TV Talk

Is Marvel Done at ABC?

Plus, Young Frankenstein Live!, the Oscars, and more of the day's top news.

by | January 8, 2020 | Comments

Are Marvel superheroes now only allowed to save the day on Disney+? ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke was asked how her new corporate sibling was at sharing intellectual property when she spoke to journalists Wednesday at the broadcast channel’s press day at the winter portion of the Television Critics Association biannual tour. She also answered questions about this year’s Oscars ceremony, which air February 9 on ABC, and revealed news of a live production of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein stage musical and more.



Ming-Na Wen as Agent Melinda May, Clark Gregg as Sarge, Natalia Cordova-Buckley as Elena "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez, Henry Simmons as Director Alphonso "Mack" MacKenzie, Chloe Bennet as Daisy Johnson, Iain De Caestecker as Agent Leo Fitz, Elizabeth Henstridge as Agent Jemma Simmons, and Jeff Ward as Deke Shaw in Marvel's Agents of SHIELD keyart (ABC/Marvel Television)
(Photo by ABC/Marvel Television)

With ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. heading into its final season and other series based on Marvel comic-book characters leaving Netflix, it’s easy to assume that all any hope of seeing a live-action superhero show from this universe would require a subscription to the recently launched Disney+, which — like ABC — is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.

Burke told journalists at TCA that, while she’s sad to see S.H.I.E.L.D. go, “we’re looking forward to working with [Marvel Studios president] Kevin Feige, and we’re at the very beginning of conversations with him now about what a Marvel and ABC show might look like.”

Like all older children who have embraced a new baby in the home, she cautioned that “right now, Marvel’s focus has been on Disney+, as it should be.”


Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman in keyart for Young Frankenstein (20th Century Fox)
(Photo by 20th Century Fox)

Still into watching (and tweeting about) live TV adaptations of stage musicals? Walk this way …

ABC announced Wednesday that it has partnered with Mel Brooks on Young Frankenstein Live!, which is based on the stage musical adaptation by Brooks and Thomas Meehan of the 1974 film parody by Brooks and Gene Wilder of the classic Mary Shelley novel — voof! This production will include music from the stage production, which was originally composed by Brooks.

Although an official air date has not been released, Burke said that the special will, fittingly, air “just in time for Halloween.” Casting will also be announced later this year.


The latest classic program to get a sequel is thirtysomething, the ground-breaking TV dramedy from the late 20th century about, well, people in their 30s. ABC has ordered a pilot of the project, which is titled thirtysomething(else) and is written by original series creators Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick. Although a deal isn’t finalized yet, the plan is for Zwick to direct.

Also returning? Original cast members Ken Olin, Mel Harris, Timothy Busfield, and Patty Wettig. Other actors will play their now-grown offspring because, as the press release states, “apparently, raising children (even grown children) never ends. But who could have known how hard it would be for them to raise their parents?”


MODERN FAMILY - "The Last Thanksgiving" - Cameron and Mitchell's friends mistakenly assume they have split up and have definitely chosen a side; and Haley attempts to cook Thanksgiving dinner as a thank you for Claire and Phil's support with the twins. Meanwhile, Jay invites Phil and Dylan out to fly his model plane, and Phil thinks this is his chance to reclaim his dignity after their first outing 10 years ago went so wrong, on an original episode of "Modern Family," WEDNESDAY, NOV. 20 (9:00-9:31 p.m. EST), on ABC. (ABC/Tony Rivetti) ERIC STONESTREET, JESSE TYLER FERGUSON
(Photo by ABC/Tony Rivetti)

Speaking of fan-favorite series about parenting and families, ABC will be saying goodbye to its Emmy-winning mockumentary Modern Family on April 8. The show has changed the way many people view topics like adoption, interracial marriages and May-December romances. It also helped normalize the previously taboo idea of a married gay couple, thanks to Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet’s portrayals of Mitchell Pritchett and Cameron Tucker.

The actors and creators are thankful for this appreciation and support. Ferguson thought back to the first episode, where Mitch and Cam surprise their family with the news that they’ve adopted a baby.

“Putting a gay couple in the forefront and not having it be a sidekick and having them be an integrated part of the family and not leading with the fact that they’re gay — meeting them when they’re at this moment in time when they’re bringing home a child and becoming new parents for the first time — it’s something that’s incredibly relatable to so many people, gay and straight and nonbinary,” Ferguson told journalists during his show’s TCA panel. “I think it was revolutionary back then, and I don’t think it’s as revolutionary now, which I think is a great thing.”


Oscar statues

Keeping with what has become a tradition, Burke confirmed that the Academy Awards ceremony will again go without a celebrity host. Still, she promises, that Hollywood’s biggest night will still have “big musical numbers, big comedy and star power.”

Don’t feel too bad for Jimmy Kimmel, ABC’s late-night star and former Oscar host. He’ll be hosting a celebrity version of long-running ABC game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The famous folk will be playing for charity and episodes begin airing April 8. No word on whether Kimmel will don original host Regis Philbin’s wide metallic ties.


BRYAN ABASOLO, RACHEL LINDSAY, CHRIS HARRISON “The Bachelorette: The Three Hour Live Finale,” (ABC/Paul Hebert)BRYAN ABASOLO, RACHEL LINDSAY “The Bachelorette: The Three Hour Live Finale,” (ABC/Paul Hebert)
(Photo by ABC/Paul Hebert)

You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs, but The Bachelor franchise sees it isn’t so.

New series The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart premieres April 13 and is meant to keep fans, ahem, engaged between the end of a season of The Bachelor and the start of a new season of The Bachelorette.

The twist to this spin-off? The 20 singletons/contestants will try to find love through music. Yes, to quote the press release, this means they will be “singing well-known songs, both individually and as couples, [and] they will look to form attractions through the melodies, find and reveal their feelings and ultimately, fall in love.”

Burke told journalists to “think The Bachelor meets A Star Is Born.”

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