BREAKING NEWS: ABC's Steve McPherson has announced today season 2 pickups for its 3 successful Wednesday comedies, The Middle, Modern Family and Cougar Town. It's great news for fans of these three fabulous new comedies -- and for the shows' producers, who didn't already know. In fact, "the shows are finding out from your blogs right now," McPherson joked.
"Creatively it was a wonderful fall. Hats off to my comedy team and drama team," the ABC President said. As for Wednesday, "it was quite a challenge launching a new night. But we're really excited where we ended up with that. It gives us a foothold in comedy, and we intend to grow that."
Speaking of footholds in comedy, I asked McPherson about the network's lame launches of Scrubs and Better Off Ted this season, and how they seem to have thrown those shows to the wolves the moment they didn't magically electrify ABC's moribund Tuesday schedule.
McPherson stressed that the network is not "burning off" Scrubs and Ted, and admitted that outside of Wednesday, any comedies airing on the network would end up being their own "island," which is a distinct competitive disadvantage. I also asked why neither Scrubs nor Ted was given the deceased Hank's time slot, and McPherson countered that repeats of The Middle and Modern Family have done great for ABC, and will until such time as the network finds a suitable replacement. In the fall, he added, the network had assessed Scrubs and Ted and had decided that neither would fit well into Wednesday. (I strongly disagree -- plus, they thought Hank, a more traditional multi-camera comedy, fit well among those other 3 shows? Hey, but that's what the man said.)
I followed up by asking if, after their runs end this month, Scrubs and Ted could be considered euphemistically "on hiatus," or more bluntly, "cancelled." According to McPherson, no decision has yet been made, and will be made only then. It doesn't sound promising, but here's to hoping that the rest of ABC's spring pilots yield a few comedies which could be combined with Scrubs and Ted to form a new night, much like the network did this year on Wednesday.