TCA: ABC’s Dungey Says Net Still In Talks With Marvel, Praises Procedural Genre

Complete Coverage: TCA Summer 2016

Beverly Hills, Calif. -- There is still room for more Marvel programming at ABC, the network’s entertainment president Channing Dungey told a room of critics Thursday at her first TCA press tour in her new role.

“We’ve been in a number of really terrific conversations with the Marvel team and I think in fact we’re sitting down with them again in two weeks to talk about next steps and development for this year,” she said. “So we have a lot of enthusiasm of figuring out what the right next project is for us to do together."

Marvel isn’t the only sci fi category Dungey is potentially interested in expanding at ABC, saying she would love to see a primetime Star Wars series.

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“As a fan, I would absolutely say yes,” Dungey said. “We will continue to have conversations with Lucas. I think it would be wonderful if we could find a way to extend that brand into our programming.”

Dungey was not shy about boasting her love of the procedural genre, pointing to new series Conviction as a great addition to the lineup. 

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“In terms of close-ended stories, I think they are terrific,” she said. “When you get them right they really, really work. We’ve moved into a landscape where there is an appetite for serialized dramas, but I would love to see more close-ended dramas on networks.”

When asked about ABC’s plan for a standalone streaming service, Dungey agreed this “is the future in a lot of ways,” but wouldn’t elaborate further. She noted that ABC’s streaming service relaunched two weeks ago offering original digital series and throwback content.

Dungey also addressed a series of other topics during her session:

On future of Shonda Rhimes tentpole series Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal

Dungey had nothing but praise for Grey’s heading into its 13th season. “It’s so rare to have a show that is as creatively on fire as this show was last year,” she told critics after her session.  She said it “would be awesome” if the series reached or surpassed longrunning medical series ER with 15 seasons.

Despite a ratings drop for Scandal last season, Dungey said no end date for the series has been discussed and remains hopeful for the next season.

“With longrunning shows there is always a lot of ebb and flow. We have read the first script for the new season and … it very much feels like a return to form.”

On ABC’s efforts to reflect diversity in its programming such as The Bachelor

“I would very much like to see some changes there,” Dungey said. Because the show has had so much success casting the runner-up from the previous season as the next Bachelor or Bachelorette, Dungey alluded to the fact that casting an unkown African American as the next star might not necessarily be the most prudent route. She said she would like to broaden the pool to get more diverse candidates from the beginning of the casting process going forward.

On how much leeway to give shows such like American Crime that garner critical acclaim but not ratings

She readily admitted the linear numbers didn’t hit the target for the show, but noted the series did pretty well in the multiplatform space. The goal is to broaden the show’s base with an aggressive marketing and launch strategy to give it more momentum.