If there was any doubt that ABC was eager to pick up Joss Whedon's "S.H.I.E.L.D." pilot, comments from network executives appear to put that to rest.
"We haven't yet seen the pilot. We fast-tracked that one before the others; we'll get to see it a lot earlier than the others," ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee said Thursday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. "We're very hopeful that's going to go forward to series. We'll build our marketing campaign early for it. ... By the way, the script's great. I don't want to jinx it ... but I'm very excited about it."
Lee expressed excitement about the pilot and Whedon's "passionate" involvement in writing and directing of the pilot. "He's very engaged with the series if we go to series. He's already working on scripts," Lee says. "We shot it in Los Angeles to make sure he's free to work across his feature life and television life. But I love to see Joss, who of course has made many great television shows in his day, enjoying television as much as movies."
The biggest potential roadblock, Lee says, would be successfully launching a superhero-themed series on a broadcast network, something that has been tried and has failed many times before. "I think you would have said exactly the same thing about fairy tales," Lee says. "I think it's our job to create a television series that delivers every week, to make it fit on ABC and to market it well. We've done that with fairy tales -- let's see if we can do it with superheroes."
Coming off the heels of the wildly successful "Avengers" film, the only way I could see ABC passing on "S.H.I.E.L.D." would be rooted in budget. Of course, Whedon has successfully worked within those constraints before, so it seems all but a sure thing that Agent Coulson and company will get the proper series treatment.