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ABC Studios

ABC Studios

ABC Studios, a DBA of Touchstone Television Productions, LLC,[1][2] is a 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 Productions, LLCABC Signature Studios, Inc.[[CITE|31|https://businessfilings.sos.ca.gov/frmDetail.asp?CorpID=03606279]]
ABC Studios logo.svg
Trade name
ABC Studios
Touchstone Television (1985-2007)
Limited liability company
IndustryTelevision production
FoundedMarch 21, 1985 (1985-03-21)
Burbank, California
Area served
Key people
  • Jonnie Davis (President)
  • Keli Lee (Managing director, ABC Studios International)
  • Josh Sussman (EVP, Business Affairs)
ParentDisney Television Studios
(Walt Disney Television)
Websiteabcstudios.go.com [60]
Trade name
ABC Signature
IndustryFilmed entertainment
FoundedOctober 2012 (2012-10)[18]
Key people
Tracy Underwood[18]
Production output
Cable show programs[18]
ParentABC Studios
(Disney Television Studios)
Websiteabcstudios.go.com [61]


Touchstone Television

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.[3] 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.[4]

On April 18, 1989, Walt Disney Television and Touchstone Television were grouped together under Garth Ancier, president of network television for Walt Disney Studios.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9] On November 1, 1997, David Neuman assumed the presidency of Touchstone TV while retaining his post as president of Walt Disney Network Television.[10] 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.[11] By June 1999, Neuman left to become Digital Entertainment Network.[12]

In 2000, Touchstone created two departments for comedy in September, and a department for drama in December.[13] 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.[14]

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.[1][3]

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.[15][16] In January 2010, Disney-ABC Television Group announced it was cutting 5% of its workforce.[17] In October 2012, ABC Studios formed its Signature unit to sell to outside networks.[18]

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.[19] In April 2017, the international unit greenlit its first co-production Harrow Australia series.[20] Lee signed Hoodlum Entertainment, Harrow co-production company, to a first look deal by February 2018.[21] With ABC picking up the international unit's Reef Break in August 2018, ABC Studios was added as a co-producer.[22]

In August 2017, Ryan Seacrest Productions left CBS at the end of their deal to move over to ABC Studios.[23] 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.[24] With the acquisition of 21st Century Fox closed on March 20, 2019, ABC Studios became a subsidiary of Disney Television Studios.[25] 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 of ABC studios and executive vice president of business affairs respectively.[26] It was also announced that Amy Hartwick, the studio's head of comedy, had exited.[27]

List of programs produced by Touchstone Television/ABC Studios

Currently produced

The Amazing Race2001–presentCBSJerry Bruckheimer Television and CBS Television Studiosas Touchstone Television until 2007
Jimmy Kimmel Live!2003–presentABCJackhole Productionsas Touchstone Television until 2007
Grey's Anatomy2005–presentABCThe Mark Gordon Company and Shondaland Productions (2005–present) (season 2–present)as Touchstone Television until 2007
Criminal Minds2005–presentCBSThe Mark Gordon Company and CBS TV Studiosas Touchstone Television until 2007
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.2013–presentABCMutant Enemy Productions and Marvel Television
Black-ish2014–presentABCKhalabo Ink Society, Principato-Young Entertainment, Cinema Gypsy Productions and Artists First
How to Get Away with Murder2014–presentABCNowalk Entertainment and Shondaland
American Housewife2016–presentABCEight Sisters, Inc., Wiener & Schwartz Productions and Kapital Entertainment
The Good Doctor2017–presentABC3AD Productions, EnterMedia Content, Shore Z Productions and Sony Pictures Television
Station 192018–presentABCShondaland
Single Parents2018–presentABCElizabeth Meriwether Pictures, JJ Philbin Productions and 20th Century Fox Television
A Million Little Things2018–presentABCNext Thing You Know Productions, Fee-Fi-Fo Films and Kapital Entertainment
The Rookie2018–presentABCPerfectman Pictures and Entertainment One Television
Schooled2019–presentABCSony Pictures TV and Happy Madison Productions
Bless This Mess2019–presentABCElizabeth Meriwether Pictures, Lake Bell Prod. and 20th Century Fox TV
Grand Hotel2019–presentABCUnbeliEVABLE Entertainment
Mixed-ish2019–presentABCKhalabo Ink Society, Cinema Gypsy Productions and Artists First
Emergence2019–presentABCFazekas & Butters
Stumptown2019–presentABCJason Richman Entertainment and The District

Future productions

The Baker & the BeautyABCTBAKeshet International and Universal Television[28]
For LifeSony Pictures Television, G-Unit Film & Television and Doug Robinson Productions
United We FallJuban Productions, Exhibit A, and Sony Pictures Television

Former productions

Alternative Division


TitleYearNetworkCo-production companyNotes
Best Bite EverTBAABC[24]
Ink & PaintDisney+Sertner Productions

ABC Studios International

TitleYear(s)Service(s)Co-production company(ies)Notes
Harrow2018–presentABC (AU), Alibi (UK), Hulu (US)[29]Hoodlum Entertainment, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Screen Queensland[20]
Reef Break2019–ABC (US), M6 (FR)ABC Studios[22]
The Gloaming2019–StanSweet Potato Films, 2 Jons, Mushroom Pictures[30]

ABC Signature

ABC Signature Studios, Inc. (alternatively Signature, or ABC Signature) is the boutique cable and streaming production subsidiary of ABC Studios.

Signature history

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.[18]

Signature developed Mistresses, which was included in ABC's summer schedule and renewed for another season.[18] Signature was incorporated on September 23, 2013.[31] 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.[18] Corporate sibling Freeform picked up Rated P For Parenthood for development as its first program from Signature in June 2014.[32]

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.[33] 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.[34] Signature signed SMILF producer Frankie Shaw to a two-year overall deal in July 2018.[35] In March 2019, the deal was suspended.[36]

In April 2016, Freeform greenlit Cloak & Dagger with a straight-to-series order as Marvel Television's first co-production with Signature.[37] Another co-production with Marvel Television was greenlit in August 2016, with Runaways confirmed for the Hulu streaming service.[38] Signature put in development a live action Mighty Ducks series in January 2018 that is likely to end up being a show on Disney+.[39]

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.[40]

Signature productions


Runaways2017–presentHuluco-production with Fake Empire Productions and Marvel Television[38]
Grown-ish2018–present[41]Freeformco-production with Khalabo Ink Society, Principato-Young Entertainment and Cinema Gypsy Productions
Cloak & Dagger2018–presentco-production with Wandering Rocks Productions and Marvel Television[37]


TitleYearNetworkco-production withNotes
Godfather of Harlem2019EpixSignificant Productions[42]
DollfaceHuluLuckyChap Entertainment and Clubhouse Pictures[43]
Ghost Rider2020Marvel Television[44]
New WarriorsTBATBAoriginally set to air on Freeform[45][46]
Little Fires EverywhereHuluHello Sunshine and Simpson Street[47]
The Mighty DucksDisney+Brillstein Entertainment[49]
High FidelityHuluMidnight Radio10-episode order originally to stream on Disney+[50][51]
The RainmakerHulu and Maniac Productionsdevelopment stage; based on John Grisham's books[40]
Rogue Lawyer


TitleYearNetworkco-production withNotes
Mistresses2013–16ABCGood Talk Productions, Bob Sertner Productions, Ecosse Films and Tsiporah Productions[18]
Benched2014USAThe Mark Gordon Company[18]
Blood & Oil2015ABCFlame Ventures[52]
Confirmation2016HBOGroundswell Productions and HBO Filmstelevision film[53]
Dead of Summer2016FreeformKitsis-Horowitz Productions[54]
Guerrilla2017Sky Atlantic/ShowtimeGreen Door Pictures, Fifty Fathoms and Stearns Castle Entertainmentminiseries[55]
SMILF2017–19ShowtimeShowtime Networks, Supahsmart Productions, Quantity Entertainment and Groundswell Productions
All About the Washingtons2018NetflixSimmons Lehman Productions and Amblin Television[56][57]


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