Is the magic gone for "Once Upon a Time," or is the ABC series just getting ready for a game-changing new spell? Either way, it sounds like big changes are ahead after the current Season 6.
Entertainment Weekly talked with ABC boss Channing Dungey about various network shows, including the future of OUAT. Here's the first question they asked today:
Here's a Once Upon a Time question. Do you see this being the final season? And if so, can you give them an end date to work with like, say, Lost had?
Yeah, so [executive producers] Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, as veterans of Lost, are fully conscious of all these things. They came in and sat with us recently to talk about what their ideas would be for a season 7 and we're in conversations about that right now. But I think this is absolutely a show that is beloved to us and if and when we decide to end it, we want to do it the right way and really give the fans the ending that they deserve. But I will say that Eddie and Adam have some really good ideas for future seasons.
So it sounds like they are thinking of the end game, but leaving the door open for Season 7 -- and maybe even beyond? -- for that end game.
Later on Tuesday, EW got more details from Dungey, and this part of the talk makes it seem like Season 7 is more of a serious reality than a fantasy idea. But it also sounds like OUAT would be a drastically different show, maybe even losing some of the major OG characters fans have come to love.
Here's more from the ABC entertainment chief to EW:
"[Executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis] would be looking for the seventh season to be a springboard in a new direction from a narrative standpoint, which doesn't necessarily mean that we're not bringing cast back, it's just how do you kind of hit the reset button in a way that gives you opportunity to expand the stories that we're telling?"
Asked about cast exists, Dungey said, "Whenever there's change, there's always transition. It's just too hard to really say more of anything. Until they really get their pitch finalized, it's hard to really be more specific."
Now it sounds like the network is waiting on the showrunners to share their final pitch for Season 7.
Overall viewership has gone down for OUAT since Season 1, but not dramatically; the show still attracts between 3-4 million viewers in its Sunday debuts, which is only slightly down from last season. The Season 1 premiere attracted nearly 13 million viewers, but the show hasn't been that high since. The 18-49 ratings have been slipping a bit, which may be part of the reason ABC is looking at a shakeup.
"Once Upon a Time" always takes frustratingly long breaks, too. Season 6, Episode 10 aired December 4, and Episode 11 won't arrive until Sunday, March 5 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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