TCA: ABC Notes Poor Fall Performance, Rethinks Late Night
ABC's own midnight-hour talk show "Jimmy Kimmel Live" might gain from this, he says. "We'll look at Jimmy for different time periods," he said. McPherson said that Kimmel's ratings have been rising recently, although he did not provide details.
Overall, ABC has had a slow fall with few new shows--and some weak ratings. But McPherson said ABC is fast ramping up many new efforts for the spring. "It's been a weird year," said McPherson. "We weren't able to bring as much firepower to the fall because of the strike. The strike hurt everybody."
As previously announced, ABC is bringing back "Cupid," a romantic comedy, which debuted on the network over 10 years ago in 1998 and ran for 15 episodes. The series then starred Jeremy Piven as Trevor Hale, a man who believes he is the mythological Cupid. Bobby Cannavale will now play Hale.
ABC is also launching "In the Motherhood," a comedy series featuring stories inspired by viewers' experiences, and "The Unusuals," a comedic procedural set in a New York police precinct. On the drama front, "Castle" is a crime drama about a famous crime and horror novelist named Rick Castle, who assists the NYPD homicide department.
ABC is also doing "Better Off Ted," about a guy who works at an R&D department of an unusual technology company that develops suicidal turkeys and edible metal.
Addressing the failure of Wednesday dramas "Pushing Daisies" and "Dirty Sexy Money," McPherson said it was "just a frustration we couldn't get an audience. I wish we had given producers series ending times of the shows."
"Private Practice" was one Wednesday show that survived, but McPherson says it had a bumpy first year. "There were a few good episodes," he says, but he added that it was uneven. This year, he notes, the show had more insight into the character of Dr. Addison Montgomery, better medical stories, and important story content about the medical practice where Montgomery works.
Comedies are still difficult to develop and maintain, McPherson says. He acknowledges frustration for the falling ratings for "Samantha Who?," adding that "to be a half-hour alone is a challenge." And McPherson wants to see the style of past ABC sitcoms like "Home Improvement" return. "That kind of show is missing from the air," he says.
Noting the poor economy, he says, "we are looking to do everything to be more efficient; it's about monetizing content." McPherson says ABC will not be cutting development or pilots.