ABC had their Television Critics Association presentation on Tuesday, and we were there to get the latest scoop on their new fall TV lineup. Panels for Shonda Rhimes's new Viola Davis show, "How to Get Away With Murder" and the Anthony Anderson comedy "Black-ish" were among the highlights. What were some key takeaways from the network's big day?
1. ABC is "bullish" about Wednesday
So says ABC president Paul Lee, who was particularly enthusiastic about its comedy block that day this fall. "I personally believe 'The Goldbergs' is going to be discovered by a lot more people this year," he noted. There was a lot of love for the '80s-set comedy, which will now air between successes "The Middle" and "Modern Family."
2. There's a push for diversity
Lee also talked about the network's diverse programming."It is a mission statement to reflect America," he explained. "In a way it's not so much diversity as it is authenticity."
ABC prez Paul Lee: "If you look at shows now that lack diversity, they actually seem dated" #TCA14- moviefone (@moviefone) July 15, 2014
3. "Once Upon a Time" has potential to spin off "Frozen" storyline
It's not breaking news that "Frozen" will be represented on fairytale drama "Once Upon a Time" this fall, but does that mean there's a chance for a stand alone show about the Disney hit in the future? There are "no immediate plans" for a spinoff surrounding that arc, but Lee did say the producers aren't necessarily (ahem) letting it go. "Eddy and Adam are endlessly inventive, so they have glints in their eyes of stories that they can spin for years to come. So it certainly doesn't rule out their ability or my ability to go beyond 'Once,'" he remarked.
4. Shonda Rhimes doesn't care about hashtags
Shonda Rhimes's new show "How to Get Away With Murder" may have a long title and a tricky hashtag (#HTGAWM), but that's not really a concern of hers. "We don't consider a hashtag when we're writing a title," she responded cooly when asked about social media.
5. Viola Davis: "We're all morally questionable"
Viola Davis was attracted to the role of mysterious lawyer Annalise Keating because she thinks she's a "realistic protagonist." "I found her to be very human, as we all are, that we all have grey areas," she went on. Karen Gillan and John Cho make quite the funny team
They're the leads in "Selfie," a "My Fair Lady" inspired tale of a social media obsessed gal and the marketing guru who helps remake her reputation. How did "Doctor Who" alum Gillan curb her natural Scottish accent so she could convincingly play a vapid American? "It's an amalgamation of the girls who go to SoulCycle," she said. Gillan and Cho had a playful banter, which endeared us to them as a pair. At one point Cho suggested that "Doctor Who" fans be called Who-ters instead of Whovians. And when asked about his own personal social media usage Cho joked (?), "I'm on Twitter ... and Grindr."
7. The "Black-ish" cast will crack you up
"Black-ish" was perhaps the liveliest panel of the bunch. Laurence Fishburne kept breaking into a silly falsetto -- who knew he was such a cut-up? The sitcom is about a dad dealing with his family's loss of cultural identity and producer Larry Wilmore elaborated on the concept, saying, "This show celebrates black as a cultural thing more than a race thing. At the heart of the show is a father who thinks maybe he's given his kids too much and something is lost."
"Forever" is a drama about an immortal medical examiner named Henry Morgan, played by Ioan Gruffudd. Morgan's mythology will be explored but we won't necessarily find out why exactly he's immortal any time soon. Oh, and he won't die every week.
9. Judd Hirsch jumped at the chance to be in "Sharknado 2"
Hirsch was on hand because he's a "Forever" lead but he couldn't get away from a question about his "Sharknado 2" cameo. "They told me i was going to be eaten by a shark. i said 'i'm in.'" Fair enough, Judd.
10. "Manhattan Love Story" isn't all about dudes liking boobs and girls liking purses
Sitcom "Manhattan Love Story" allows viewers to hear the inner-monologue of the two leads as they begin their romantic relationship, but they'll be careful to fully develop the characters and not get into gender stereotyping as time goes on. Star Analeigh Tipton on the premise's appeal: "You don't get many opportunities to see a girl's inner thoughts." "I don't like purses. i carry around a shopping bag," she also remarked. And now you know.
11. Cristela Alonzo is destined for stardom.
It was treat to get to know more about comedian Cristela Alonzo. She talked about the creation of her sitcom, "Cristela," and how she's always been a huge TV fan, influenced by shows like "Roseanne" and "Murphy Brown." "Watching TV was my escape," she explained of growing up in poverty. Cristela always dreamed big and revealed that "no one ever told me as a kid that I couldn't do anything when it came to limitations, in regards to being creative."
Stay tuned for more TCA press tour coverage as the presentations continue this week!
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