‘Once Upon a Time’ Creators Explain the “Next Chapter” to Come in Season 7

The sixth season of ABC’s Once Upon a Time has come to a close and with it the stories of the entire Charming family — at least, this version of them.

After defeating the Black Fairy (Jaime Murray) and rejoicing in their happy endings (which were happy beginnings all along), the book finally closed on Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) and her fairy tale.

Leading into Sunday’s finale, stars Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Jared Gilmore and Morrison announced their departure from the show, begging the question of how the story will continue without any of its main heroes. As expected, the Disney-inspired fairy tale drama’s big time jump at the end of the two-part finale provided the answer. The story now seems as if it will start over from scratch, this time with Henry (The Walking Dead‘s Andrew J. West, a new series regular) as the adult whose long-lost daughter Lucy (fellow new regular Alison Fernandez) shows up on his doorstep to prompt him into saving his family.

The Hollywood Reporter turned to series creators/showrunners Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis to go inside the decision to overhaul the series, what it means for old characters and why fans should continue to tune in for season seven of Once.

Are you approaching the story of adult Henry as a total reboot of the original Once Upon a Timepremise?

Kitsis: Kind of, yeah!

Horowitz: I hesitate to use the word “reboot.” We’re more thinking about it as a hybrid of a lot of things. We’re paying homage to the original premise, but there are certain characters who are returning and some who are not. It’s a combination of a lot of things, but what we’re trying to do is go in a new direction but stay true to the spirit of what the show has always been.

Will you be recasting any other characters as adults?

Kitsis: Potentially, yes. Not right away. That’s the biggest one.

Horowitz: We want to keep under wraps how we get to Henry grown up and what that means for Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) and Rumple (Robert Carlyle), who are returning regulars. There’s stuff that we’re excited to unveil, but it’s not about recasting so much as we’re hoping to open up the universe more.

How do you plan to tell stories about Regina, Rumple and Hook without some very important family members?

Kitsis: The answer to that question will be answered next year. We’d rather show it than tell it.

Henry’s got a daughter. Will we be meeting her mother?

Kitsis: Yes, next year. [Lucy’s] mother and Henry will be a very epic love story in the tradition of Once Upon a Time, just like his grandparents. We can’t forget, he’s the grandchild of Prince Charming, which technically makes him Prince Charming Jr.

Horowitz: Junior junior. Prince Charming III.

How many new roles are you looking to create with six series regulars leaving?

Horowitz: I don’t think we want to confirm exactly right now, but we will say there will be more regulars, and they’ll be more recurring characters as well, and we’ll probably make some announcements as the summer progresses.

Besides Jennifer Morrison, who will return for one episode and who has promised to pop back in? 

Kitsis: Everybody has said they’d be willing to come back. As our show is and has been for six years, we see people come back all the time. Rose McIver came back and she is the lead of her own show [The CW’s iZombie, which was also renewed], so we hope to be seeing everybody.

Horowitz: While we tried to really wrap up a lot of their stories and give a nice send off to these characters we’ve loved being with for six years, they’re still part of the universe, so hopefully we’ll be seeing different people at different times.

Fans, as would be expected with six regulars leaving, are upset. How do you get them to come back for season seven?

Kitsis: At a certain point after six seasons, some people’s journeys needed to have an endpoint. We believe that what we are going forward and doing is what people love about the show, which is a show about hope and fairytale characters trying to find themselves in the real world. We’re going to return to more storytelling like that, and if they love the original Once, then hopefully they will enjoy the next chapter and the new universes and adult Henry.

Horowitz: We’ve been so blessed to have such an incredibly passionate fan base that feel so strongly about all these characters that we totally hear and feel the emotion at hearing that some of these characters won’t be there every week. But some will and then there’s always chances of seeing some again. But really, I think as Eddy said, we’re trying to go on in the spirit of what we started in season one and telling those kind of stories again with a new canvas that’s really exciting to us as storytellers. We really hope that the audience will feel the same way as they see these new stories that we start to tell.

Kitsis: Part of it really is, creatively, wanting to end one chapter and begin a new one and get back to that fresh, original idea that resonates.

Once did hit a string of series lows in season six. How do you hope to bring new viewers back and broaden the show to those who haven’t tuned in before?

Kitsis: You can’t really control ratings. Every year ratings go down and everyone reacts like it’s the first time. I think that though ratings are down, what’s interesting is the fan base continues to be up, so we’ll still trend and all those things. That being said, we feel it’s a great way next year for new viewers to come in and not be burdened with knowing the six years of mythology. You can come in fresh next year, and I think if you like fairytales and you like magic, you should check it out.

Horowitz: The live, next day ratings — we all know they’re becoming more archaic … We’ve been so encouraged that regardless of what numbers are saying, we have an incredible fan base that’s been so passionate all these years. To us, it just feels like a miracle that it’s season seven and we’re working on it. We’re so grateful to the fans who have stuck with us, so that we’re here.

From The Hollywood Reporter

Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin and Jared Gilmore also not Returning to ‘Once Upon a Time’

Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, and Jared Gilmore will not return to Once Upon a Time after season 6, EW has learned.

The news comes following the previously announced exits of Jennifer Morrison and Rebecca Mader. Once Upon a Time, which was officially renewed for season 7 on Thursday, will now be centered on Regina (Lana Parrilla), Rumple (Robert Carlyle), and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue).

Goodwin, Dallas, and Gilmore, who are original cast members from the pilot, play Snow White, Prince Charming, and Henry Mills, respectively. Snow and Charming are the parents of Emma (Morrison), while Henry is Emma and Regina’s (Parrilla) son. De Ravin, meanwhile, joined the show later in season 1 as the iconic Beauty and the Beast heroine Belle.

Executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis crafted a detailed statement about the many exits and the possibility they will return:

“Words can’t do justice to what Ginny, Josh, Emilie, Rebecca and Jared brought to Once Upon a Time… but we’ll try… never have we had the privilege of working with a more talented group of collaborators.  Each brought unique talent, incredible intelligence, and their own individual bit of magic as they gave life to these iconic characters.

Ginny reinvented Snow White for a modern audience – there was no way she would be stuck cleaning up after dwarfs, she created an iconic empowered heroine for the 21st century.

Josh mined the depths of Prince Charming – a character who in myth was just a ‘type’ but in his superlative interpretation became a complex man fighting for love and family.  

Emilie took the character of Belle to a deep and soulful place, bringing great intelligence and warmth to the character, making her fiercely independent, strong willed but also an eternal optimist who saw only the best in all those she encountered.

Rebecca took us on a broomstick roller coaster ride as she re-invented the Wicked Witch of the West by finding the pain beneath the green. She made the character soar to incredible heights while always keeping her grounded and relatable.

And Jared literally grew up before the eyes of millions, from a child actor with enormous innate talent to a young man whose abilities continue to astound as he created a character who truly, as we say on the show, has the heart of the truest believer.

We can’t thank them enough for the hard work, dedication, and passion they delivered day in and day out. Without them there would be no Once Upon a Time.

As Once continues, this group will always be the beating heart of the show. And even though we won’t be with them every week, in a show about magic and hope, we fervently believe it won’t be the last we see of them.

Earlier this year, ABC chief Channing Dungey seemed to indicate there could be possible exits should the show be renewed, noting that the OUAT bosses were looking at the potential seventh season as a springboard in a new direction, “which doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re not bringing cast back. It’s just: How do you kind of hit the reset button in a way that gives you an opportunity to expand the stories that we’re telling?” Dungey said.

OUAT’s season finale, which will air Sunday, is slated to provide a sense of closure, while also launching a new chapter for season 7. That new phase will include the introduction of characters played by The Walking Dead alum Andrew J. West and Jane the Virgin star Alison Fernandez, who will both appear in the season 6 finale, with the potential for more.

However, Horowitz and Kitsis have previously noted that season 7 will not go through a complete overhaul. “We’re not designing this in a way where you say goodbye to everyone and never see them again,” Horowitz said. “We’ve been telling a story for six years now for these characters and now we’re trying to complete that story, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have other stories.”

When EW hit the set of the ABC fairy tale drama earlier this year, both Dallas and Goodwin seemed optimistic that the show could continue on even with a new set of characters. “Because things are always so new on our show, there would have to be a radical change in order to infuse it with new direction, and so I’m all for it,” Goodwin said. “I feel like these guys are the epitome of creativity, and if anybody can continue a show that’s been this inventive, and new, and has always gone in a million directions at once in the most entertaining way, I think its Eddy and Adam, and I’m ecstatic to see what happens.”

Dallas concurred: “The great thing about Eddy and Adam, and the great thing about the show and the characters that they’ve created is that they’re always reinventing themselves,” he said. “I think that’s only right with Once Upon a Time that at the end of this season, if it indeed comes back, that it has a completely different reboot, and it goes in a different direction. It’s fitting that Once Upon a Time changes as well as its characters.”

Even so, both seemed hopeful it’s not the last we’d see of Snow and Charming. “I hope there’s always some Snow story to tell,” Goodwin said at the time. “I have discussed with the guys that in whatever capacity Snow should appear to do right by the story then I will definitely contribute for sure.”

Once Upon a Time‘s two-hour finale airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

From Entertainment Weekly

Jennifer Morrison Not Returning to Once Upon a Time

ABC’s Once Upon a Time is closing the book on one of its original stars.

In a surprising move, leading lady Jennifer Morrison (Emma) has decided to exit the fairy tale drama following the end of its current sixth season, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Should there be a seventh season of the bubble drama, which sources say is highly likely, Morrison could return for one, maybe two, episodes.

“The past six years of collaborating with Jennifer as Emma Swan have been truly magical. Watching her breathe life into Emma, she accomplished more than we could have dreamed possible — she gave life to a brand-new Disney Princess, filled with strength and intelligence and an incredible closet full of red leather jackets,” series creators/showrunners Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis said in a joint statement. “We’ll miss seeing her every day, but her imprint upon Once Upon a Time is indelible. She will always be a part of the show and its heart and soul. That said, just because Jennifer won’t be back every week doesn’t mean we won’t see our savior again.”

The decision comes as a surprise for die-hard fans of Disney-infused Once Upon a Time as Morrison — along with Lana Parrilla (Regina), Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold) and Colin O’Donoghue (Captain Hook) — were all said to be renegotiating new deals to return for a seventh season. The series, which remains on the bubble, is on the cusp of a major reboot, with a renewal leading to a big time jump in an effort to move the story forward. Other cast departures are expected to come as fellow leading lady Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) and Josh Dallas (Prince Charming) will likely follow Morrison out the door after this season. Goodwin and Dallas have said that they consider this season their final time with Once and neither was among those renegotiating a potential return earlier this year.

Morrison’s departure comes as the actress — who in June begins a co-starring role onstage opposite Matthew Perry in The End of Longing — had been vocal earlier this season about the potential to remain with the drama. “I have a really fierce loyalty to the show,” she said in January. “I am fiercely protective of the character.… I don’t have any interest in abandoning something that is such a special part of my life, but I also know I don’t have it in me to do it forever, so it’s more about a life decision, and I don’t even know how to make that life decision until I know what ABC even wants.”

“As I reached the end of my six-year contract on Once Upon a Time, I was faced with a significant decision. ABC, Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz very generously invited me to continue as a series regular. After very careful consideration, I have decided that creatively and personally, it is time for me to move on,” Morrison said in a statement. “Emma Swan is one my favorite characters that I have ever played. My six years on Once Upon a Time has changed my life in the most beautiful ways. I am absolutely blown away by the passion and commitment of the Oncer fans. I am so honored to have been a central part of such a special show. I will be forever grateful to Adam, Eddy, and ABC for giving me the gift of playing Emma Swan. As I move on to other creative endeavors, I will continue to attend the fan conventions whenever my professional schedule allows. I always look forward meeting the fans. If ABC does in fact order a season seven, I have agreed to appear in one episode, and I will most certainly continue to watch Once Upon a Time. The creativity of the showrunners has always inspired me, and I cannot wait to see the ways that they continue to develop and reinvent the show.”
Morrison’s exit comes a day after the penultimate episode of season six seemingly wrapped up Emma’s story. Sunday’s installment saw Morrison’s Emma finally walk down the aisle and marry Hook (O’Donoghue) — only to be hit by a curse and transported to places unknown.

“The way we look at it is, these are stories for these characters, and there are set endpoints to different stories,” Horowitz recently told reporters, including THR, of what’s to come in the May 14 season finale. “But that doesn’t mean there aren’t new stories for different characters. I think that by the end of the season finale, a lot of what we’ve been doing for the last six years is wrapped up — we hope in a very satisfying way — and then we move forward in a way that at the end of it, hopefully you’ll see what we’re hoping to do in season seven.”

Added Kitsis: “We understand that this could be the last year. We feel like we’ve completed this story, and the next chapter of Once Upon a Time will be completely different…. Creatively, it’s time to end a few stories.”

Once Upon a Time is averaging a 1.0 in the key adults 18-49 demographic and 3.3 total viewers during its sixth season. Those returns grow 60 and 42 percent, respectively, with seven days of DVR. The fan-favorite drama remains an important extension of the Disney brand, though its numbers have fallen off considerably this season.

Should ABC renew it, the series would heavily feature The Walking Dead alum Andrew J. West and Jane the Virgin‘s Alison Fernandez — who both make their debut in the season-six finale. West is rumored to play an older version of Jared Gilmore’s Henry.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear which other series regulars will remain for a potential seventh season. The two-hour Once Upon a Time season-six finale airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on ABC.

From The Hollywood Reporter

Tune into ABC March 9 for an inside look at Pandora – The World of Avatar

Four ABC shows will offer sneak peeks into the new land coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

As “The View” broadcasts from Disney’s Animal Kingdom this week, several other ABC shows will be joining forces on Thursday, March 9, for a look into the highly-anticipated Pandora – The World of Avatar.

The day of sneak peeks kicks off with “Good Morning America,” where viewers are introduced to Pandora – The World of Avatar including a first look at the thrilling attraction, Avatar Flight of Passage. After that, viewers can tune in to “The View,” where James Cameron will take Whoopi Goldberg into the immersive new land, including a look at the Na’vi River Journey. Rounding out the daytime segments, the hosts of “The Chew,” true to their culinary stylings, will introduce viewers to the Lumpia, a unique and delicious snack found on Pandora.

Later that night “Nightline” will offer an in-depth look at Pandora – The World of Avatar in a unique segment inspired by the stories of the land.

Pandora – The World of Avatar opens May 27, 2017.

Disney Shakes Up Christmas Parade Special…Filming to Begin in Early November

Disney will be shaking up its traditional Christmas Day parade this year.  It appears that instead of a single show Disney will be going with a series of specials airing throughout November and December.

Filming will take place from November 9th through the 13th at all four Walt Disney World theme parks. The parade itself will be filmed exclusively at Disneyland, with Disney World hosting stage show performances.

Guests will be able to view the filming, which will take place during regular park hours, but there will not be tickets made available for guests to be in the audience.

Look for the specials to air on both ABC and Disney Channel throughout November and December.

ABC Announces Dancing with the Stars Cast for Season 23

Get ready to put on your dancing shoes! ABC’s Dancing with the Stars returns September 12 at 8 p.m. ET with the return of some of your favorite professional dancers and an all-new superstar celebrity cast. Read on to figure out who you’ll be rooting for this season.

Laurie Hernandez and Valentin Chmerkovskiy—Gymnast Laurie Hernandez recently went for the gold during the 2016 Olympic Games and now she’s going for the silver—the silver mirror ball trophy, that is! We wonder if this member of the Final Five will make it to the Dancing with the Stars finals?

Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke—Laurie’s not the only Olympian in this year’s cast! Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte will trade the swimming pool for the samba on the upcoming season.

DWTS Johnson:Arnold

Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay Arnold—The former wide receiver is the next pro football player to take the Dancing with the Stars stage.

DWTS Austin:Johnson

Jake T. Austin and Jenna Johnson—We were bewitched by Jake T. Austin on Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place, and we’re sure The Fosters star will be just as magical on the dance floor.

James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess—Will the Canadian race car driver make it to the finish line?

DWTS - Rose:Chmerkovskiy

Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy—Will the model and black-ish guest star be the belle of the ballroom?

Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko—The actress and singer is about to become a triple threat on the upcoming season.

DWTS Edmonds:Holker

Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Allison Holker—The musician, singer-songwriter, and record producer will become a song AND dance man on Dancing with the Stars.

DWTS Henner:Hough

Marilu Henner and Derek Hough—After starring in more than thirty films, six Broadway shows, and two classic sitcoms, actress Marilu Henner is ready to take on her next starring role—on the dance floor.

DWTS McCormick:Chigvintsev

Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev—This season of Dancing with the Stars will be all about “Maureen, Maureen, Maureen” when The Brady Bunch star takes the stage.

Vanilla Ice (Robert Van Winkle) and Witney Carson—Will the rapper turned real estate expert glide his way to the top?

DWTS Perry:Slater

Rick Perry and Emma Slater—The former Texas governor is hoping to be the “lone star” left on the dance floor.

DWTS Jole:Farber

Terra Jolé and Sasha Farber—There’s no rest for the Little Women: LA star! Terra just welcomed her second child on August 1, but we have no doubt that this mom is ready to mamba!

The Muppets Cancelled by ABC

It’s time to stop the music.

It’s time to shut off the lights.

ABC is ending its grown-up reboot of The Muppets tonight.

The comedy series lasted one 16-episode season on the network after launching to tremendous buzz last fall.

The beloved franchise was given a modern-day, adult-themed makeover by producers Bob Kushell (Anger Management) and Bill Prady (The Big Bang Theory). The show also some criticism for trying to make the classic family characters more contemporary, including focusing on their love lives. Midway through the season run, falling ratings prompted ABC to make a major change behind the scenes, replacing showrunner Kushell with Kristin Newman (Galavant), who pledged to bring “joy” to the series. Yet the changes didn’t alter the show’s fate.

During its run, The Muppets averaged 5.3 million viewers and a 1.9 rating among adults 18–49, including DVR.

The day has seen a slew of high-profile cancellations – a couple quite surprising – over at ABC. The network axed long-running procedural Castle, Marvel’s Captain America spin-off Agent Carter, musical drama Nashville, musical comedy Galavant, and freshman drama The Family.

From Entertainment Weekly

ABC Cancels ‘Agent Carter’

It’s the end of the road for TV’s Peggy Carter.

ABC has canceled Marvel drama Agent Carter after two seasons, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The second of Marvel’s ABC dramas, while a critical favorite, was never a ratings breakthrough. The Hayley Atwell starrer earned a surprise second season renewal and returned as a “gap” show under former ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee.

Despite heaps of praise from critics, Carter finished its limited run with a 1.4 rating among adults under 50 and 4.3 million total viewers with DVR — both a far cry from Agents of SHIELD. Compounding that, ABC is spinning off popular Agents of SHIELD favorites Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood for Marvel’s Most Wanted, a more natural extension of the already renewed flagship series.

For her part, Atwell already booked the lead (in first position) in buzzy ABC procedural Convictionwhich has been looking good for a series order as Carter fans are left to ponder that cliffhanger ending.

From The Hollywood Reporter

ABC’s ‘The Chew’ to Broadcast from Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

The Chew

We all have a favorite host from ABC’s “The Chew” – superstars Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall and Daphne Oz each have a special way of sharing their culinary know-how on the Emmy-Award-winning lifestyle series. And for the first time in the show’s history, these dynamic hosts are leaving the Manhattan studio to tape shows October 7, 8, and 9 from the 20th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Epcot. The five festival episodes will air October 12-16.

Shows will be taped before a live audience (visit thechew.com for information on how to obtain tickets), and we’re sure the hosts will be all over Walt Disney World Resort discovering remarkable dining finds, getting a taste of innovative, fun and healthful eats – the best the vacation kingdom has to offer.

Along with the taping of the show, “The Chew” will be featured in two marketplaces throughout the festival’s 53-day celebration from September 25-November 16, helping celebrate 20 delicious years. For the first time in the festival’s history, marketplaces will expand into Future World in the new Next Eats festival area with three delicious dishes from “The Chew” in their Sustainable Chew Marketplace: Savory Pork Spareribs with Cheesy Mascarpone Grits; Ricotta & Zucchini Ravioli with Tomato Sauce, and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Figs and Pistachio Brittle. (Herbs and veggies from The Land pavilion will flavor the marketplace dishes when harvested.) The eco-home-inspired marketplace will offer a chance for guests to learn more about how food is grown and the importance of sustainability.

Also in Next Eats, Disney chefs are collaborating with “The Chew” for the Chew Lab, a cutting-edge marketplace inspired by food-science labs and the hottest culinary tech trends.

“The Chew” airs on ABC Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. EST, noon CST. For updates on the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, visit epcotfoodfestival.com throughout the summer.

ABC to Broadcast Special Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary Event In February 2016

Disneyland Diamond Celebration

ABC is preparing to share the magic of Disneyland’s 60th anniversary on its network for the entire nation to see!

The network will air a Disneyland 60th Anniversary special in February, live from the Anaheim theme park.

ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee made the announcement during the network’s upfront presentation. Disneyland has been a frequent setting for ABC shows including Modern Family.