ABC Boss Talks Cougar Town Return, New Night For Private Practice, 'Relocation' For Revenge

Cougar Town may be down, but it’s not out.

At the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour on Tuesday, ABC president Paul Lee said the network remains committed to the currently-benched comedy, although he stopped short of announcing the show’s return date.

“The reality is I think Cougar Town is having one of its best [seasons],” he said. “We haven’t yet landed on where it’s going to go, but it’s tentatively in there for March. We’re going to give it a good launching pad… We will be [announcing a premiere date] in a couple weeks.”

Exclusive: Cougar Town to End Season 3 With a [MAJOR SPOILER ALERT]

Lee went on to hint that he’s eyeing a potential new night of comedy that could include C-Town as well as Happy Endings and midseason entry Don’t Trust the B—- In Apartment 23. “It will be great to have a group of great irreverent comedies together. That’s the dream.”

Other highlights from ABC’s exec sesh:

* Shonda Rhimes’ latest drama, Scandal, will premiere Thursday, April 5 at 10/9c, airing after Grey’s Anatomy. Private Practice will then air its four remaining episodes on Tuesdays at 10, following the Dancing With the Stars results show.

* Apartment 23 premieres Wednesday, April 11, at 9:30 pm.

* Regarding the suspect fate of ABC’s soon-to-be-lone soap opera, given the September 2012 arrival of Katie Couric’s daytime talker, Lee said, “I’m a fan of General Hospital but we have not made a decision, and we do not have a time frame for [making that call] either.”

* Lee declined to comment on the ongoing contract talks with the original Grey’s Anatomy cast members.

* Work It‘s “meh” premiere ratings landed “right in the middle” of expectations, Lee said.

* Lee refused to officially ground Pan Am just yet, saying, “We have new [episodes] that air through the end of February… It will be in contention [for renewal].”

* A possible move away from the Hamptons for Revenge Season 2 “is in the cards,” Lee confirmed.

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68 Comments
  1. Kathryn says:

    I’m very excited for Scandal, but I don’t like that they are kinda throwing Private Practice under the bus. The Dancing audience doesn’t overlap with PP’s at all, so I bet the ratings dropoff will be sizable with most of the older-skewing Dancing viewers switching the channel to CBS(Unforgettable) or whatever ends up taking Parenthood’s spot on NBC

    • Erin says:

      The audience overlaps a lot. I’m a media buyer… just pulled the numbers in my local market to compare. The strongest viewer demographic cells here for both shows are Women 35-44. It will also have a stronger lead-in show than Grey’s Anatomy. Although Grey’s still does respectably in the ratings, Dancing with the Stars is a top 10 show every week in all of the major advertiser demographics.

      • Mico says:

        I’m sorry but I really think you have to check your facts re: DWTS being a STRONGER lead-in than Grey’s. Have you seen the ratings recently? Grey’s just pulled a 4.5 last week. And what does DWTS get? Mid 2s and low 3s?

    • r0ckmypants says:

      Private Practice has had five seasons behind Grey’s… time to sink or swim. It’s not like they’re throwing it to the wolves on Friday or something, it’s still moving behind one of the network’s highest-rated shows. But they need to use Grey’s to launch something new, it’s time.

  2. angie says:

    Should I be concerned that they are moving the date/time of Private Practice?

    • Jordon says:

      I am too, but if it’s against Parenthood and Forgotten, I think it may do well. And considering it’s not until another 3 months, it’s enough time to alert people of the change. At least I hope ABC tells people of the change.

    • Jordon says:

      I am too, but if it’s against Parenthood and Forgotten, I think it may do well. And considering it’s not until another 3 months, it’s enough time to alert people of the change. At least I hope ABC tells people of the change through promos.

    • Jordon says:

      Wait. Scratch that. Parenthood finishes in March. I wonder what NBC will replace with? Possibly another crap show. Also, I meant Unforgettable. Not Forgotten. Haha.

      • r0ckmypants says:

        Fashion Star replaces Parenthood. Private Practice should have no problems doing well against low-rated Unforgettable and a reality fashion show.

  3. Melanie says:

    Not impressed that they are moving Private Practice to Tuesdays either… they cannot possibly think that this will boost ratings, I fear this is bad news for us PP fans.

  4. kevin says:

    ABC better make up their minds on the return date of COUGAR TOWN and Paul Lee still isn’t 100% sure on the status of PAN AM since every episode has been dip in ratings since its debut back in late September which got good remarks by it and the network forgot to mention on the fate of BODY OF PROOF.

  5. Jessica says:

    I think the new “comedy night” idea is perfect. Personally, I’ve never felt that Happy Endings (which I *love*) meshed well with The Middle, Modern Family, etc. despite liking all comedies airing in that block of programming. Pairing Cougar Town with Happy Endings is way more like it, and I feel that adding Apt. 23 — for which I’m excited to see the premiere, and based on sneak peeks seems its irreverence would match the other two — to create a new “comedy night” sounds awesome.

    As an aside, is it mean-spirited of me to watch tonight’s episode (the second ep) of “Work It” in hopes that I’m watching the final episode aired? Ok, ok, it is mean-spirited, but I want either my three-and-done or two-and-done prediction to be correct, and I want an open slot in ABC’s programming. Sure, “Man Up” wasn’t stellar (although I enjoyed some aspects of it), but I’ve not seen any non-reality-based programming in years that was worse than “Work It” — and I’ve seen 2 or 3 episodes of “Outsourced”. That’s saying a lot.

    • Pash says:

      I think Outsourced got much better at the end of the run. I have been waiting all week to hear that Work It was getting the Lone Star treatment and being pulled after just one ep. I just want Cougar Town back. That is all.

    • DL says:

      I suppose I can see what you’re saying about “Happy Endings” but I think it would be foolish for them to mess with a good thing. The ratings are WAY up in Season 2, and I love the show so much that I’d prefer to see them stay the course and ensure the viewership continues to grow.

  6. Mico says:

    I was expecting early renewals like they did last year. Da*n it! And as regards to Private Practice being moved to Tuesdays @ 10, I think it’s a pretty good move. Unforgettable and Parenthood (then Fashion Star, come on!) are clearly weaker competitions than The Mentalist. But I don’t know how fans would feel about that though, and how the responses will consequently play out. We’ll see. I guess they just don’t have a choice but to provide Scandal the biggest lead-in it could have. If it works out, I wonder if ABC’s gonna have a Shonda Rhimes Thursday. Haha

    • Martin says:

      I was really hoping for a Shonda Rhimes Thursday, too. Though I really…well…not really enjoy Wipeout, I was hoping for Scandal on Thursdays at 8. Then it could lead into Grey’s, then Practice. Idk, I don’t really look into all of the shows on the air, but it seems that if PP is on Tues. at 10, then it might not have that much competition. At least, that’s what I’m getting from all the comments. And it will have a great lead in with DWTS. As much a I love my Grey’s, even I will admit DWTS may very well be the better show, rating wise. Keeping fingers crossed for Body of Proof and their loyal followers with the time move. I think I’m getting into that show.

  7. EveatEden says:

    What does Private Practice move to 10pm Tuesday mean for Body of Proof which is currently at 10pm Tuesday on ABC? Ugh I love both shows! I don’t like PP being on a different night from Grey’s. I think it will hurt PP’s renewal chances for sure. I also don’t like what this says for Body of Proof, is ABC giving up on it? I know the ratings are down but I was still staying hopeful. I love Dana Delaney!

    • Mico says:

      Body of Proof has only 20 episodes for this season, and its airing episode 11 or 12 tonight, which means it’s gonna finish its run just before the week Scandal premieres and PP takes over its slot.

    • Cinders says:

      I think that means that Body of Proof will end by March.

    • Robert Banks says:

      Just to protest that Body Of Proof may not be renewed, I may not watch Private Practice
      I normally watch or tape over 30 shows a season, so 2 less won’t bother me. Too bad for ABC.

  8. Mikaylah says:

    I hope he was being sincere when he said Pan Am is still in contention for renewal. That would be a dream come true. And I cannot wait for Cougar Town to come back! :)

    • Ashley says:

      Network exec sincere? I am afraid Pan Am is already gone but they don’t want to say it because they have been paid for the advertising already.

  9. connerc says:

    So, I guess Revenge will move to Sundays next year, taking DH’s spot?

  10. Jen says:

    Am I the only one that didn’t know that PP was doing badly? First they kill Off the Map, and now I’m worried about PP…

    • maj says:

      It’s not doing badly – they are moving it because they think it can survive on it’s own and use the Grey’s audience to lead-in to a new show.

      • Steph says:

        But it’s still not on it’s own. It’s being moved to a time slot that has a bigger lead in than GA. But when they start moving a show around, unless it’s TO Thursday nights, I think it’s cause for concern. Their ratings can only go up at this point. Didn’t it start on Wednesday’s originally, move to Thursdays, and now Tuesday? It’s not looking good for Body of Proof which I feel is a better show. I think Revenge will move location to Manhattan. After labor day don’t they all head to their permanent homes?

    • Mac says:

      I am not sure ABC cares about the ratings for the show. They have been high six to high seven million this season, which isn’t great, but usually win their demo. It’s all about the money. ABC will do whatever it can to get pp to its 100th episode for syndication purpose’s which brings in more money for everyone involved. They have already committed to this season which will push them over 100 counting crossovers. DWTS should give them a bigger lead in so not sure about the move other than maybe if their numbers increase they can charge more for syndication? I think body of proof is probably going to be gone and pp will get renewed only because ABC doesn’t have anything better to replace it with so far.

  11. Jarrod says:

    I really hope Private Practice is not effected by this! I really love the show and the ratings have picked up a lot recently and this move could make the ratings decline severely if people are not aware of the move. I really hope ABC let people know with constant promos, because I at least see one more season for the show. I know that airing at 10:00 with over 7 millions a night is considering good, so hopefully it keeps it up or perhaps picks up. Please ABC, don’t ruin one of the good shows I love! Other than that, I’m excited for Scandal! :D

  12. Jordon says:

    Hopefully Private Practice is renewed before it’s moved. That may secure a spot for the show next fall. If the show is not moving until April, it may have a shot at renewal! :D

  13. UGH! says:

    Cougar Town is having one of its best seasons. That’s why we aren’t airing it. REALLY ABC? Why do you even lie? Just say the truth, you are looking for a spot in the schedule where you can burn of the remaining episodes of the best show you have so you can keep airing rubbish like Work It. WTF?! Am I the only Cougar Town fan that has gone from sadness to all out RAGE when ABC talks about how they are behind the show?

    • Chelsea says:

      Well, not rage, per se. But yes, it ticked me off to see that quote. I love Cougar Town! If ABC really was behind it, it would be airing right now. Or it would at least be on the schedule. Unfortunately, it kind of seems like Cougar Town is in the same boat as Chuck always was. The fans are going to have to push to get a decent number of episodes and a satisfying conclusion out of the network. Viva la Penny Can!

  14. Luke says:

    Kate Walsh doesn’t look too thrilled about the move in the picture above. Haha.

  15. PGP says:

    Parenthood is far from crap!!!!! Its the best show you’re not watching.

    • Mitholas says:

      Agreed a lot. It may not be scandalous and over the top, but it’s the most realistic and moving family drama I have ever seen. It’s as close to a perfect show as I’ve ever seen.

  16. Jessica says:

    I agree with a lot of the other posters. I believe moving Private Practice is a big mistake. It’s a spin-off from Grey’s Anatomy, so following GA seems like the logical spot. Why didn’t they just put Scandal in the Tuesday at 10pm spot? But what do I know!

  17. Bee says:

    folks, this does NOT mean PP is in danger at all. it’s only 4 episodes. so it will have had grey’s support for its first 18 or so episodes. and in this new slot, it’ll have DWTS support. so it won’t be out fending for itself exactly.

  18. Lisa says:

    Lee, you are a liar. General Hospital’s fate was decided long ago, you’re all just too chicken to make it public yet. I hope I’m wrong, I’d LOVE to be wrong, but I’ll be surprised if I am. (boo-hoo)

  19. fernando says:

    I like where Revenge is, I fear if they move it,it will hurt the ratings, idk if it will do good on sundays.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Who is reporting a move to Sundays for REVENGE? This story is about the setting for the show moving away from the Hamptons.

      • fernando says:

        I know what your talking about im just saying, I hope ABC keeps it on wed. and does not move it any where else, Sunday is most likely move if ABC does move it next fall.

  20. Brock says:

    Revenge leaving the Hamptons? What about Jack and his brother? I know it’s a “holiday” area and so forth, but it’s disappointing. It was also the speculation of a recent blind item too.

    Is it really THAT hard for people to know a series moves nights? Seriously? All you have to do is have a few pop-ups (like networks ever shy from those) and have the preview in its final Thursday night state “Moving to Tuesday Night…” NOT hard to follow. Yeah, def trying to get a proper audience for Scandal and a smart move.

    I would love to see Happy Endings and Cougar with Bitch in 23 in a serious comedy block.

    And the goal is for GCB to have the Sundays at 9 slot next year, they’re pairing it this season with DHW as a potential replacement for it.

    Prediction – Body of Proof & Private Practice renewed. Pan Am cancelled.

  21. Nicole says:

    I don’t think it should be that big of a shock that season 2 of Revenge would not take place in the Hamptons. Most of the cast would be located in NYC for the majority of the year anyway. Plus, Papa Grayson has already moved back to the city with Charlotte….

  22. CJ says:

    The real question here is where would they put a new comedy block? Maybe they will go with Thursdays and move Greys back to Sundays next year in Housewives’ time slot. I think PP is fine but worry about BOP, It does better with DWTS as a lead in. I don’t think they are moving Revenge from Wednesdays. It’s the first thing in years in that time slot that has done well. I believe from what is written that they will change the setting of the show from the Hamptons to possibly NYC and not when it airs on TV.
    GH is dead. They will announce it by the end of March. And how smart are TPTB when they admit they are sitting on a good show with its best season yet which they shortened as well. Happy Endings is doing worse than Cougar Town last year even though Modern Family’s ratings are up and they got a semi-hit now at 10 pm.

    I really don’t get how these people get picked to run networks? It really shouldn’t be that complicated. I could make ABC the number one network within a year and save the afternoon soap!

  23. Ben says:

    It seems like a lot of people are reacting quite a lot about the move of PP. To me though, I’ll reserve judgment till the 12-13 schedule is announced. I kind of think that they maybe are not moving PP to a new slot – just relocating it temporarily to provide Scandal with a good head start. I wouldn’t be surprised if Scandal is the one that then finds a new home for season 2, should it survive. After all, if they moved Private Practice permanently, their crossover episodes wouldn’t work so well, and my guess is they will want to keep doing those.

  24. Buddy says:

    Has ABC learned nothing from the exploits of “Cougar Town”? Controversial titles can really hurt the audience for shows. Just give them different titles already. No one even knows how to discuss a show called “GCB” or one with “B—-” in the middle of it. “Good Christian Belles” is fine. Why not just call it “Don’t Trust the Girl in Apartment 23″?

  25. sarah says:

    I like Pan Am and hope it get renewed as Sunday nights are a snoozefest otherwise
    I will check out Scandal but not sure yet!

  26. Captain says:

    GH is dead in the water. That was a pretty vague answer. Also I think it’s a terrible idea to move Happy Endings. It’s just picking up steam ratings-wise and is still dependant on it’s lead-in until it develops more of a following. Moving The Middle makes more sense to me since it’s already a self-starter.

    • mandy says:

      Your right GH is dead! The only thing that TPTB are waiting on is to see how OLTL’s replacement is going to do. I am guessing that if it gets even half the ratings GH does then the network will pull the plug on GH.

  27. Linderella says:

    Does anyone really watch TV “live” anymore? I’m rarely concerned about schedule because 90% of what I watch is DVR’d, on line, or On Demand. The only reason I can think to be concerned about schedule is because the networks get viewing data based on live viewing levels. Perhaps the networks should look for another way to measure viewership.

  28. Laurie says:

    I could not agree more. PP is a great show and deserves.a good time slot. Also does this Body of proof has been canceled?

  29. Davey says:

    I couldn’t care less what happens to Private Practice. But I want Cougar Town, which I wish they call something else.

  30. fernando says:

    I think Private Practice will do great on Tuesday night, I think it can grow ratings behind DWTS.

  31. nina says:

    Body of Proof should be moved to sunday and Private Practice should do just fine on tuesdays, it could be its new home, if it does so well. Scandal might do well and stay on thursday behind grey’s. Next year will be greys final season, i can feel it.

  32. nitemar says:

    I hope Revenge stays in the Hamptons and on the Wednesdays spots..the headline has double meaning..also, Katie Couric talk show, really? She should be already talking to Oprah, just in case.

  33. JJ says:

    My two favorite shows are Cougar Town and General Hospital…needless to say, I am way more than frustrated with ABC! Feeling a little more hopeful about CT than GH…although not thrilled either way. They need to give us a date for Cougar Town already and assure us a 4th season. I have NEVER seen such dedicated showrunners/cast/writers! And the show is by far the funniest on TV. If they actually aired and advertised it, maybe more people would realize it. As far as GH, they already cancelled two soaps, can’t they at least leave us with one…the best one at that?! Enough talk shows and cooking shows.

  34. Dave says:

    I love Private Practice I’m just a little nervous about the move. Maybe Scandal will get ratings like Off the Map did and they will cancel it and then move PP back to its old time slot for the next season.

    • Kate says:

      OTM was a victim of backlash from disgruntled PP fans and GA fans. I hope Ms. Rhimes got the message. It had potential but fans were turned off by story lines from GA and PP. Unfortunately show runner Jenna took the hit but it was all on Rhimes IMO. Hope she learned a lesson for her new show’s success.

  35. LJ says:

    This was my favorite network growing up and this network sucks! All these executives see is the bottom-line….Whatever happened to some good ass television from back in the day… Go back to the basic with some really smart written tv for comedies and dramas. The Housewives are done and Grey’s is skating on thin ice because the show has aged. After that what on ABC beside Modern Family, Happy Ending and The Middle. Get me somebody that gives a damn about what they put on and less crap! Cable will always win!

  36. Danielle H says:

    I really get that they don’t want to premiere anything at 8 on Thursdays. For some reason, it’s an absolute death trap on ABC. Nothing has made it there in years.
    But to push PP out of it’s spot, where it’s perfect following GA (it’s its spinoff for Christ sakes) makes me really mad. I get that they are putting it on Fridays or something, and that taking it away from when the Mentalist airs is a good thing, but this pretty much pits it against Body of Proof. I see them maybe giving PP one more year to finish up then pulling the plug. Grant it, it’s not as good as it used to be, but I still like it.

  37. tvaddict says:

    I think ABC should do an all comedy night like NBC did last season. My lineup would be: The Middle, Suburgatory, Modern Family, Cougar Town, Happy Endings, Apt 23.

  38. YourDemographic says:

    Cogar Town is one of the best scripted comedies on network TV. If Paul Lee can’t commit to ordering full seasons of Cogar Town instead of vacillating and then holding out to only use it as a midseason replacement, then CBS or NBC should pick it up. PAUL – JUST COMMIT TO IT AND START PUTTING ON FULL SEASONS IN THE FALL.

  39. Emily says:

    Let’s all hope this move doesn’t lead to cancellation for PP. I can’t help but have flashbacks to the Ugly Betty moves… Viewership was fine while it was on Thursdays. Then when it moved, people stopped watching. Let’s hope PP doesn’t go the same way…

  40. save at least one soap opera!! General Hospital is sooo much better than Katie C. She is boring and a real pain in the – – – I have quite watching abc tv during both canceled soap time slots. AMC and OLTL are both 100% better than the chew and the revolution. don’t make another mistake with GH. bring in more of the actors from OLTL.PLEASE save GH

  41. liz Markus says:

    is anyone upset that they dropped Body of Proof. If they scheduled it after Castle that would have been dynomite!

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