ABC Boss Weighs In on Castle and Revenge Futures, the #TGIT 'Phenomenon,' Rising Star and More

Revenge Recap

Though Revenge‘s ratings have waned in its fourth season, ABC isn’t ready to nudge the producers to wrap things up just yet.

“I’ve always loved the show, and it’s actually a critical brand for us,” ABC president Paul Lee told TVLine on Wednesday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. “We have some great storylines coming up … and there are ways to reinvent it, too.”

As for another of ABC’s longer-running dramas, Lee told me that with Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic’s contracts due to expire this spring, “We love Castle, we love those two, and we want to see Castle on the air for many years to come.” Though not officially announcing a Season 8 renewal, he ventured to say, “It will be coming back.” (But again, not a formal pick-up, yet.)

Lee also gave Nashville a vote of support and teased “great announcements” to come regarding guest stars.

Other topics tackled by the ABC boss during his TCA Q&A:

* Surveying the success of ABC’ Thursday line-up of Grey’s Anatomy/Scandal/How to Get Away With Murder, Lee noted, “#TGIT is really a big cultural phenomenon. We’ve encouraged millions of people to take out wine and popcorn and really enjoy watercooler television. We built a great night of television and people came.” Factor in the social media impact (including “a billion Facebook impressions”) and you have “a brilliant combination.”

* Given Rising Star‘s poor performance last summer (as well as predecessor Duets‘ similar lack of success), Lee said, “I don’t think were going to be trying [another singing show] for a little bit.” However, he hinted at “some really cool [new] reality shows for the summer.”

* Responding to Eddie Huang’s editorial for Vulture — which claims that ABC’s upcoming Fresh Off the Boat watered down his book on which the Asian American sitcom is based — Lee maintained, “We love Eddie. He’s a firebrand. I’m not making BBC documentaries. It’s a comedy. The show is not a documentary of his book.”

* Though last month’s Sony hack and the emails it dug up revealed that Shark Tank‘s Mark Cuban has felt insulted by recent contract talks, Lee reminded that the network is dealing with “the best negotiators in the world” when they hammer out new deals with this particular cast. “We love all our sharks,” he added. “We’ll be in good shape, we’re optimistic.”

* As for the previously announced Shark Tank offshoot Beyond the Tank, which will relate the “uplifting” and “tragic” stories behind accepted pitches, Lee confirmed that production is underway and the show could bow as early as summer.

* Though Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has slipped some in the ratings, Lee touted strong Live+3 DVR numbers and a solid performance among males, while Agent Carter, he claimed, thus far is delivering “double” what the time slot did last year. Asked if there’s corporate pressure to cut the Marvel shows more slack, Lee countered, “None at all. We drive this.”

More to come….