Third-place ABC's new shows put Lee in spotlight

Tue May 15, 2012 6:01pm EDT
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By Lisa Richwine and Liana B. Baker

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Paul Lee's performance since he took over as ABC Entertainment Group president in July 2010 gets these evaluations from analysts and other industry observers: "Good solid singles." "Decent batting average." "Doing reasonably well."

Not bad, in other words, but no home runs.

After his first full season atop the network, ABC is essentially in the same position it was in before he got there. Ratings are flat, and the network is still ranked third among broadcast networks, with an average of 8.4 million total weekly viewers, according to Nielsen.

That's why there is more riding for Lee on this year's schedule - unveiled at a star-studded presentation featuring Jimmy Kimmel and the cast of "Modern Family" at Lincoln Center in New York on Tuesday - than for perhaps any other network head.

"We felt we had a lot to do when we came in and we've been very pleased," Lee said on a conference call ahead of ABC's presentation Tuesday.

"We had a good start but we've got to keep going and we think we have the shows to do it."

With a new tagline that asks, "Why just watch when you can feel?" Lee announced 10 new shows - six dramas and four comedies.

Among the dramas are "666 Park Avenue," about the mysterious happenings in a New York City apartment building, and "Last Resort," starring Andre Braugher and set on an exotic island after a submarine mission gone awry. Rounding out the new dramas are "Mistresses," "Nashville," "Red Widow" and "Zero Hour."   Continued...