*After making history as the first African American woman to become head of entertainment at a network, ABC’s new entertainment president Channing Dungey made her first Television Critics Association Press Tour address this week to discuss the network’s outlook for the coming months.
Among the topics of discussion were plans to make the “Bachelor” dating franchise less white and why exercising patience for John Ridley’s critically acclaimed-yet-ratings challenged anthology series “American Crime.”
Diversity Will Come to The Bachelor … Eventually
ABC executives have been taken to task for the overwhelmingly white contestants on popular reality shows The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. And as the first African-American woman to run a broadcast entertainment division, Channing may be the driving force behind finally diversifying the show. “I would very much like to see some changes,” she said. But the challenge is getting more diverse candidates on the show in the first place. That’s because for the last several seasons, the new Bachelor or Bachelorette has been a popular castmember from the previous cycle. “It’s worked very well for us because the audiences feel really engaged [in choosing] that candidate. What we’d like to do is broaden that,” she said. “We need to increase the pool of diverse candidates in the beginning. That is something we really want to put some effort and energy towards.”
Prestige Shows Get More Patience
“The linear number, we did not hit our target,” Dungey admitted of John Ridley anthology American Crime. The drama nabbed four key Emmy awards and a speedy renewal. It also only averaged a 1.6 rating among adults 18-49 and 6 million viewers with time-shifting. The exec emphasized that multiplatform views help the show, while making it clear that the acclaim has been enough to keep the show on the air. “We’re very hopeful in looking at what [Ridley] has planned for season 3 that we’ll be able to broaden our base a little bit … it’s all about the launch and the marketing and giving it a little more momentum coming into the season.”