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Freeform Remains ‘Dedicated’ to Female YA Audience, Disney’s Craig Erwich Says

Disney Television Group president Craig Erwich said that Freeform would remain “very dedicated” to the young female adult audience it serves, despite the channel being impacted by the company’s new carriage agreement with Charter Communications.

“We know they’re watching television in a lot of different places,” Erwich told press at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Saturday. “In fact, most of the viewing of Freeform shows actually happens on Hulu.”

Erwich added that Freeform has a “full slate” planned for 2024 despite no new scripted shows in the works following the final seasons of “Good Trouble” and “Grown-ish,” and would serve its audience through a “variety of methods,” including unscripted series and themed holiday programming such as the 25 Days of Christmas.

In addition to his comments on Freeform’s future, Erwich boasted about the success of “Only Murders in the Building” on ABC, which has reached over 11 million unique viewers on the linear network and saw first streams and hours streamed increase 40% and 39% respectively in January.

Moving forward, Erwich said Disney would be open to bringing additional seasons or other series from streaming to linear. He emphasized that the decision of what programming ends up on linear or streaming is “not one vs. the other,” adding that all of its platforms are “complementary” and “non-duplicative” that “work together.”

The Hulu comedy, which stars Selena Gomez, Martin Short and Steve Martin, is currently gearing up for its fourth season.

“I’ve read the first four or five scripts for ‘Only Murders’ and they’re incredible,” Erwich added. “I’m eager to share when they’re going to be back and who’s going to be in it when I can. It’s going to be very exciting.”

Another popular ABC title, “Grey’s Anatomy,” will have a “tremendous amount of fanfare” when it debuts its 20th season next month, Erwich said.

Former cast members slated to return for Season 20 include Jessica Capshaw and Alex Landi. Meanwhile, Ellen Pompeo will continue to serve as executive producer and is expected to return for “several episodes,” but has stepped back from being a series regular.

“I think the show is as creatively strong as it’s ever been and it is not just a delight for the viewers who are watching today but it’s fueling growth for our streaming platforms,” he added. “I’m really looking forward to when Grey’s comes on and we get the past seasons on Disney+, that seamless experience. And then for people who are still starting with Episode 1 20 seasons ago, they can watch it all the way through and then be current and participate in the conversation that the show generates on a weekly basis.”

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