You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

ABC’s Karey Burke Confident That Oscars Will See ‘Big Turnout’

New ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke expressed bullishness at the Television Critics Association winter press tour that this year’s Academy Awards telecast would be sure to draw in viewers, and downplayed the recent controversy surrounding Kevin Hart that led ABC to a host-less Oscars.

When asked if the issue was prompting worry, Burke responded: “I have to be honest – it did. It no longer does. I’ve ironically found that the lack of clarity around the Oscars has kept the Oscars really in the conversation and the mystery has been really compelling. People really care.”

And she believes that the popularity of the films up for awards will ensure that viewers across America tune in.

“At no time in history have there been three movies nominated for Best Picture each having grossed over $200 million (at the box office),” she said. “I think we’re going to see a big turnout for this, because these are big, popular movies that are being nominated.”

“A Star is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” each racked up over $200 million in lifetime grosses at the domestic box office. “Black Panther” has grossed over $700 million domestically and over $1.3 billion worldwide.

Separately, Burke acknowledged ABC’s slide as the top network watched by women, and expressed determination to reclaim that title.

“I’m quite aware that we have our work cut out for us,” said Burke. “For starters, whether we’ve been up or down, ABC has a long history of being No. 1 with women. We lost that mantle this season and I am determined to get it back. Luckily, programming for women has long been a passion of mine, and I’ve always had a personal goal to create the best opportunities for women in front of and behind the camera.”

She attributed part of that dip to strong dramas from other networks, in particular NBC’s “This is Us,” but said that the upcoming crop of pilots she and her team have chosen are “much more female forward than in past years.”

Burke assured critics and reporters at TCA that the ABC slate would “have a lot of male appeal,” though they are choosing a few more shows that have strong female leads and points of view.

Commenting on individual ABC series and franchises, Burke also discussed:

  • “The Bachelor.” The reality show franchise has “done a remarkable job over its many seasons.” And in reflecting how, as a feminist, she could allow her kids to watch the show, she asserted, “If you don’t think those women have power, you aren’t watching the show correctly.
  • “Grey’s Anatomy.” She is “thrilled” with the long-running series’ performance, and is “in conversations about continuing the show.”
  • “Bewitched.” She and Kenya Barris decided that “the script wasn’t quite there.”
  • “Modern Family.” The show is returning for its 11th and final season.
  • “Designing Women.” When asked about the possible reboot, she said the show is “still in the mix” of pilot season.

More TV

  • THE BLACKLIST -- "Katarina Rostova (#3)"

    ‘The Blacklist’ Bosses on Delivering the 'Really Intense Family Drama That We've Been Promising for Seven Years'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Katarina Rostova,” the midseason seventh season finale of “The Blacklist.” Since “The Blacklist” began it has been building towards a confrontation between Agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) and her biological mother, Katarina Rostova (Laila Robbins). That promised confrontation was front-and-center in the seventh season [...]

  • REEF BREAK - "Pilot" - When

    'Reef Break' Canceled After One Season at ABC

    “Reef Break” will not be back for a second season at ABC. The series debuted back in June on the broadcaster and aired 13 episodes, with the finale airing on Sept. 13. It starred Poppy Montgomery as Cat Chambers, Ray Stevenson as Jake Elliot, Desmond Chiam as Wyatt Cole, Melissa Bonne as Ana Dumont and [...]

  • Jeff Shell

    Jeff Shell: Who Is the NBCUniversal Heir Apparent?

    Analytical, decisive, loyal, fair, empowering. Those are just a few of the choice words industry insiders who have worked with incoming NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell — set to succeed current chief exec Steve Burke, as Variety exclusively reported — use to describe the longtime media exec.  On Universal’s North Hollywood lot, many insiders who work [...]

  • Reese Witherspoon Kerry Washington Little Fires

    TV News Roundup: Hulu Reveals 'Little Fires Everywhere' Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, Hulu announces a premiere date for “Little Fires Everywhere” and Variety exclusively obtains a first look at this year’s Christmas episode of “The Simpsons.” DATES “Little Fires Everywhere” will debut March 18, Hulu announced. Produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, Kerry Washington’s Simpson Street, and ABC Signature Studios, the show [...]

  • Watchmen Regina King Tim Blake Nelson

    How 'Watchmen' Pulled Off One of the Best TV Seasons of the Decade

    The first time Damon Lindelof realized that “Watchmen” — his adaptation/remix/continuation of the groundbreaking 1986 graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons — might actually be a hit was after the pilot debuted at New York Comic Con in October. In the following panel, the 46-year-old writer-producer could tell the audience was connecting with [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content