TCA: ABC's Lee Eyeing More Marvel Series; Talks 'Nashville,' 'DWTS' Changes

Entertainment president talks folly of letting international markets drive creative
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Los Angeles -- ABC's Marvel's
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
is by all counts the most anticipated show of the
season due to the secrecy around the project, and though the series doesn't
premiere until Sept. 24, ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee hinted there might
be more Marvel franchises in the works.

"We are loving this relationship and we have lots of little
schemes in development," he said at the TCA summer press tour on Sunday.
"Disney IP across the company is something we're ambitious to build."

That also applies to Lucasfilm and Star Wars, which is now also under the Disney corporate umbrella.
"I certainly have a glint in my eye," Lee said." They have a lot on their plate
with features. We've started conversations with them."

Other highlights from ABC's executive session included:

• Lee said that the creative changes in the second half of Nashville's freshman season were driven
by the producers, not the network telling it to be more like its high-octane
hit Scandal. While he acknowledged
the finale had a completely different mood than how the country musical soap started
its run, he said "They started finding their feet at the end of last season.
We're very happy with it."

• Lee defended the condensing of Dancing With the Stars to one night, saying "we really thought that
would focus Dancing With the Stars
and help give it a hook going into next season" while also making room for S.H.I.E.L.D and The Goldbergs to help open up another night on Tuesdays. He said
the network hasn't made any decisions about bringing back a separate results
show later in the season.

• ABC picked up comedy Surburgatory
for a third season but it remains unscheduled, though Lee said he has in mind
where it will go. He said creator Emily Kapnek is going to "bring the show back
to more fish out of after story it was originally intended to be... As the fall
launches, we always have to have a couple of moving pieces."

• As for the critically adored but little-watched and now
canceled Happy Endings, Lee
acknowledged scheduling challenges last fall with the preemptions required by
the election cycle, but said ultimately the show failed to build an audience.
"We were thrilled with Happy Endings
behind Modern Family, but a show has
to prove it can earn an audience on its own," he said. "It couldn't find its
sea legs away from a strong lead-in."

• Lee stated we're "halfway through a massive revolution" in
television in the U.S. and relayed a story of how he was struck by how many
people came up to talk to him about American television when in Ireland last
week. "We don't give ourselves credit for just how powerful American television
is... It was sobering," he said. "It is reflected in revenue we see from shows
selling around the world." But he stopped at saying that international appeal
should drive creative, referencing the 2012 misfire Missing. "If you sit and construct a show to have talent resonate
around the world, you may end up with something that is a compromise," Lee
said. "The world is very comfortable with American storytelling. I don't think
it's our job to create shows branded for international, though it may be for
features."

Grey's Anatomy
star Patrick Dempsey made some headlines in his TCA appearance last month
by saying he views the veteran ABC drama as just a paycheck, but Lee said he is
committed to the show even if it weathers more cast departures. "We would like
to see it on network for many years to come," he said.

• ABC announced a "Shark
Tank
Week" starting Sunday, Sept. 8 of favorite episodes of the sharks
stripped across five nights a week, leading up to its season premiere on
Friday, Sept. 20.

• The network also set premiere dates for the new reality
competition series The Quest, which
will replace Once Upon a Time in
Wonderland
on Thursday, Jan. 2 at 8 p.m. The limited series Resurrection will debut Sunday, March 9
at 10 p.m. to benefit from promotion during the Oscars the week before. ABC additionally announced midseason premiere dates for several of its returning dramas: Nashville will debut Feb. 26, Grey's Anatomy and Scandal return Feb. 27, and Once Upon a Time and Revenge will bow on March 9 leading into Resurrection.

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