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September 5, 2015

ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson Quits

by Scott Harris, posted Jul 28th 2010 1:20PM
Steve McPhersonWhile fans are still recovering from the onslaught of television news that came out of Comic-Con over the weekend -- William Shatner on 'Human Target!' 'Glee's' 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' tribute! 'The Event' is a must-see! -- Disney and ABC slipped in a short announcement last night about a back office move involving someone most fans have never heard of. But before you shrug your shoulders over the news that ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson has quit, we have a few reasons why you might care after all: 'Lost,' 'Desperate Housewives,' 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Dancing With the Stars' and 'Modern Family.'

That's because McPherson, who abruptly announced his departure last night in a series of bland press releases -- ABC's particularly emotionless comments simply stated that "Steve McPherson today submitted his resignation as President, ABC Entertainment Group, and the Company accepted" -- was responsible for bringing all those fan favorite shows to the small screen over the last six years.

And that's not all. Though many media outlets are focusing on the fact that ABC is currently a distant third behind Fox and CBS in the ratings, it should be remembered that when McPherson began his unusually long tenure as head of ABC, the network was actually dead last, behind even NBC. Though ABC's margin over NBC this year was fairly slim (in part due to massive viewership for NBC's Olympic coverage), it's telling that it's become conventional wisdom within the industry to expect NBC and not ABC to finish in last place.

Beyond his success in both ratings and in generating long-terms hits (as The Washington Post notes, prior to becoming ABC's head, McPherson was also responsible for developing 'CSI' for Disney before they decided to sell it off to CBS), though, television fans should regret the departure simply because, unlike most network executives, McPherson was well known for telling it like it is. Whether or not a show succeeded or failed, McPherson never pulled any punches, openly and honestly critiquing his own properties in media exchanges that, while not always friendly, were always honest.

So while media speculation now centers on who will be replacing McPherson -- current ABC Family and former BBC America honcho Paul Lee is thought to be in the lead for the position -- regular fans should take a moment to remember that behind every one of your favorite shows is an executive somewhere who had the vision to push it through.

With McPherson gone, that vision becomes a little cloudier.

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jump to NBC and save it!

July 28 2010 at 7:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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