BEVERLY HILLS — ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey is preparing to sad goodbye to two long-running series, readying several more for fall and gearing up for revivals of American Idol and Roseanne in midseason.
But first she’s grappling with ratings declines (the network finished fourth last season among its target audience of young adults) and cost-cutting at the network that last week saw the cancellation of its planned live musical The Little Mermaid.
Scandal and The Middle are entering their final seasons, planned ahead, she told the Television Critics Association Sunday, because “we don’t always get to say goodbye in the way that we should.” (Yet Grey’s Anatomy, incredibly entering its 14th season as ABC’s top-rated drama, will hit its 300th episode.)
And fulfilling a promise to add diversity to The Bachelorette came sooner than some critics expected, in part because Rachel Lindsay proved “a fan favorite right from the beginning,” Dungey says. “I’m very pleased, because it was a very organic thing to happen.”
Less organic: The Bachelor in Paradise controversy, in which contestant Corinne Olympios claimed she was “a victim” after a producer lodged complaints of “inappropriate activity” implied as an alcohol-fueled sexual assault. Producer Warner Bros. investigated and found the complaint unsubstantiated, and the show will return this week.
“There was no wrongdoing that occurred,” she said, but the charges “brought to light some safety issues that we want to be on top of. It was a little bit of a wakeup call.”
Dungey deflected other questions to Warner Bros., but effectively apologized for an ABC promo that some members of Bachelor Nation saw as an exploitation of the incident.
While it didn’t specify “the alleged incident,” she said, it “comprised a series of tweets from people who were sad it wasn’t going to be on, and then glad it was. We thought it was cheeky and in keeping in nature of show, and it was not, so we pulled it.”
In other news about ABC series:
- Quantico, which struggled last season, has a new producer, and the show “will be a little bit more…