ABC head honcho Stephen McPherson announced he would step down this week as president of the network.
The various trade publications don't seem too surprised at this, given ABC's up-and-down performance over the years.
When McPherson took over the job in 2004, it was the year ABC launched "Desperate Housewives" and "Grey's Anatomy" to boffo ratings. (ABC's third hit that year, "Lost," was greenlit by McPherson's predecessor, Lloyd Braun.)
Since then, however, ABC has struggled mightily to keep up with CBS and Fox. "DH" and "Grey's" have both seen declining numbers over the past few years, while a number of would-be "Lost" successors such as "V," "FlashForward," "Invasion," "Happy Town" et. al. have failed to capture that show's popularity.
Some shows such as "Ugly Betty" and "Pushing Daisies" fizzled in the ratings after promising starts.
This year, only "V" stuck around among the new dramas launched, and that was only by the skin of its teeth. ABC had far more success with its sitcoms, getting strong numbers and critical acclaim from "Modern Family," "Cougar Town" and "The Middle."
McPherson was the one who decided to bring "Scrubs" over from NBC, then extend it an extra year, thereby negating what had been a poignant and well done finale to that series.
While ABC isn't quite as in bad shape as NBC is, a change needed to be made. The network's philosophy for the last half-decade has been to see what's popular, then try to copy it endlessly. When ABC did come up with original, off-beat shows like "Pushing Daisies" or "Eli Stone," it didn't give them much of a chance to survive.
Hopefully, the new chief will turn things around.
THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: While I'm of the philosophy that one can never see too much of Heidi Klum, transforming "Project Runway" (Lifetime, 9 p.m.) into 90-minute episodes does seem excessive, yet that's the new format as the new season kicks off.
Not that I'll have to worry -- I'll be watching new episodes of "Burn Notice" (USA, 9 p.m.) and "Royal Pains" (USA, 10 p.m.) instead.
There's a new "Rookie Blue" (ABC, 9 p.m.) tonight, followed by "Boston Med." Finally, "Futurama" (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.) is also new.
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