ABC’s Paul Lee Praises ‘Quantico’s’ Priyanka Chopra, Says of Patrick Dempsey’s ‘Grey’s’ Death: ‘It Was Great’

TCA 2015: Entertainment group president tells reporters that “How to Get Away With Murder’s” Viola Davis “should win that Emmy”

Last Updated: August 4, 2015 @ 12:15 PM

ABC President Paul Lee had a tough act to follow — a lively and hilarious “Muppets” panel — Tuesday morning during his network’s Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour day. He did his best, dividing comments between hit content from the past season and teasing what he sees as strong upcoming properties.

As an example of a little bit of both, Lee praised two of his leading ladies, Priyanka Chopra (“Quantico”) and Viola Davis (“How to Get Away With Murder”) early on. He also had obvious kind words for star showrunner Shonda Rhimes, the brains behind what he rightly called ABC’s “huge” Thursdays.

“We’re so proud of that show,” Lee said on the returning “Murder,” Rhimes’ latest Shondaland offering. “I think Viola Davis should win that Emmy.”

On Chopra, he said during the executive session: “She’s a star. She’s an iconic ABC star. We think the entire world will be talking about [her].”

When asked about Patrick Dempsey being killed off by Rhimes on “Grey’s Anatomy,” Lee half quipped: “It was great wasn’t it?”

Lee then elaborated, explaining that he was referring to the long-running drama — also one from Rhimes — staying “so relevant” after all of these years.

“It was a difficult decision,” Lee said of the Dr. McDreamy death. “Patrick obviously has lots of interests outside.”

Later in the scheduled TCA session, the network’s top exec also stated that he is “very bullish” about Marvel’s future on his broadcast network, which shares parent company Disney. He repeated the clearly rehearsed phrase afterward during an impromptu journalist scrum.

While surrounded in the back of the Beverly Hilton ballroom, Lee also wouldn’t set a season count on “Scandal,” but said the Kerry Washington drama won’t be seeing smaller episode orders per run, which is the trend with some top shows these days.

Also during his stage time, Lee set up a predictable “Celebrity Family Feud” renewal, telling reporters: “We haven’t formally picked it up, but we love it, so you know where it’s going.”