ABC profits from, but says no pleasure in NBC woes

Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:18pm EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - ABC television entertainment chief Stephen McPherson said on Tuesday the network benefited from NBC's failed prime-time experiment with "The Jay Leno Show" but took no pleasure in its rival's woes.

NBC's decided to ax in February the primetime Leno show, which was intended to cut costs and increase the network's audience in that time slot. Resisting the opportunity to gloat McPherson said he welcomed NBC's decision to return to scripted dramas and comedies as a boost to the creative TV community.

McPherson told TV reporters in Los Angeles that Walt Disney Co's ABC was "up at 10 p.m. by 8 to 10 percent" since NBC launched the Leno comedy talk show five days a week in September in the time slot traditionally reserved for serious drama.

But he added: "Seeing a great network tumble is not something we rejoice over. We are all competitive but we want a vibrant TV landscape...We want them (NBC) to be a good competitor."

ABC is the second-most-watched U.S. network overall with an average audience of 9.1 million, after CBS Corp's CBS

with 11.6 million. News Corp's Fox has 8.7 million and General Electric Co's NBC is fourth with 7.6 million.

McPherson said ABC had no plans to change its own late-night line up with Jimmy Kimmel in the wake of NBC's plans to reshuffle its Leno, Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon shows.

ABC has done particularly well with new comedies this season and McPherson on Tuesday announced that the network was picking up Courteney Cox's "Cougar Town," and comedies "Modern Family" and "The Middle" for the 2010-2011 season.   Continued...