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Home #Hwoodtimes Karey Burke on The 80’s, The Bachelor, and Her Long Term Strategy...

Karey Burke on The 80’s, The Bachelor, and Her Long Term Strategy at ABC

By Valerie Milano

Chris Rock
Walt Disney Television Upfront Presentation, Arrivals, Tavern on the Green, New York, USA – 14 May 2019 (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/REX/Shutterstock)

Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 5/21/19 – At the 2019 Disney Upfront Experience Press Conference, ABC Chief Karey Burke talked about a number of things. Not the least of which was her affinity for 80’s-era sitcoms. Burke recently ordered yet another 80’s sitcom for her network–a spinoff of Black-Ish called Mixed-Ish.

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“The Goldbergs is the gold standard,” she said in the phone conference. Still, the decade continues to be fertile ground for television comedy. “The ’80s were a rich decade and there a lot of stories to tell from that time,” she told reporters.  “I think when you see Mixed-ish that it has a lot of Black-ish DNA, but like The Goldbergs it’s a really broad family show.”

Burke said the new show will feature young adult and child POVs. “We felt it was a strong show to lead off the hour at nine and have Black-ish follow that.  And like The Goldbergs and Schooled, we paired Mixed-ish and Black-ish chronologically.”

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That’s exactly what it sounds like. They start in the 80’s, move to the present day with Black-Ish. Ditto the 80’s with The Goldbergs, then into the 90’s with Schooled.

On a more upsetting note, Burke also addressed her cancellation of Speechless, which was met with much dismay from critics and fans.  Burke says she was equally affected.

“A lot of anguish for me also and all of us at ABC,” she opined.  “We love Speechless. And personally for me, it was a very tough decision.”

John Landgraff (Photo:Pawel Kaminski/Walt Disney Television)

Not simply “tough” for the new head at ABC. But an experience she described as “gut wrenching.”

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“We looked at a lot of factors,” she said. “Ultimately, primarily, it came down to numbers and feeling like we could shore up the night more strongly with Fresh Off the Boat at 8:30 leading into those 20/20s.”

The conversation then fell to the success of ABC in general, and how Burke plans to uphold a tradition of excellence.  She’s recently picked up a large swath of shows, as a prelude to her leadership potential.

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Billy Porter (Photo: INSTARImages, Walt Disney Television/Yolanda Perez)

“The long-term strategy is really to stay the course, right,” she said. “And to have enough strength in our schedule as we rebuild it to only have to bring on the few shows that we really think can break through, and to get out of what we call the tremendous churn that tends to happen when you pick up so many new shows and you have to launch so many shows.”

Networks are jockeying for “stability,” and Burke is at the forefront of that movement.

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RITA FERRO, PRESIDENT – THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY ADVERTISING SALES AND PARTNERSHIPS (Walt Disney Television/Pawel Kaminski)

“…Really for us, we looked at our platform that has a lot of long running cherished hits in shows Grey’s Anatomy, and The Bachelor, and Dancing with the Stars, and even Idol, which is fairly new to us.  It’s still a long running, cherished property for the audience and so we looked at how can we take those and nurture those?  We actually put money into marketing The Bachelor this year in its 23rd season because we knew we had a great season.  And look what happened? The ratings grew. So, there’s value in nurturing the shows that you have and growing them.”

The thing THT came away with, was primarily that Burke, a strong leader with a plan to integrate fresh new programming with solid veteran programming, is about to take ABC into an entirely new era.  It’s clear they’re in good hands.

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and TV Critic at TheHollywoodTimes.today, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board as a chief organizer of the Television Critics Association’s press tours, held twice a year in Beverly Hills and Pasadena. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and the Desert Aids Project, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been an active member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.