Complete Coverage: 2018 TCA Winter Press Tour
Pasadena, Calif. — ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey addressed the #MeToo movement and workplace equality Monday, during the network’s 2018 TCA winter press tour day.
“I think that we’re at kind of a watershed moment in a real way and that is, it’s an exciting time to be here, to be in this role, to be in this company,” said Dungey. “And I do think that we have a collective responsibility to do more, to be better.”
Dungey, who took over as president from Paul Lee in February 2016, is the first black female broadcast president. On air, the network has also had strong, dynamic women in lead roles.
“I feel like the more that we can show on screen men and women working together side by side with respect for one another I think that that’s a good message for us to be spreading and we’ll continue to do that,” she said.
TCA 2018: ABC Shares Mid-Season Premiere Dates, Specials
The exec also talked about producer Shonda Rhimes’ — Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder — move to Netflix.
“I’ve known for a while that Shonda was interested in stretching different sets of creative muscles and I think we all know that there are different challenges and opportunities in broadcast and different challenges and opportunities in streaming,” said Dungey. “And I wish her all the best as she tries to explore those new options.”
Dungey said she is focused on the mid-season launches and pilots that are directly in front of her, especially in terms of ABC parent Disney’s deal to acquire Fox assets.
TCA 2018: Fox TV Execs Say ‘Business as Usual’ Until Disney Deal Closes
“As you are well aware we’re in the midst of sort of a regulatory approvals process so while that’s going on the company’s already said all the things they’re going to say on the topic,” she said of the deal, which includes the acquisition of networks Fox, FX, FXX and National Geographic.
Other highlights from Dungey’s session included:
—The Grey’s Anatomy spinoff still doesn’t have a title. “Coming up with a title is one of the most challenging things that we do,” said Dungey. “We didn’t want to come out with something here at TCA and then change it a couple weeks later,” she added, revealing that they would like to have the title in the next few weeks.
—ABC had high hopes for the Brandon Michael Hall starring comedy The Mayor, which it pulled during its freshman run. “The Mayor was a little bit of a heartbreak for all of us,” said Dungey. Dungey said the show didn’t connect with the audience. “I do feel like the show arrived on the scene at a time when people were feeling a little bit fatigued about anything that had to do with politics and I think even our title The Mayor maybe didn’t help us,” she added.
—Last summer, the Bachelor franchise was rocked by scandal after charges of contestant sexual misconduct on Bachelor in Paradise halted production. The exec addressed the scandal and the franchise. “The Bachelor nation are extremely passionate about what we do with all of these programs. The advanced feedback we’ve gotten about Winter Games, there’s so much enthusiasm for it. And it feels like that franchise has a lot of steam left in it.”
—As the broadcast networks try to find viewers, some have turned to familiar faces. ABC is bringing back 90s laugher Roseanne and Dungey said she is "excited" for the reboot. “I’m really excited for audiences to see Roseanne again because honestly I feel like the cast has stepped back into those roles without missing a beat.”
—The Oscars, which will be hosted on ABC by Jimmy Kimmel, turns 90 this year. Dungey said that while the show will poke fun at last year’s best picture kerfuffle, promotion for the show will focus on show’s 90th birthday.
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