Marvel TV head honcho Jeph Loeb has revealed that despite numerous projects being on other broadcasting stations and platforms, ABC remains to be the main network for their shows. The small screen division of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a very busy last several weeks. Their first crossover miniseries, The Defenders, was released two weeks ago - and just over the weekend, their newest venture, Inhumans, started rolling out in IMAX theaters. But before all of these projects were even announced, Marvel TV kicked-off with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC - an offshoot from the company's movie division spearheaded by Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, who is still the main link between the small screen and big screen corners of the MCU.
Over the years, Marvel TV has continued to grow within. Aside from ABC, there is the Netflix branch that houses Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist and the upcoming The Punisher, while Hulu has Marvel’s Runaways and Freeform has both Cloak and Dagger and New Warriors in the works. This variation in platforms has caused some to wonder if Marvel TV is slowly leaving its partnership with ABC behind or if it is nothing more than a logical strategy to promote their offerings differently. Loeb addresses this concern by sharing that while they may continue to forge collaborations with other networks or distribution partners, ABC is still Marvel TV's base network.
Speaking to CBR while doing the promo rounds for Inhumans, Loeb squashed concerns about Marvel TV's working relationship with ABC, saying that they have more projects together in the pipeline:
“Absolutely. Obviously these aren’t things I can talk about. But look, as it is with every single one of the networks that we have gotten with that this is with, and whether it’s Fox or it’s FX or it’s Freeform, or it’s Hulu, or it’s Netflix, ABC is always going to be our mothership. It is a Disney-owned network. We are a Disney-owned corporation and we’re a good fit for each other.”
We speak a lot of the same language and the kinds of things that are important to them, which is people rising up again adversity; real emotion; a strong female character, but also a strong sense of family and questions of identity. All of those things are key to being a successful ABC show, but they’re also key to being a Marvel show. So in that way we’re going to go and see what happens along the way.”
So if Marvel TV and ABC are such a good fit, why does Marvel still collaborate with other companies like Netflix and Hulu? Leob explained that it is more about the type of the property and whether it suits the Disney-owned network's branding:
“I think people confuse the fact that we go to other networks as a sign that we’re not on ABC. The truth of the matter is that those shows weren’t appropriate for us to be on ABC. How do we know that? We talk to ABC and we talk about what is it that you’re looking for?”
Marvel TV's relationship with ABC has not been always smooth-sailing. Fans were disappointed when both Agent Cater was axed after two seasons and when the network unceremoniously pulled the plug on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spin-off, Most Wanted, shortly after it had finished filming its pilot episode.
That said, Marvel TV senior vice-president of original programming Karim Zreik has revealed that they are currently developing a Jessica Jones-esque show in ABC and are also actively trying to tap into the comedy genre, both of which are statements that gel with Loeb's comments here. This proves that while the content-producing group is exploring their options outside of their co-Disney owned company, that does not necessarily mean that Marvel TV will stop creating shows for the network in the future.