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Steve McPherson Resigns as ABC Boss

ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson is O-U-T! McPherson abruptly resigned from his position as boss of the network and studio late yesterday (presumably to avoid a day's worth of media crush), and ABC Family president Paul Lee will take over. McPherson took the position in 2004, the year Lost and Desperate Housewives, two of ABC's biggest franchises, began (McPherson inherited the shows from the previous regime, he wasn't responsible for developing them).

But since McPherson's time in the big chair, ABC has taken that potential and done very little with it. Under McPherson, ABC developed both successes (Grey's Anatomy, Dancing With the Stars) and mega-flops (Cavemen, Hank)—but never moved the needle too far in either direction, despite making what I consider to be some risky and creative moves that critics loved (Pushing Daisies and Life on Mars come to mind). McPherson's biggest programming legacy will be his inability to cash in on a successful show to pair with Lost. The Nine, Invasion, and FlashForward were all high-profile bombs, even though a built-in audience was sitting right there on a tee. Rumors abound that McPherson's departure came with a nudge, as The Daily Beast reports that he was "under fire" and wasn't exactly liked by his coworkers for his "abrasive demeanor."

The interesting thing is that ABC has made some serious headway in the past season, so his ousting could be more related to interpersonal issues than performance. Hits always overshadow bonehead decisions, and this past season saw the development of a competitive comedy block that includes Emmy nomination-hog Modern Family; a reality show that's now giving American Idol a run for its money in Dancing With the Stars; and a solid summer thanks to The Bachelorette.

McPherson is only the latest head honcho to leave his cushy job. NBC boss Jeff Zucker announced earlier this year that he will be stepping down as soon as Comcast's deal to purchase NBC/Universal is complete.

It ain't easy being a network executive. Oh wait, actually it is.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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If the "Lost" creator is suing for copyright infringement and has been and creators are thereby blocked from the creative process then, how the hey does a studio expect to tap into real creative talent in the future?!

It's called digging yourself into a hole.
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We lost Pushing Daisies under his regime, and that's enough for me to celebrate his resignation.
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Finally...I looked for this story on this site yesterday(it broke Tues.night). What happened the flight from ComicCon get in late?



I have mixed feelings regarding McPherson. He gave me Pushing Daisies and for that I'll always be grateful. He also took it away from me and for that I'll always mourn. All over the net posters are either condemning him to hell or prasing him as a saint. Either way, I don't know and I don't think I really care. Steve McPherson was a symptom; not the real problem.



V, Brothers and Sisters, The Middle, Cougar Town and Private Practice. Those are the shows I doubt Mr. Lee will have any patience for and will want to replace with his own projects. As mentioned below Paul Lee cancelled 10 Things I Hate About You. He also cancelled KyleXY and The Middleman. It looks as if he'll be more accomodating to Anne Sweeney, meaning ABC will likely take LESS risks in the coming seasons.



Bottom line, Disney runs ABC as an afterthought and probably views the network as a milstone around its neck. Disney makes their tv money from cable, not network, so the sooner they sell ABC the better.



By the way if some of the behaviour displayed by ABC in recent seasons has baffled you, I highly recommend James B. Stewart's The Disney Wars. It came out around the time McPherson and Sweeney joined the network. The roots of the dysfucntional mess that ABC has become is clearly explained in that book. It's a real eye-opener.
More+
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FlashForward needs to be saved!
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ugh Paul Lee cancelled 10 Things I Hate About You... look out comedies...
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If he's responsible for the cancellation for Pushing Daisies, then i say good riddance!
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Agreed, Haldrey; ABC has been going down the drain for some time now. A change was needed.
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Whoever it is I hope they will take more risk like original ideas for TV shows maybe a sci-fi or fantasy series, and for the love of God no more reality shows.
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as long as he leaves Grey's, Private Practice, Housewives and Brothers & Sisters alone he can do whatever he likes.
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GOOD! Maybe ABC will get its bearing right now.
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Hopefully the new guy will spice things up with ABC
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