Translating the ABC Press Tour

Of all the executive press tours at the TCA (Television Critics Association), the ABC session was sure to be the most interesting. That’s because on the eve of the TCA, ABC entertainment president Steve McPherson resigned under possibly unseemly circumstances, leaving ABC Family head Paul Lee to answer the questions of critics and talk about the big elephant in the room.

On the big elephant in the room — Mr. McPherson’s exit

What ABC says: Communications EVP Kevin Brockman carried a stuffed pink elephant on stage. Har!

What ABC means: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, television critics! Laugh as we quickly hose down any existance of Mr. McPherson running our network and promise not to answer any further questions about what happened. Next!

On what Mr. Lee thinks of the ABC programming

What Mr. Lee says: “I don’t think I’ve had a chance to figure out what that mix should be.”

What Mr. Lee means: Hey guys, I just started. Is Lost still on?

On Happy Town, a lowly rated spring series that was pulled off the air before its season completed

What Mr. Lee says: “We’re a competitive network and we want to stay very competitive.”

What Mr. Lee means: Happy Town? No, I want to keep this job, not write a resignation letter that highlights my burgeoning wine-selling career.

On his philosphy about being a TV executive

What Mr. Lee says: “This job is certainly about creating new, strong brand-defining hits.”

What Mr. Lee means: If anyone has another pilot script lying around that looks like Lost, please shoot me an e-mail. Translating the ABC Press Tour