Channing Dungey took over ABC last year and her arrival spelled bad times for MCU TV on the alphabet network. She is the one who ultimately swung the ax on Agent Carter and chose not to pick up Most Wanted. During that time Damage Control has also disappeared from the network’s plans. With Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. floundering in the ratings, fans have good reason to worry about that show’s future. But in an interview with EW, Dungey gave some hope that things aren’t as grim as they may seem. While no one would expect her to dump on her own network’s show, she still is really positive on the future of Coulson and crew.
Look, we are incredibly encouraged. Season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been creatively the strongest season we’ve had yet. The episodes just keep getting better and stronger. And that’s another one for us that we moved from 9 to 10 and yet even though the HUD levels are softer at 10, the live-same-day has remained the same and that’s another one of our shows which regularly goes up triple digits over the seven-day period, anywhere from 100 to 110 percent…I’m very bullish on S.H.I.E.L.D. and we’re also really excited about our production with Marvel, ABC Studios, and IMAX, which we are working on for next fall as well.
For those wanting to understand the ratings a little more, check out our recent recap of the rating situation. None of the numbers are really very good, but Dungey is talking in pretty optimistic terms, given the situation. It may not be a mistake, however, that she immediately goes from being “bullish” on S.H.I.E.L.D. to talking about Inhumans. What is yet to be seen is if the latter is seen as a way to support the former or a way to replace the former.
EW then went on to talk about the John Ridley project which has been rumored forever, yet is still as mysterious as the day it was first announced. While some have declared it dead, ABC doesn’t see it that way.
John is working on a rewrite of that script for Marvel at the moment. We have not seen a new version of it. He’s been on production of his show, over in London, and on season 3 of American Crime, so those are the things that have been top of mind for him of late. But I have heard from Marvel that he is working on a revision to that script.
It is worth noting that this answer came after the interviewer mentioned “John Ridley’s mysterious superhero project” and Dungey said, “Which John Ridley project?” The whole interchange is a little ambiguous. It hardly seems like this is on the forefront of her mind. But the word that Marvel is still actively pursuing the project and getting a rewrite of the pilot is the best news fans have gotten in a long time about it. Generally, it seems that the project is neither dead nor is it first priority. The biggest challenge right now seems to be getting Ridley’s schedule cleared so that he can work on it further. Given that it’s been the “John Ridley project” since day one, it seems his involvement is a major factor in the network’s interest in it, maybe more so than the character(s) he is working with.
One other quick MCU note is that Dungey denies that Conviction, staring Hayley Atwell, was canceled. It just only got a 13 episode order. That seems to be a smoke screen so they can burn the remaining episodes. Part of the obstacle to getting more Agent Carter is the availability of Atwell.
Altogether, the comments are about what you expect from an executive pumping up their projects. At no point does Dungey say, “We hate this show” but she wouldn’t. Its still a bit early to be able to tell what the future of Marvel will look like at ABC, beyond Inhumans coming in September. Do these comments give you hope about more Marvel shows on ABC? What would you like Ridley to work on? Share your thoughts in the comments below.