ABC Boss on Castle and Nashville Cuts, Shorter Breaks, the Future of #TGIT

Speaking to the press in her first Upfronts Week conference call since succeeding Paul Lee as the president of ABC Entertainment, Channing Dungey weighed in on the very recent decisions to end both Castle and Nashville.

Alluding to, among other things, how the former was set to move forward without leading lady Stana Katic, Dungey said, “The studios in each case were looking for the best creative and financial ways to make room [for new seasons]. They were definitely engaged in conversations [about how to] set them up for the best of success, should they get the order.” ABC meanwhile took stock of the ratings, their own financial situation and the new dramas in development, “and at the end of the day… the future for us did not necessarily lie in those shows.”

Among the other topics the ABC boss covered:

GOODBYE, LONG WINTER NAPS? | Dungey told TVLine, “We’re not doing as big a gap strategy as we may have done in the past,” with regards to benching shows such as Once Upon a Time and Grey’s Anatomy for multiple months at midseason. “There’s going to be certain shows that have slightly longer breaks, and certain ones that have very short breaks. I would prefer not to have big gaps, but this is the beginning of the evolution of this new strategy.”

A ‘DARKER’ S.H.I.E.L.D. | Moving Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to the Tuesdays-at-10 slot will allow the series to “go a little bit edgier, a little darker, and take some risks,” Dungey said — though the later berth was more a result of wanting to establish a new two-hour comedy block on Tuesday, and not so much a desire to move S.H.I.E.L.D. As for ABC ever hosting other Marvel projects — the S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff Marvel’s Most Wanted didn’t make the cut for next season — Dungey said that coming off a recent meeting with Marvel publisher Dan Buckley, “We’re very excited about a few things we have in development,” with the eye on “[making] sure what we do next feels like it’s going to help expand both of our brands.”

#TGIT IN TRANSITION | With Scandal on hold until midseason, Dungey said “it made sense” to give a new drama — the real life-inspired Notorious (starring Piper Perabo and Daniel Sunjata) — in the cushy Thursdays-at-9 slot. (As for whether ABC’s Thursday slate will still be marketed as “#TGIT” with a non-Shondaland show in the mix, Dungey said it was too early to discuss marketing plans for the fall.) Wherefor art Shondaland’s Romeo & Juliet sequel series? Still Star-Crossed “was always intended to be a midseason show, because it’s a big, epic, sweeping period saga, and we wanted to make sure we had enough time to produce it in the way it needed to be produced,” Dungey explained, while holding The Catch for midseason, where it will again air out of the Grey’s Anatomy/Scandal combo, offers “consistency” for the viewer.

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