Citing her first upcoming development season, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey followed in the path of her network counterparts by touting the value of multi-platform viewership at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.
“We have a number of shows here that go up in triple-digit percentages over seven days,” began Dungey. “And many of our shows double in the ratings from all the multi-platform viewing that is taken into account. We are the biggest network gainer from live plus same day to live plus seven, and we are the most social network.”
“Our viewers make an effort to watch and because they make that effort, they are more engaged when they do,” she added.
Season to-date (through July 30), and based on the first 45 weeks of this current season, however, ABC ranks third in total viewers, with 5.94 million and a loss of 11% year to year, according to Nielsen (based on live + seven day data through July 16; and live + same day for the most recent two weeks). In adults 18-49, ABC is fourth with a 1.5 rating/6 share and a loss of 17% year to year.
“Certainly, we are concerned about ratings and we want to do better,” said Dungey. “I am pleased with our performance and I feel there is still a lot of work ahead of us to get to the place that we really want to be. Now everyone in the broadcast business is looking a lot at overshift and that is a priority for us.”
“We work very closely with ABC Studios and I think you are going to continue to see more of a close alignment between the network and the studio,” she added. “If a show is owned fully by ABC Studios and it does well here domestically, and also does well for us internationally, we are looking at the big global picture.”
While ABC has five new series at bat this fall – dramas The Good Doctor, Marvel’s Inhumans, Ten Days in the Valley and Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, and sitcom The Mayor – there was more interest at this executive session about the revivals of American Idol and Roseanne in midseason.
“Roseanne will be totally similar to the original show,” noted Dungey. “It is unflinching, it is honest, it is irreverent at times, and it is also really funny. It will not specifically talk about the universe we live in now, but we are addressing topics in a bigger and broader way like foreclosures and medical insurance.”
Production on Roseanne will begin in October, with a planned debut on an unconfirmed date in midseason. Discussions are underway for Johnny Galecki of The Big Bang Theory to reprise his role as David.
American Idol, which begins the national search for new contestants on Thursday, August 17, comes on the heels of the failure of the latest ABC entry in the singing competition genre, Boy Band.
“This is going to be ABC’s version of American Idol,” said Dungey, who offered no specifics on the revival. “As you all know, we have Katy Perry as one of our key judges, and we’re hoping to announce the rest of the panel very soon.”
In other network news, ABC has issued renewals to primetime shows The $100,000 Pyramid and Celebrity Family Feud; and one of the priorities at the network is a relationship-themed drama a la NBC’s This is Us.
“At the end of the day, broadcast television has so many opportunities to inform audiences, to enlighten audiences, to engage audiences and to entertain them,” noted Dungey. “You always want to do shows that feels like their own organic somethings. You never want to do a cheap imitation of someone else’s show. You want shows that speak for themselves.”
Mum was the word, meanwhile, on the recent sexual allegations made on summer returnee Bachelor in Paradise.