ABC Boss Weighs In on Happy Endings' Future, Joss Whedon's S.H.I.E.L.D., Scandal and More

blog_spoiler_1.10.13ABC entertainment president Paul Lee kicked off the network’s portion of the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour in Pasadena Thursday by declaring, “We have a lot to shout about, and we also have a lot to do.”

Falling under the “lot to do” part of that statement :

* The lackluster ratings for the all-star edition of Dancing With the Stars. “Turns out people want to see bad dancing as much as they want to see good dancing,” Lee deduced, later adding, “We still intend to keep it going twice a year. It’s still a big, broad crowd-pleaser. We think there’s a lot of life left in it.”

* The continued ratings woes of Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23. “We love those two shows,” he maintained. “They are watercooler shows. They are really well-written. We think they have a chance to grow [on Tuesday]” — ergo the decision to also air new episodes on Sunday nights “to raise sampling.” “We haven’t made any decisions [about next season],” he said, “but I can tell you these are shows that we love.”

* On the demise of freshman thriller Last Resort, “We had a very passionate male audience. We did not connect with women.” Meanwhile, the failure of 666 Park Avenue “was a surprise to us,” he acknowledged, “because it tracked so well early on in awareness and in intent-to-view.”

Falling under the “a lot to shout about” part of that statement:

* Lee was bullish about Seth MacFarlane’s upcoming Oscar hosting stint. “He wants to be there,” Lee noted. “And I think he’s going to bring a lot of that energy to [the show]. And with the movies [that are nominated], I’m sensing we’re going to have a very entertaining Oscars.”

* Shonda Rhimes’ sophomore smash Scandal is “just rocking and rolling,” Lee enthused. “Shonda is passionate about this show. It’s a huge credit to her that it’s so different from Grey’s.”

* Lee touted Revenge‘s ratings performance but conceded that the Avengers_Coulsonstorytelling got a bit too “big” in Season 2. “I know [series creator] Mike Kelley is excited about focusing on our lead characters and their emotional journey.”

* Lee revealed that the pilot for Joss Whedon’s Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. has been fast-tracked and thus will be ready for review “a lot earlier than others.” He hailed the script as “great” with “a lot of funny male/female relationships” as well as “a lot of action,” and feels it could be a highly co-viewed show (that is, watched by parents with their kids) in the vein of Once Upon a Time. Elaborating on his go-to quote that the comic books-inspired pilot is “very Joss,” he said: “You know how Joss is so high/low? How he’s able to be intense and epic and suddenly funny/silly? He’s got that ability to be super-entertaining.” Lee said that if ordered to series (“Joss is very engaged and already working on scripts”), S.H.I.E.L.D. could air almost anywhere, in any time slot. “Marvel has the ability to bring the whole family.”

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