ABC boss Steve McPherson held a press conference this morning at the Alphabet's New York headquarters, and we were there to interrogate him about what just got canceled, what (and who) is coming back and all those new programs that are airing in the fall.
Read along with our liveblog to get all the news about Elizabeth Mitchell's fate on Lost, the return of Scrubs and who killed Samantha Who?. Plus, all the facty data you could ever want about scheduling, time slots and pilot stars!
LIVEBLOG: UPFRONTS PRESS CONFERENCE WITH STEVE McPHERSON
5:02 a.m.: Good morning, TV fans! We're about to get started on all the ABC headlines. To begin, an ABC rep reveals: "Elizabeth Mitchell will not be a regular on Lost next season, but she will be able to appear [on that show]." You guys can do the math on what that means for Juliet.
5:06 a.m.: Montage time: Bad stuff will happen on Flash Forward (although yay, it has John Cho!), and once again, we learn that Sonya Walger cries very prettily.
5:09 a.m.: ABC boss Steve McPherson addresses the new schedule: Look for a new comedy block on Wednesdays. ABC's hoping to make ratings inroads in the 10 p.m. time slot following "the Leno move" on NBC.
5:09 a.m.: McPherson confirms: "A number of the castmembers will be coming back to Scrubs."
5:11 a.m.: Patricia Heaton and Kelsey Grammer are back together on TV! Just not on the same show. She's on The Middle; he's on Hank. But they will be sharing the Wednesday-evening slate on ABC.
5:12 a.m.: McPherson says of Courteney Cox's Cougar Town: "It's really looking at what it is to grow older and deal with relationships."
5:13 a.m.: McPherson says that witch-movie remake Eastwick is "The perfect mix of comedy, drama and character relationships that we've become known for."
5:13 a.m.: ABC will air Flash Forward on Thursdays at 8 p.m., before the Shonda Rhimes block of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. (Ugly Betty is moving to Fridays at 9 p.m.)
5:14 a.m.: "Sunday will remain intact," says McPherson, meaning ABC is keeping the current schedule of America's Funniest Home Videos, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters.
5:15 a.m.: McPherson says, "We've had a very good development season." V and The Deep End seem to be going at midseason.
5:15 a.m.: V's initial order will be 13 episodes. "We want to craft a whole series," says McPherson. "We believe it's going to be in four parts...It will have beginning, middle and end."
5:16 a.m.: Shonda Rhimes' Inside the Box will be revisited after pilot season. "It definitely had some issues...We were surprised by the way test audiences reacted to it. It seemed like a show that was going to need work, so we both felt like, let's not rush anything through the summer."
5:18 a.m.: McPherson says, "I think Eastwick is going to be a sleeper that a lot of people will be surprised by."
5:19 a.m.: Regarding Fox's plan to move So You Think You Can Dance to fall, when it goes up against Dancing with the Stars, McPherson says: "It'll be interesting to see how that goes."
5:20 a.m.: Regarding the return of Scrubs, McPherson says, "We don't have any new regulars [cast yet]. Zach is confirmed for six, maybe more...[his appearances] will be probably [scattered] over the first 13. There are two scenarios [executive producer] Bill [Lawrence] is working with about what the next generation is." (McPherson later told us that one of those scenarios is set at Sacred Heart and one is not.)
5:21 a.m.: About the possibility of continuing Desperate Housewives for a number of years, McPherson says: "That show...We'll do it as long as Marc Cherry wants to do it." Basically, ABC loves it and will keep it going forever if it can.
5:22 a.m.: A reporter questions the business bona fides of the Better Off Ted pickup, and McPherson defends it by saying, "Critically and online Ted has gotten an amazing amount of notice, and we really believe in Victor." (Right on, McPherson!)
5:24 a.m.: Someone asks about the unexpected cancellation of Samantha Who?, and McPherson says, "I feel really responsible for that. It was a great show. Christina [Applegate] is a giant, giant TV star, and I have so much respect for her. It launched really well, and then it seemed to run out of steam. That Thursday effort ended up being a confluence of tough events. It seemed like everything was conspiring against it. My hat is off to Christina and [show runner] Don Todd and that entire group."
5:30 a.m.: Flash Forward "has an extensive multiseason arc...Each season has its own cycle."
5:30 a.m.: McPherson says Lost has been "a phenomenal show and a phenomenon. This season has been stronger than it has ever been." He credits the end date for putting a stop to the problem of the "infinite middle."
5:31 a.m.: Lost has no confirmed time slot for when it comes back next spring for season six. It will be on, for sure—they just don't know yet if it will air Wednesdays at 9 or Tuesdays at 10, etc.
5:33 a.m.: When asked if Katherine Heigl and T.R. Knight have signed on for season six of Grey's Anatomy, McPherson says, "They've both signed on. I can't say whether or not they'll both be there."
5:33 a.m.: Regarding the negative reaction to Denny ghost sex, Steve McPherson says: "I think people jumped the gun on the Izzie stuff," and also that he loves how enthusiastically people respond to Grey's Anatomy, for better or worse: "Nobody's asking the same kinds of questions about a run-of-the-mill procedural."
5:37 a.m.: The Unusuals and Cupid are not coming back, Surviving Suburbia will air during the summer, Old Christine remains with CBS as far as McPherson knows and Castle is picked up. ABC's ratings goal for Ugly Betty in its new time slot of 9 p.m. on Friday is for it to hold Supernanny's numbers at 8 p.m. He later says that America Ferrera is one of ABC's biggest stars and that they're hoping Ugly Betty can perform for them on Friday nights like an ABC version of Ghost Whisperer.
5:38 a.m.: Someone asks McPherson more about Elizabeth Mitchell, and he says, "She's a fantastic actress, and we're thrilled to be able to have her do both [Lost and V]...You'll see her on Lost, but V is her next piece."
JUST THE FACTS
What Are the New Shows?
What Got Canceled?
The dead include Cupid, The Unusuals, In the Motherhood, Samantha Who? and, yes, finally, According to Jim.
Scripted: Better Off Ted, Brothers & Sisters, Castle, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Lost, Private Practice, Scrubs and Ugly Betty. (Ugly Betty is being moved to the Friday death slot; Better Off Ted and Scrubs will air Tuesday nights at 9 after Dancing With the Stars signs off in the fall.)
Reality America's Funniest Home Videos, The Bachelor, Dancing With the Stars, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Supernanny, True Beauty and Wife Swap.
ABC's FALL TV SCHEDULE
8 p.m.: Dancing With the Stars
10 p.m.: Castle
8 p.m.: Shark Tank
9 p.m.: Dancing With the Stars results
10 p.m.: The Forgotten
8 p.m.: Hank
8:30 p.m.: The Middle
9 p.m.: Modern Family
9:30 p.m.: Cougar Town
10 p.m.: Eastwick
8 p.m.: Flash Forward
9 p.m.: Grey's Anatomy
10 p.m.: Private Practice
8 p.m.: Supernanny
9 p.m.: Ugly Betty
10 p.m.: 20/20
7 p.m.: America's Funniest Home Videos
8 p.m.: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
9 p.m.: Desperate Housewives
10 p.m.: Brothers & Sisters
Last but not least, don't forget to check out our gallery of fall's hottest upcoming TV shows.