Upfronts 2017: We’ll Make ‘Idol’ Our Own, Says ABC’s Dungey

ABC will put its own stamp on American Idol when the show debuts on its air, said Channing Dungey, ABC entertainment president. Asked about the show on Tuesday, Dungey said it will be “ABC’s version of American Idol. It will be very clear that it’s got ABC’s hallmark and brand on it.”

Dungey said the show is a great promotional platform, as viewers watch it live. She described Idol as being full of “uplifting stories about people making their dreams come true. That’s our sweet spot.”

Dungey avoided specific questions about Idol, such as how conversations with talent, such as Ryan Seacrest, were progressing.

The exec was talking about ABC’s fall schedule, which sees Black-ish move to Tuesdays at 9. Years after having Modern Family as a lead-in, Dungey said Black-ish is “ready to anchor.”

She also confirmed that the next season will be the final one for Scandal, which will be on Thursdays at 9. She said the decision to end it was Shonda Rhimes’. “Shonda had for a while a sense of how the story would end,” she said, and season 7 felt like the right place.

Dungey also confirmed that the network is bringing back comedy Roseanne, though she did not say much about it other than it is planned for the midseason. “It’s still at the early stages,” said Dungey.

ABC has reassembled the original cast and will do eight episodes, to air in 2018. Said Dungey in a statement, “The Conners’ joys and struggles are as relevant—and hilarious—today as they were then, and there’s really no one better to comment on our modern America than Roseanne.”

Among the new shows, Dungey raved about the Tuesday 10 p.m. drama The Gospel of Kevin, calling it “heartwarming and joyful.”

Cancelled shows include American Crime, The Real O’Neals and Last Man Standing.

Fridays, she added, will bear their share of fantasy and sci fi. The fall Friday offerings include a moved Once Upon a Time as well as newbie Marvel’s Inhumans. The latter, a comic book series, will have its first two episodes shown in IMAX theaters for a two-week period beginning September 1, 2017. ABC will then air the entirety of the series on its own air.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.