Once Upon a Time, to cite a most recent example, scored a 2.3 demo rating with its Season 3 finale this past Sunday — matching its year-ago closer, thus indicating a decrease in erosion when a show can better maintain momentum.
“We dipped a little bit in January and February,” when the split-season shows were on hiatus, ABC president Paul Lee noted to TVLine during a Tuesday conference call, “but then in March we came roaring back.” As such, “We’re going to be doing split seasons on most of our shows this year,” — Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. included. (The new Marvel-verse origin series, Agent Carter, will claim S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s time slot during the winter break.)
Other topics covered during the press conference, which comes on the day of ABC’s annual Upfront presentation:
* Observing that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “popped” during a recent 9 o’clock showing, Lee said its new time slot for fall — Tuesdays at 9, leading into the new drama Forever — makes for a more natural fit. As for the Marvel series leading out of two new comedies, Lee claimed, “S.H.I.E.L.D. has been a self starter.” He also touted it as “the most male show on the network,” and since Forever also boasts male appeal, he said, “We feel good about [the move].”
* Scandal, which cut Season 3 short (18 total episodes) due to Kerry Washington’s pregnancy, will be back with a full season. Resurrection Season 2 meanwhile will have “15 or 16″ episodes, Lee said.
* Noting how Revenge’s Victoria ended up in a “really strange place” at the end of Sunday’s Season 3 finale, Lee said the sudser’s showrunners have a “great idea” for a Season 4 “reset”/”really creative” run of episodes.
* Lee said that he had decided to move Scandal to Thursdays at 9 before NBC announced that The Blacklist was heading there at midseason –and he is content to leave it there opposite this season’s No. 1 new drama. “Were very confident with Scandal. It’s a truly great show.”
* When one reporter likened the new, half-hour musical comedy Galavant to “Glee meets Once Upon a Time,” Lee countered with his own comparison: “Spamalot meets The Princess Bride,” with music from Alan Menken and Dan Fogelman thrown in for good measure. The freshman series will air back-to-back episodes at midseason, bridging Once Upon a Time’s winter hiatus.
* On Trophy Wife’s too-sad one-and-done cancellation, Lee said, “I was sad to see it go,” as he claimed the freshman comedy was given “a lot of promotion, in a whole load of different ways.”
* Asked to explain ABC’s decision to pass on a new comedy co-starring hot comic Kevin Hart, Lee stressed, “We’d love to be in business with Kevin, we’d love to do a Kevin comedy, and I would welcome having him on my network.” But “in the end, you have decisions to make and you pick up the [pilots] that you think are right.”