Once Upon a Time, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Inhumans: ABC Boss Weighs In on Fate of Scripted Friday Slate

Once Upon a Time Recap

Appearing at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Monday, ABC entertainment chief Channing Dungey weighed in on the respective fates of Once Upon a Time, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Marvel’s Inhumans, all of which have struggled to claim a meaningful Friday audience.

Among the broadcast network’s Marvel fare, Dungey told reporters after her executive session Q&A that S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s “creative this season I honestly think is the strongest that it’s ever been, and we’ve been really excited about what the producers are talking about for the second half of the season.” That said, Dungey is waiting to hear the producers’ Season 6 plan to “make a better determination about whether were going to order another season or not.”

The forecast is less promising for Inhumans — which across eight episodes averaged 2.56 million total viewers and a 0.6 demo rating, following a huge promotional push and even an IMAX release — though Dungey stopped short of “officially” confirming its cancellation. “It didn’t perform for us at the level that we would have wanted,” she said. “We haven’t made any official decisions yet but I will say the numbers were less exciting for us than we hoped they would be.”

All told on the Marvel front, “We’ve tried a few things that haven’t worked out as well as we would have liked,” Dungey allowed. “We developed a couple of things this season that we don’t think are going to end up going forward, so we’re going to look really carefully about what we do next.”

Turning to Once Upon a Time, which just entered its annual midseason hiatus, Dungey says the low “live” numbers (Season 7 is averaging 2.5 million viewers and a 0.5 rating) aren’t painting a full picture of the show’s loyal audience, seeing as delayed viewing‚ which last season averaged around 55 percent, now is in the triple digits (120 percent for Season 7A).

“So the actual fan base [measured by total audience] really hasn’t shifted very much. It’s more that they’ve been watching it more time-shifted since we’ve been on Friday,” she noted. As for the prospect of renewal, she is waiting to hear the Season 8 plan from co-creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis.

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