Paul Lee, head of the cable channel ABC Family, is set to replace McPherson as the alphabet network’s programming president. ABC’s been stuck in third place among the four main U.S. networks and could lose ground this fall with Lost out of production and an aging Desperate Housewives out of gas.
The summer press tour began early Tuesday morning with a visit to the set of Desperate Housewives where executive producer Marc Cherry was apparently his outrageous, dishy self. But no hint of McPherson’s resignation emerged.
McPherson released a statement Tuesday saying he would announce his future plans shortly, including “a new entrepreneurial venture in the spirits business” as well as “involvement in a new media company.”
McPherson never found a hit to take the place of Lost–a series championed and developed by his predecessors–though Modern Family was a breakthrough comedy success last season. Too many misfires, including Happy Town, Hank and Caveman, kept ABC uncomfortably close to fourth place NBC.
|McPherson in happier times|
Critics will miss McPherson’s blunt, direct style in a scrum. The programming executive publicly ripped NBC a few years ago over what he considered shabby treatment of his pal Kevin Reilly, who wound up with the top programming job at Fox. His hothead reputation stuck throughout his six year tenure at ABC. Despite all that testosterone at the top, the network remains primarily directed toward women viewers with shows like Grey`s Anatomy and Dancing with the Stars among TV`s biggest chick picks.