Touchstone Television Productions, LLC, d/b/a ABC Studios, is an American television production studio under the Disney Television Studios unit of Walt Disney Television (both ultimately owned by The Walt Disney Company). ABC Studios was established as the Touchstone Television banner in 1985 and given its current name on May 28, 2007.
|Touchstone Television (1985–2007)|
Limited liability company
|Founded||March 21, 1985|
|Parent||Disney Television Studios|
(Walt Disney Television)
|Subsidiaries||ABC Signature Studios|
ABC Studios International
The Touchstone Films banner was used for TV by then-new Disney CEO Michael Eisner in the 1984–1985 television season with the short lived western, Wildside. Touchstone was a banner of Disney Pictures which included at the time television production. In the next season, Disney's TV production unit produced a hit in The Golden Girls using the Touchstone Films brand.
On April 18, 1989, Walt Disney Television and Touchstone Television were grouped together under Garth Ancier, president of network television for Walt Disney Studios. With difficulty selling in the off-network syndicated market, Disney television executives decided in late September 1990 that Hull High, then on NBC, or a potential NBC mid-season replacement, Disney Action-Adventure Hour, would be its last hour long drama. High's pilot did cost the company $4.5 million which was considered very costly. In 1992, Touchstone moved into producing longer forms for TV, focusing on more adult fare with its first telefilm for CBS about Edna Buchanan, a Miami Herald crime reporter who would win a Pulitzer Prize.
On August 24, 1994, with Jeffrey Katzenberg's resignation, Richard Frank became head of Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications, a new group taking Touchstone and other TV units out of the Disney studios.
In April 1996, due to ongoing post-Disney-CC/ABC merger realignment and the retirement of its president, Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications' divisions were reassigned to other groups, with Touchstone Television transferred to The Walt Disney Studios. On November 1, 1997, David Neuman assumed the presidency of Touchstone TV while retaining his post as president of Walt Disney Network Television. In March 1998, Touchstone was placed under Buena Vista Television Productions, a newly formed group under chairman Lloyd Braun, along with Walt Disney Network Television. By June 1999, Neuman left to become Digital Entertainment Network.
In 2000, Touchstone created two departments for comedy in September, and a department for drama in December. While two of their pilots were in consideration to be picked up by ABC in April 2003, Tollin/Robbins Productions agreed to a two-year development deal with Touchstone Television, which included a two-year option, shares in profits and outside sales.
ABC Television Studio
In February 2007, Touchstone Television was renamed ABC Television Studios as part of Disney's push to drop secondary brands like Buena Vista for Disney, ABC and ESPN.
In June 2009, ABC Entertainment announced a new organization, effective immediately as ABC Entertainment Group, consolidating back office functions like business affairs, distribution and scheduling of ABC Studios and ABC Entertainment while retaining separate creative units. In January 2010, Disney-ABC Television Group announced it was cutting 5% of its workforce. In October 2012, ABC Studios formed its Signature unit to sell to outside networks.
In early 2016, ABC Studios International (also referred to as ABC International Studios) was started up with the appointment of Keli Lee as managing director, international content and talent and her move to London. The unit, announced at MIPCOM in October 2016, would allow more overseas local productions, leveraging fellow Disney Media Network expertise in distribution and production expertise for local co-production, international co-productions, IP library re-version and original formats acquisition and production. This would add to Disney-ABC's international productions in Latin America, where the company has 16 years of producing local content. In April 2017, the international unit greenlit its first co-production Harrow Australia series. Lee signed Hoodlum Entertainment, Harrow co-production company, to a first look deal by February 2018. With ABC picking up the international unit's Reef Break in August 2018, ABC Studios was added as a co-producer.
In August 2017, Ryan Seacrest Productions left CBS at the end of their deal to move over to ABC Studios. Following up its cable/streaming unit expansion, ABC Studios launched a new Alternative Division for the full range of unscripted work from documentary to game show to social experiment shows. The former executive vice president of development and production at Ryan Seacrest Productions and Universal TV Alternative Studios' former head, Fernando Hernandez was hired by the studio to head the division around January 2018. The division was announced in October 2018 with a small slate, a production executive Gareth Provan and an in-house development group, The Originals Group. The division is tapping existing production companies with deals at ABC Studios, Ryan Seacrest Productions, Larry Wilmore's Wilmore Films and Bob Sertner Productions, plus partnerships Hernandez has developed including with Mission Control Media, Parker Paige Media, INE Entertainment, Party Pit Productions.
Disney TV Studios subsidiary
With the acquisition of 21st Century Fox cloing on March 20, 2019, ABC Studios became a subsidiary of Disney Television Studios. In July 2019, Disney TV Studios announced a reorganization in executive leadership. Fox TV executives Jonnie Davis and Josh Sussman replaced Patrick Moran and Howard Davine as president and executive vice president of business affairs of ABC Studios respectively. It was also announced that Amy Hartwick, the studio's head of comedy, had exited. In September 2019, ABC Studios Alternative Division head Hernandez exited the post with ABC indicating that they would remain in the businesses.
ABC Studios International had Lucy Liu produced Unsung Heroes anthology series in development while launching an ABC Discover to find more British talent. In December 2019, an exodus of top international unit executives including Managing Director Keli Lee occurred, however no replacements have been named given a re-assessing of the unit is taking place.
Partial list of programs produced by Touchstone Television/ABC Studios
|The Amazing Race||2001–present||CBS||Jerry Bruckheimer Television and CBS Television Studios||as Touchstone Television until 2007|
|Jimmy Kimmel Live!||2003–present||ABC||Jackhole Productions||as Touchstone Television until 2007|
|Grey's Anatomy||2005–present||ABC||The Mark Gordon Company and Shondaland Productions (2005–present) (season 2–present)||as Touchstone Television until 2007|
|Criminal Minds||2005–present||CBS||The Mark Gordon Company and CBS TV Studios||as Touchstone Television until 2007|
|Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.||2013–present||ABC||Mutant Enemy Productions and Marvel Television|
|Black-ish||2014–present||ABC||Khalabo Ink Society, Principato-Young Entertainment, Cinema Gypsy Productions and Artists First|
|How to Get Away with Murder||2014–present||ABC||Nowalk Entertainment and Shondaland|
|American Housewife||2016–present||ABC||Eight Sisters, Inc., Wiener & Schwartz Productions and Kapital Entertainment|
|The Good Doctor||2017–present||ABC||3AD Productions, EnterMedia Content, Shore Z Productions and Sony Pictures Television|
|Single Parents||2018–present||ABC||Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures, JJ Philbin Productions and 20th Century Fox Television|
|A Million Little Things||2018–present||ABC||Next Thing You Know Productions, Fee-Fi-Fo Films and Kapital Entertainment|
|The Rookie||2018–present||ABC||Perfectman Pictures and Entertainment One Television|
|Schooled||2019–present||ABC||Sony Pictures TV and Happy Madison Productions|
|Bless This Mess||2019–present||ABC||Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures, Lake Bell Prod. and 20th Century Fox TV|
|Mixed-ish||2019–present||ABC||Khalabo Ink Society, Cinema Gypsy Productions and Artists First|
|Emergence||2019–present||ABC||Fazekas & Butters|
|Stumptown||2019–present||ABC||Jason Richman Entertainment and The District|
|The Baker & the Beauty||TBA||ABC||Keshet International and Universal Television|||
|For Life||Sony Pictures Television, G-Unit Film & Television and Doug Robinson Productions|
|United We Fall||Juban Productions, Exhibit A, and Sony Pictures Television|
|Best Bite Ever||TBA||ABC||The Originals Group|
|Ink & Paint||2019-2020 (year 1)||Disney+||Sertner Productions|
|Prop Culture|| formerly Iconic Art of the Movies|
|Pick of the Litter||TBA||KTF Films|||
ABC Studios International
|Harrow||2018–present||ABC (AU), Alibi (UK), Hulu (US)||Hoodlum Entertainment, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Screen Queensland|||
|Reef Break||2019–present||ABC (US), M6 (FR)||ABC Studios|||
|The Gloaming||2019–present||Stan||Sweet Potato Films, 2 Jons, Mushroom Pictures|||
|Untitled female perspectives of Shakespeare works||TBA||ABC (AU)||
||10 episodes; Disney Media Distribution is international distributor|
||female pioneers profile anthology series|
|Holly Throsby’s Goodwood novel adaptation||ABC (AU)||Endemol Shine Banks|||
|Cable and streaming programs|
(Disney Television Studios)
ABC Signature Studios, Inc. (alternatively Signature, or ABC Signature) is the boutique cable and streaming production subsidiary of ABC Studios.
ABC Studios was moving to sell to outside networks. As the studios had placed the former ABC comedy Cougar Town at TBS, and Devious Maids at Lifetime, Signature was started in October 2012 to continue the trend.
Signature developed Mistresses, which was included in ABC's summer schedule and renewed for another season. Signature was incorporated on September 23, 2013. In October 2013, the division placed its first outside project, Benched, for USA with a pilot order which finished shooting by December. Other projects were in the works with A&E, WE tv and TBS. In the works with ABC, Signature has a possible straight-to-series Stephen King story adaptation, Grand Central based on The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates. Corporate sibling Freeform picked up Rated P For Parenthood for development as its first program from Signature in June 2014.
In April 2015, Signature and ABC Studios agreed to a two-year, first-look with Black Label Media, started by Molly Smith, Trent Luckinbill and Thad Luckinbill three years ago as a financing and producing company. McG's Wonderland Sound & Vision signed a two-year overall production agreement with Signature, Freeform and ABC Studios in October 2015. This follows two productions from McG on Freeform/ABC Family. Signature signed SMILF producer Frankie Shaw to a two-year overall deal in July 2018. In March 2019, the deal was suspended.
In April 2016, Freeform greenlit Cloak & Dagger with a straight-to-series order as Marvel Television's first co-production with Signature. Another co-production with Marvel Television was greenlit in August 2016, with Runaways confirmed for the Hulu streaming service. Signature put in development a live action Mighty Ducks series in January 2018 that is likely to end up being a show on Disney+.
Signature is teaming with John Grisham, Hulu and Michael Seitzman's Maniac Production to create Grisham Universe set of TV series. The franchise would begin with two series, The Rainmaker and Rogue Lawyer, based on Grisham's books with potential to grow to additional series. Hulu had dropped out of the Grisham Universe by September 5, 2019 with the pair being shopped given other interested outlets.
|Grown-ish||2018–present||Freeform||co-production with Khalabo Ink Society, Principato-Young Entertainment and Cinema Gypsy Productions|
|Godfather of Harlem||2019–present||Epix||Significant Productions |
|Dollface||2019||Hulu||LuckyChap Entertainment and Clubhouse Pictures|||
|High Fidelity||2020||Hulu||Midnight Radio||10-episode order originally to stream on Disney+|
|Little Fires Everywhere||2020||Hulu||Hello Sunshine and Simpson Street|||
|The Mighty Ducks||TBA||Disney+||Brillstein Entertainment|||
|The Rainmaker||TBD||Maniac Productions||development stage; based on John Grisham's books; Hulu dropped out, show being shopped|
|Mistresses||2013–16||ABC||Good Talk Productions, Bob Sertner Productions, Ecosse Films and Tsiporah Productions|||
|Benched||2014||USA||The Mark Gordon Company|||
|Blood & Oil||2015||ABC||Flame Ventures|||
|Confirmation||2016||HBO||Groundswell Productions and HBO Films||television film|
|Dead of Summer||2016||Freeform||Kitsis-Horowitz Productions|||
|Guerrilla||2017||Sky Atlantic/Showtime||Green Door Pictures, Fifty Fathoms and Stearns Castle Entertainment||miniseries|
|SMILF||2017–19||Showtime||Showtime Networks, Supahsmart Productions, Quantity Entertainment and Groundswell Productions|
|Runaways||2017-19||Hulu||Marvel Television and Fake Empire Productions|
|Cloak & Dagger||2018–19||Freeform||Wandering Rocks Productions and Marvel Television|
|All About the Washingtons||2018||Netflix||Simmons Lehman Productions and Amblin Television|||
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