ABC President Channing Dungey Discusses 'Roseanne' Cancellation, The Conners, and Disney's DTC Serviceby ZachPerilstein
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. ABC President Channing Dungey discussed axing Roseanne- TV's number one comedy- and moving on with the spinoff The Conners. Also on what ABC's plans are for Disney's Direct-to-Consumer service.
Here are some highlights from the interview with Channing Dungey.
How difficult was the decision to pull the plug on TV's No. 1 comedy?
It wasn't that difficult. It felt like a line had been crossed and we needed to stand by our values as a company.
Would you have canceled Roseanne if you were working for a company that wasn't Disney?
For me in my job, I focus on ABC Entertainment and what our values are. And they happen to be in line with what the Walt Disney Co. believes in. I do feel like, at our company, those ethics come down from the top — from Bob Iger. He has been very outspoken about diversity and inclusion and equality. I can't really speak to what it would be like at another company, I've been here for 14 years and it's very much in my blood.
Dungey also revealed the studio had conversations with Roseanne Barr before the show about keeping the focus on the show. THR's Lesley Goldberg then transitioned to a question about James Gunn. The Guardians of the Galaxy director who was fired for highly inappropriate decade old tweets.
Yet we're in an era now where people's past has now come back to haunt them — i.e. James Gunn and his years-old tweets that led to his firing on Guardians of the Galaxy 3.
I can't comment on that because that's the studio, and I don't know all the ins and outs of that situation.
I'm not asking for comment on Gunn, but rather the era we're in where actions from the past impact the present and they're being held accountable.
Every situation is unique.
So no one at Disney is commenting on Gunn right now. Dungey went on to say that nothing about The Conners will change. Ironically, the show is supposedly going to film on the Warner Bros. lot. So it will be a little different from a production standpoint. ABC still hopes The Conners will cater to middle America. The show-runners have not revealed if Roseanne will be killed off.
Dungey also doesn't feel the lost of Kenya Barris, who will be heading to Netflix. She stated that Barris is still very involved with his shows in the Disney fold (Black-ish, Grown-ish, Besties). The ABC President is also very enthusiastic about 20th Century Fox television joining the fold.
Dungey revealed when it comes to Disney's streaming service. They will have conversations with Ricky Strauss and ABC Studios Head Patrick Moran on what shows could be more fit for the service.
Marvel will not be forgotten on ABC. In the interview Dungey said "they are cooking up some things on the broadcast side." ABC's last attempt at Marvel was the critically panned Inhumans series.
Dungey was really reflective in this interview. I feel like The Conners won't do that well. ABC still has to continue building its slate. The stand out show The Good Doctor will lead ABC heading into the fall. ABC still has the desire to work with Marvel Studios and that's a good thing. Although Roseanne and Gunn are hot topics I wish THR would've pressed her on why she cancelled Designated Survivor. Especially considering it did well in advertising sales.
Dungey might also have to make the decision on whether to keep the long running comedy Modern Family on the air. The renewal expires at the end of this season as does The Goldbergs. She has a lot of decisions to make.