News from the Hollywood Reporter states that Disney is planning on making budget cutbacks to ABC Television Group. THR reports that the cutbacks could be as much as 10 percent across the board. While no one representing Disney would respond, this could mean staff cuts, restructuring, and change of programming lineups.
The channels that could be affected by this include the ABC Channel, ESPN and their group of channels, the Disney Channel itself, Disney XD, and Freeform.
Despite this, ABC Studios just signed on Ryan Seacrest, who you know has to cost a pretty penny, and the former Lost-showrunner Carlton Cuse. There's also that American Idol reboot with Katy Perry, who is coming with a 25-million price tag. It seems possible that the network is going to be jettisoning a lot of smaller projects in favor of fewer, larger programs that are "guaranteed" to make bank. This would be the "meat-and-potatoes" of television programming, if you will.
Despite the steadily declining viewership, American Idol will certainly bring in some money, even if it seems likely to never reach its heyday peak again. The show already had a fairly wide hatedom that grew in its latter seasons, and a reboot of the flagship of reality competition television shows seems like a one-way ticket to a myriad of thinkpieces about the decline of American television.
Runaways and New Warriors might bring that tasty boost of viewership that the company has been lacking in the past year. However, with streaming truly subsuming the old-guard television network more and more, it wouldn't surprise me if even those series make the jump to a streaming service like Hulu or Netflix after a couple of seasons. There they can use those naughty words that you can't get away with on network television.
We'll have to wait and see how these cuts take shape, but it doesn't seem to bode well for this group of television networks.