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ABC tells TV critics it sees elephant but won't discuss


It's Steve McPherson-less ABC's day at Summer TV Press Tour 2010.

In case you missed it:

*McPherson resigned abruptly on Tuesday as head of the Disney-owned network and head of the Disney-owned ABC Television Studio.

*McPherson hired a pit bull attorney to deal with all the juicy speculation in the media, citing unnamed sources, about the reason for his abrupt departure.

*Disney announced Friday it had given McPherson's job to the head of Disney-owned ABC Family network.

The studio elected Kevin Brockman, who is executive vice president, Global Communications for Disney/ABC Television Group -- aka Very Big Press Wrangler -- to kick off the ABC's day at the press tour, Disney-style.

Brockman, impeccably attired in a gorgeous suit, walked out on stage carrying a large pink plush toy elephant . He put it down next to him and introduced to TV critics as "Binky."

"I want to start out by addressing the elephant in the room, and I am not talking about Binky here - he's coming home with me," Brockman said.


Kevin Brockman, ABC's executive vice president, Global Communications for Disney/ABC Television Group, addressed TV critics about the elephant in the room. (ABC/Rick Rowell)

"On Tuesday, we issued a statement announcing Steve McPherson's resignation from ABC Entertainment Group," he continued.

"I realize you all have questions....It is literally all we are going to say on the subject. You may ask, but you will get the same answer.... In the spirit of making things as productive as possible today, we really have nothing more to add."

Then, Brockman introduced the cast and crew of ABC's new Michael Imperioli cop drama, "Detroit 1-8-7," picked up Binky, and walked off.

Sensing they would get nothing out of th ABC or Disney executive in the room, TV critics turned to "Detroit" exec producers Jason Richman and David Zabel, for answers, asking them if they were worried about their show's fate now that the guy who developed the series, ordered it, and scheduled it on the network was out.

The two men began to dance madly -- as well as they could, given that they were sitting down. They said they were nowhere near Disney when McPherson resigned, having been in Detroit working on the show. They vowed to continue to do what they were doing a week ago, two weeks ago, and three weeks ago, and hope the people at ABC will continue to be happy with that.

It did not satisfy critics, who take their work very seriously and were still sore that Disney had decided to introduce a pink plush-toy motif.

"The man who ordered the show, whose name we're not allowed to mention -- how do you feel about his departure?" one critic grilled Richman and Zabel.

The two men said politely that they'd already answered that question. But they wanted to be helpful, so they did offer to commit to having been "very grateful" for McPherson's support of their new series, and even went so far as to acknowledge that Lee had called them and "was very supportive, so we're looking forward to the new partnership."

It is going to be a very long day.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  August 1, 2010; 12:34 PM ET
Categories:  Summer TV Press Tour 2010  
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