Lots of Defending, Not Much Convincing: ABC Fails to Impress TCA With The Chew

This brings a twinkle to my eye. I heard back from several industry peeps who attended the Television Critics Association (TCA) panel for ABC's upcoming talk show/reality series/food fight The Chew and from what I can gather the show (set to replace long-running soap opera All My Children on Sept. 26) gave the journos a bad case of the runs.  


For starters, executive producer Gordon Elliott reportedly dominated the panel session, barely allowing the show's actual co-hosts (Daphne Oz, Carla Hall and Clinton Kelly attended) a chance to chew the fat. What, is the Mouse House that lacking in confidence of this gang of foodies and lifestyle experts to sell this sucker? This particular factoid was confirmed by Variety's Andrew Wallenstein for the industry bible's On The Air blog.

Now for the main course: I hear ABC Daytime Chief Brian Frons was basically guarded from the press by PR executive Jori Petersen for most of the session. I guess Deadline asked her to recite her multiplication table, or managed to confound her in some other way, long enough to get this interview with Fronsie. Here's a completely out-of-touch snippet from the Soap Slayer:

 "I think we've spent 40-plus years trying to keep the soap-opera audience happy. So in an odd way, (the outcry) is actually good. It's just sad that we don't have a solution."

Really, Bri-Bri? You seriously looked that reporter in the face and said you tried to make soap fans happy? Were you trying to make soap fans happy when you launched an ageist, sexist agenda that saw most of the veteran performers on the ABC Daytime shows put out to pasture? Was achieving and sustaining the sheer, unadulterated adoration of soap lovers on your mind when you transformed SOAPnet into a poor fan's Oxygen, complete with stank reality shows that had absolutely nothing to do with the soap opera genre? Please, do elaborate on how airing Bank of Mom and Dad helped further said purpose of trying to make soap fans happy? Jesus take the wheel.

Were you thinking about soap fans at all when you allowed your asshat BFF Chuck Pratt to rip out the pages of Agnes Nixon's All My Children picture book one-by-one, then pee on them, while laughing hysterically? Figuratively speaking of course. I hope...

 What about when you allowed One Life to Live, the one soap on your lineup to see fairly consistent critical acclaim (not to mention sustained ratings growth) in recent years, to basically go unpublicized, while Being Erica got billboards in Time Square?

The sad thing is, I truly think Frons believes he was trying. Take heart soap fans, Elliott says he would just love to get Susan Lucci to appear on The Chew. Now wouldn't that just make it all squared? Has anyone seen my Antacids?