New ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee addressed TV critics in Los Angeles Sunday, making an early return from vacation to speak to the press about the state of the network and assuring that they have a “very strong lineup coming in.”
ABC confirmed Friday that Lee is replacing Stephen McPherson, who abruptly resigned last week in a surprising shake-up at the Disney-owned network.
“I’ve been in the job for 36 hours,” Lee began, so “I apologize in advance if I don’t have all the answers to all the questions.”
But the new network chief does know that he won’t be making any major changes right away, least of all to the fall premiere line-up.
“We’re locked and loaded here,” Lee said. “I mean, we’re literally weeks away.” Relaxed and confident, Lee said ABC has “some really defining brands” in its stable and has “a strong slate” planned this fall.
The British TV executive, who previously had been heading up ABC Family, said he was “honored” to be offered the job.
“I’m clearly very excited with this opportunity,” Lee said. “This is one of the premiere, iconic American storytelling brands.”
While he said it was too soon to talk about his strategy for taking over at ABC, Lee admitted “every network needs to be replenished to stay fresh and to evolve its identity.”
When one journalist mentioned that exiting exec McPherson once danced at the Upfronts in tight black pants and then asked the new president if he had any hidden talents, Lee didn’t miss a beat.
“I have to say I remember watching that and thinking, ‘I’m so glad I don’t have Steve’s job,’” Lee joked.