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Upfront Reaction: ABC

We've said it before, but it bears repeating: Television executives are kinda dumb.

Are you dumb, too? Take this pop quiz to find out.

Question 1. Your traditionally embarrassing network has unexpectedly lucked into three hit programs in a single season. Fall 2005 approaches, and your advertisers are expecting you to capitalize on your newfound success. Do you:

A) Take the popularity of Lost -- a show primarily about deep, flawed characters with just a pinch of science fiction -- to mean that your audience is clamoring for caricature-populated, hugely improbable sci-fi such as Invasion and Commander in Chief?

B) Forget entirely about the apparently huge segment of the population that likes to watch crazy broads carp at each other?

C) See what that nice kid, Freddie Prinze, Jr., is up to; ask him if maybe he'd like to be on a sitcom or something, premise TBD?

D) All of the above.

If you answered D, you could be running ABC right now. And you would be hurting badly, since not a one of your new shows for 2005-2006 would have survived the cruel and uncaring Nielsen axe.

But hey, another year, another schedule. So ABC Entertainment prez Stephen McPherson thought long and hard about what exactly makes shows like Lost, Desperate Housewives, and Grey's Anatomy so popular. "Our success has been driven by great storytelling and memorable characters that audiences have fallen in love with," said McPherson at the ABC upfront presentation. "We set out to develop a diverse group of shows that will continue in that vein and also to grow our audience." And I have no doubt that Mr. McPherson is true to his word; that he did indeed set out with only the best intentions to develop diverse, gripping, character-rich, audience-growing goodness.

Sadly, what they actually ended up with was this crap.


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