LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee says they were number one... in C3 entertainment programming this fall. "We have a very, the most upscale audience on ABC," Lee said in the opening to his executive session at the TCA Winter Press Tour. "We make the most appointment television, and our C3s really go up, and that's tremendously valuable to us. We're going to continue to build that."
Nevertheless across all genres, the Alphabet currently ranks number four in live plus same day among adults 18-49 and third in total viewers. That meant lots of questions about its failures this fall and how the network plans to rebound going forward:
Lee admits "Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars" was disappointing. "Turns out people like to see bad dancing as much as they do good dancing, but we believe passionately in that franchise," he said. "We were getting 16 million plus viewers for that, and we're certainly going to be casting that in the normal way and supporting it as we go through the spring cycle."
"Happy Endings" and "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23" are still very much alive. "We didn't have much place to put them because we can't put them at 8:00, so if you look at the nights of the week, really, Tuesday was the only place to do it." As far as the additional Sunday airings, Lee likened them to a "cable play," using those slots "to raise sampling on those shows and get people to see them."
"Last Resort" didn't connect with women, "666" was a "surprise" failure. "[It] was a surprise to us because it tracked so well early on," Lee said about the latter's awareness going into the fall. As for "Last Resort," the executive said, "I think Shawn [Ryan] did a fabulous job... it was a male show. We had a very passionate male audience. We did not connect with the relationships to the women." He would later go on to note that "if we do shows that guys like that women don't want to come to, then that doesn't work for us."
"Nashville's" audience will hopefully grow. "It's a big show for us for the younger audience, for the 18-34s," he said. "But there was a sense among 35-49s, [that they] were disappointed. And there may have been a barrier to entry. It may be for that audience, you know, country in itself was more difficult to get into." Lee went on to say their strategy going forward is to use multiple platforms to "promote and sustain, which I think ABC didn't do particularly well in the past, and we actually learned from CBS how to sustain shows.
"S.H.I.E.L.D." has the potential to bring a very different audience. The Joss Whedon-helmed pilot is not surprisingly a favorite of Lee's. "There are a lot of really funny male/female relationships, some very flirtatious ones that go through it. But it's also Joss, too, and it's Marvel, and there's a lot of action to it."
Midseason series reveal episode orders. Panels for "Red Widow" (eight episodes), "Zero Hour" (13 episodes) and "Mistresses" (13 episodes) confirmed the length of their freshman runs.