17 Network Chiefs Predict Their Hits, Reveal Guilty Pleasures, and Admit Which Rival Show They’d Steal

Time now for this fall’s short con – TV network executives, who never seem able to predict their own job futures let alone anything else, are at it again, looking into their glazed over crystal balls to tell us all about how next season’s going to go.

And we, of course, are falling for it. Because…we’re fans, don’tcha know?

by Michael Schneider

Many of TV’s top execs aren’t just suits — they’re also fans. And although they have to spend a big chunk of their day reading scripts, watching dailies and giving notes on their own shows, they’re also consuming a lot of what the competition has to offer. It’s not easy, but when IndieWire asked TV’s top bosses to list how they watch TV at home, they all subscribed to everything: Cable or satellite with the works, plus the major streaming services. Several of them even copped to using the Apple TV device to watch their programming, which is sure to make the folks in Cupertino happy.

As an annual fall ritual, IndieWire once again asked execs for picks on which of their new shows might surprise, as well as what their recent binge or guilty pleasure was, and what show they’d like to steal from other networks. Among the series that the people who make your favorite TV shows watch themselves: BBC America’s “Killing Eve,” and HBO’s “Succession” and “Barry.” IndieWire also asked what questions the execs are asked the most, and what’s keeping them up at night as the business changes at a rapid pace. Here’s the latest insight into what TV’s top executives are thinking, and what’s concerning them most.

Channing Dungey, ABC entertainment president

What will be your network’s next sleeper hit? I don’t think there has been as much buzz as of yet for “The Kids Are Alright.” So if you’re asking me about the sleeper, I think that could be the one. Tim Doyle is telling the story of his own crazy family and it feels real and heartwarming and emotional, in a way that reminds me of a lot of comedies that I grew up watching. It’s going to be a great co-viewing opportunity for families.

Name one of your recent TV guilty pleasures. “Succession.” That was really good. I thought the performances were great, the cast was incredible. It’s also one of those shows where every moment there’s an “OMG, I can’t believe this is happening!” moment. Which is fun, and it was something my husband and I watched together.

What show would you love to steal from a rival? I have said for a while that it’s “This Is Us,” and I’m still a fan of “This Is Us,” so I’d probably go with that. I’m hoping “A Million Little Things” is going to scratch that itch for our audience.

What’s the question you’re asked the most? It’s a toss-up between anything that has the word “Roseanne” in it, and what I think about the pending merger and acquisition [between Disney and Fox’s production entities].

What keeps you up at night? I’ve talked before about ratings measurements, which are endlessly frustrating for me. But I think it’s a talent question too. It’s about talent retention in an age of extreme competition.

What do you subscribe to at home? We have Spectrum and an Apple TV, which is how I watch Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. I’ve got everything. In my job you have to have everything, because I don’t want to hear about a show that you suddenly can’t access. But I would have Amazon anyway because I’m a mom and I need diapers to come via Amazon Prime….

Read it all at IndieWire

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