Stephen McPherson, president, ABC Entertainment

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AA: What is your most challenging time period?

Mr. McPherson: Thursdays are typical for us. Then we have post-Monday Night Football. Last year our reality plan was effective and [after MNF disappears] we have ideas for comedies there. A lot will depend on the fall and what assets exist.

AA: Which of your shows is TiVo proof?

Mr. McPherson: The good news about our shows was the appointment viewing nature of them. "Lost," "Desperate Housewives," and "Grey's Anatomy," have a water cooler nature to them. If you don't watch them, then you're going to hear about them the next day. In our current meetings we have a process where people don't give away the storylines because people like to see them.

AA: Which show on another network scares you the most?

Mr. McPherson: The "CSIs" are so potent. I don't know how you say they're not the most scary. And there are three shows. There is another show, not on broadcast, it's really innovative, "30 Days" on FX. It brings a documentary style to TV that's effective and entertaining.

AA: What midseason shows do you have the highest hopes for?

Mr. McPherson: We're trying less traditional comedies as the year rolls out with "Crumbs" and "Sons and Daughters." The dramas have been good midseason plays. We also have "What About Brian," "Evidence" and "Injustice." TV has really gotten year-round to some extent. We concentrate on two trimesters and the summer is a different playground.

AA: What's your favorite show on cable?

Mr. McPherson: "Iron Chef." Yes, I'm a cook. I love the Japanese version that was translated. There is an American version, but it's horrible.

AA: Best TV show of all time?

Mr. McPherson: "M*A*S*H." It's the blend of comedy and drama and the ability to make a film each week and for it to be funny and poignant and about something. The amount of things they accomplished, I don't know if that will be achieved again.

AA: What have you learned this past year from ABC's success?

Mr. McPherson: Be passionate about what you believe in, pick your properties and support them. It's different this year than last year [because we had a successful season]. The process was very collaborative looking at choices we had. I don't have any favorites, but "Sons and Daughters,"to me, is a great one.


Ranking in 18-49 demographic 2004/2005: No. 3

Rating/Viewers/Share in 18-49: 3.7/4.86 million/10 (Nielsen Media Research)

Strengths and weaknesses: Dominated the breakout-hit list last season and boosted summer ratings on Wednesday nights with "Dancing with the Stars" and "Brat Camp." Whether the network can maintain the momentum remains to be seen. ABC continues to have a tough time cracking open any doors on Thursday night, but no one can knock last season's growth.

Doug says: "Two great hits and two great prospects in `Commander in Chief,' and `Invasion,' so they're in great shape. `Desperate Housewives,' and `Lost' in their sophomore seasons are dynamite. They don't necessarily need Thursday."

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