows."

-- Aside from its comedy plans on Tuesdays at midseason, Lee also revealed that "'Mistresses' is a show that we're going to be launching after 'The Bachelor' franchise, probably in May."

-- On the company's Marvel properties: "We did do some development this season, not just with ourselves but also with FOX... Of course you know 'The Hulk' is in development, it wasn't going to be ready for this season but we hope we'll be ready for next season." Beyond "Hulk" Lee said, "We've got some in development but none that I can talk about at this point." As for "AKA Jessica Jones," which was penned by "Red Widow's" Melissa Rosenberg, the executive indicated it won't be moving forward. "We have other development which probably is further at the front of the queue."

-- Lee also indicated they're open to year-round development. "It's much easier to develop midseason [but] it's difficult to break the mold," he said. "In many ways it's easier in terms of casting and staffing up. It's not impossible that we'll make a couple of moves in the next few months." As for whether any of their current pilots are being rolled, Lee said, "Nothing that comes to mind."

-- The executive likewise confirmed a few episode orders. "The intention is to have 'Revenge' absolutely do 22 episodes," Lee said about the Sunday-bound drama. He also indicated "Body of Proof" indeed has a 13-episode commitment for midseason.

-- As for its rollout plans, Lee said, "We did launch two or three shows right at the beginning of the fall last year, we're probably going to continue to do that." Adding, "Staggering show launches works for us, it's been a successful strategy and I think we're going to continue to do so."

-- After the conference, a network spokesperson confirmed to us that "Million Dollar Mind Game" and "You Deserve It" are indeed canceled. As for "Nightline Prime," we're told the series isn't considered something that is picked up or cancelled in the usual sense as it's possible that title could be used again.

-- And finally, TVGuide.com reports that ABC has picked up "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" for a third season of 15 two-hour episodes. The Alphabet made the pickup early - in advance of its season two launch on June 3 - due to the year-long production cycle needed to create the show. Chris Powell will return as host while various show alums will serve as "weight-loss ambassadors" next year. In addition, Walmart has joined as a sponsor.

  [may 2012]  


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