ABC’s entertainment president Paul Lee tends to keep his cards close to his vest during media interviews. But critics grilling the executive at ABC’s press tour session in Beverly Hills on Sunday still got a few nuggets about his returning shows:
— Nashville: Season 2 will be more like the tail-end of the show’s first season, which delivered more twists and turns. “[The showrunners] said to themselves, ‘Let’s turn over the cards more…. You’re starting to see Connie [Britton] here really drive the plot, and the rivalry with her and Hayden [Panettiere] will really come to a head…which I know is something the showrunners really wanted to do…. They started to find their feet at the end of the season.”
— Revenge storylines will be “slightly less complicated” under new showrunner Sunil Nayar. “The premiere is a fantastic episode with a magnificent hook.”
— Dancing With the Stars: While the results show was booted for the upcoming fall edition, Lee left open the possibility of the second night returning midway through the cycle’s run. He also said that dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy is “part of the family” and could return.
— Scandal: ABC is naturally thrilled with the crazy little soap that rules Thursday nights. Lee says there’s no spin-off plans, however, at this time. As for Shonda Rhimes’ other hit Grey’s Anatomy, Lee seemed to suggest that Rhimes making cast changes is more likely than planning a series end date anytime soon, and he referenced NBC’s ER, which saw plenty of cast turnover.
— Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is the only Once Upon spin-off the network is currently considering (so no Once Upon a Time in Narnia, or whatnot). There was some confusion in the room as Lee said Wonderland will only have 13 episodes with an option for more. As previously reported, Wonderland will have a specific number of episodes between 13 and 22 that has been decided in advance so the writers can plan a self-contained story. Wonderland‘s showrunners confirmed after their panel Sunday that this plan is still on track and expect ABC will announce the number closer to show’s premiere date.
— A Star Wars TV show? Lee said the network is having conversations with Lucasfilm, and is certainly interested in exploring the company’s properties. Lee also left open the possibility of another Marvel show beyond S.H.I.E.L.D.: “We have lots of little schemes in back of mind.”
— Shark Tank: ABC announced “Shark Tank Week” (ha!), a week of repeats of the reality hit starting Sept. 8, with each episode chosen by the sharks themselves.
— ABC also announced some midseason premiere dates, which is a bit odd — fall hasn’t even started yet! But here they are, subject/likely to change:
Thursday, January 2
8:00-10:00 p.m. “The Quest” (special two-hour premiere)
Wednesday, February 26
10:00-11:00 p.m. “Nashville”
Thursday, February 27
9:00-10:00 p.m. “Grey’s Anatomy”
10:00-11:00 p.m. “Scandal”
Sunday, March 9
8:00-9:00 p.m. “Once Upon a Time”
9:00-10:00 p.m. “Revenge”
10:00-11:00 p.m. “Resurrection”