Updated: ABC Reups Modern Family; McPherson Discusses Lost Finale

ABC kicked off its TCA day with a panel on Lost featuring Emilie de Ravin (Claire), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin), Josh Holloway (Sawyer), Evangeline Lilly (Kate), Terry O’Quinn (Locke), Michael Emerson (Ben), Jorge Garcia (Hurley), co-creator/executive producer Damon Lindelof and executive producer Carlton Cuse. 

For anyone hoping for a spinoff or a potential continuation of Lost on the big screen, unfortunately that will not happen. But in addition to the return of Emilie de Ravin in this final sixth season, both Harold Perrineau (Michael) and Cynthia Watros (Libby) will also be back. 

There are seven more episodes left to be filmed, and no one is talking about how the Emmy-winning drama will conclude.  
ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson began the executive session by announcing second-season renewals for Wednesday comedies Modern Family, The Middle and Cougar Town.
“It feels like we now have a foothold in comedy, and we intend to grow that,” said McPherson. “I hear more anecdotal stuff about people watching as a family through the night, just really enjoying that.”
Moving forward, the network will continue to remain aggressive in both the scripted and nonscripted departments, with an emphasis on programming of a family driven nature and serialized dramas.  
“When we have been derivative and played it safe, I think we fail. A lot of times ambitious dramas can be serialized. We certainly believe that that’s a part of our landscape. We would certainly love some procedurals in our brand that repeat,” said McPherson. “Castle has been a great one for us. It’s our highest-performing repeat show. So we are going to look for a mix, but I think we are going to continue to be ambitious. We are going to continue to try to break new ground and take chances.”

On the subject on NBC, and its current woes, McPherson said the only thing “I’ll say is that I guess it was mentioned in NBC’s press tour; Jeff Gaspin said that we were down at 10 o’clock.  We’re actually up 8 [percent] to 10 percent.  We think it’s an advantage.”

Added McPherson: “I think what is great about it, the situation that’s transpired, is it really has put the emphasis back on great creative and that scripted shows are really a part of that landscape. It’s what people expect in those time periods. I think, for the creative community, it will open up some more time periods, which was really the most tragic thing about it. So from that standpoint, I think we’re happy about the way things have gone down. Seeing a great network tumble is not something that we rejoice.”
In other ABC news, Dancing With the Stars will open its new season with a two-hour installment on Monday, March 22 (and fewer still unconfirmed celebrity contestants than this past fall). The second book in the Castle franchise, which is not titled yet, will be released on September 2010 (which, no doubt, bodes well for a third season Castle renewal). 

Also, The Bachelor Pad, a spinoff of long-running The Bachelor, will air this summer. 

Upcoming Alyssa Milano sitcom Romantically Challenged, which focuses on a guy who finds himself caught in the middle of a battle of wills between his new girlfriend and his needy best friend, is being considered for the vacant Wednesday 8 p.m. anchor spot. 

And the network will introduce a new non-scripted series, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, on Friday, March 26 at 9 p.m. In the series, chef, TV personality and best-selling author Jamie Oliver will head to Huntington, West Virginia to start a cooking initiative. 

Related: ABC’s McPherson Discusses the Final Season of Lost