comScore Will One of These New Shows Save ABC’s Steve McPherson?

Will One of These New Shows Save ABC’s Steve McPherson?

Media Decoder reports that last week, ABC averaged an abysmal 1.1 rating among 18- to 49-year-old viewers for the third time this summer, putting it behind CBS, NBC, Fox, and even Univision.

There’s no doubt that a lot of ABC execs have been getting stern talkings-to from their superiors lately, but Steve McPherson, the president of ABC Entertainment Group, has to be sweating harder than most. Last month, his counterpart at NBC Entertainment, Ben Silverman, stepped down after a difficult tenure. NBC’s entertainment ratings have hovered around dead last, and ABC’s just ahead of them, and since Silverman’s departure there have been murmurs that McPherson might be next to the chopping block.

There’s a lot riding on ABC’s fall lineup, which Mediaweek describes as “aggressive.” “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy” are still riding surprisingly strong, and “Dancing With the Stars” is a powerhouse for the network. But the network is hungry for a new breakout hit, which may be why McPherson greenlit eleven (!) new series for ’09:

  • Shark Tank, a reality show about entrepreneurs (that didn’t debut too well)
  • The Forgotten, a morbid-sounding police procedural
  • MILF Island Cougar Town, aarrggh my eyes
  • Flash Forward, a neat-sounding drama in which everyone in the world mysteriously blacks out, sees their lives six months in the future, and has to sort things out when they wake up
  • Hank, a Kelsey Grammer sitcom about a disgraced executive settling for less
  • The Middle, a cloying sitcom about how parents are the real superheroes
  • Modern Family, a sitcom about modern families
  • Eastwick, a dramedy about sexy witches based on a John Updike novel
  • The Deep End, “Grey’s Anatomy” at a law firm
  • Happy Town, a show about “an unknown psycho, nick-named ‘The Magic Man'” and a sinister bakery
  • V, a drama about aliens infiltrating human society

“Flash Forward” and “Cougar Town” are the favorites going in, but when it comes to entertainment TV, one never quite knows what will stick.

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