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ABC Boss on Grey's Future, Revenge's Stumble and Downsizing Dancing With the Stars

REVENGE ABC/ Vivian Zink

While promoting his documentary series Racing LeMans, Grey's Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey had many choice words about working on the ABC hit series for almost a decade—words like "exhausting." So when ABC president Paul Lee took the stage at ABC's TCA press day, the big question about the future of Grey's came flying.

"I think and it should go on for many years to come," Lee said. "Shonda [Rimes] is an extremely creative force, and if I commented on who was coming in and out, I think Shonda would yell at me! It is the number one drama on television, and that's an extraordinary accomplishment after so many years. We'd like to see it on the network for many years to come. We've very, very proud of it."

For you fans of Nashville and Revenge who were less than thrilled about the past year of television, Lee feels your pain and is working on righting those ships.

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Going into its third season, Revenge has a new showrunner in Sunil Nayar after creator Mike Kelley exited the series. It also has a lot of pressure with viewers wondering if the series can return to its season one glory.

"I have to give Mike credit because that first season was fabulous. And I think we stumbled a little bit in season two," Lee admitted. "Sunil is bringing a slightly less complicated and really interesting take. The first episode back…is a fantastic episode, starting with a magnificent hook. I do think you are going to see that one enjoying itself in its third season and we certainly are."

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As for Nasvhille, season one spent its freshman season hitting highs and lows, and Lee insisted that after seeing notes and outlines for season two, he's "very happy" with what's to come.

"They built their own voice, and they brought a particularly musical voice to that show that's very distinctive," he said. "You'll start to see Connie [Britton] really drive plot. Connie is an extraordinary actress. That particular rivalry that goes on between her and Hayden [Panettiere] will really come to a head. They started to find their feet at the end of the season."

Kellie Pickler, Derek Hough, Dancing with the Stars Winners ABC/Adam Taylor

ABC announced during Upfronts in May that the network would be downsizing Dancing With the Stars to only one night, essentially meaning no more results show.

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"We really wanted to focus and event-ize Dancing With the Stars," Lee explained. "I know [executive producer] Conrad [Green] is having a whole lot of fun contracting a night on Monday that not only gives you the dances but the results. Effectively what we're doing is we're taking the votes from the judges and the votes from the audience and bringing them together at the end. Conrad has worked through a really interesting two hours. It builds to a climax at the end."

And about the rumors that veteran Maksim Chmerkovskiy may not be returning again this season?

"Maks is part of the family, he may well be back," Lee said. "We love having him be part of it."

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel ABC/Bob D'Amico

For more info from the ABC exec session, read on:

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: The Once Upon a Time spinoff was initially not meant for a Fall debut, but Lee told reporters that after seeing the pilot, he couldn't not move forward with it. "We just fell in love with it. This is Alice like you've never seen Alice before. She's truly kick-ass Alice. It was a like a rabbit hole I wanted to go down for the whole season."

Working With Marvel: S.H.I.E.L.D. will no doubt be a success for the network (it comes from Joss Whedon, for Stark's sake), so obviously there are plans for more projects with Marvel, yes? "We have lots of little schemes in back of mind," Lee dodged. "None that we're ready to announce just yet."

A Galaxy Far, Far Away: Now that LucasFilms is part of the Disney family, Lee said that he has a "glint in his eye" about future projects. "We started conversations with them," he revealed.

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