Revenge executive producer Mike Kelley will step down from the ABC series he created at the conclusion of its second season.
In a statement released by Kelly, he explains: “In a difficult mutual decision between myself and ABC studios, the end of my current contract will mark my final season as showrunner for Revenge,” said the Kelley. “Helming this series has been the ride of a lifetime, and my producing partner, Melissa Loy, and I will look back on our Revenge time with deep gratitude and respect for Emily [VanCamp] and Madeleine [Stowe] and the rest of the incredible cast, our heroic crew, the dedicated and imaginative producing and writing team, and the tireless post production department. I would also like to thank Paul Lee, his marketing team, and the creative executives at ABC and ABC studios for their profound support throughout this journey. I’m excited about finishing post production on the season two finale, which I hope will stand among the best episodes of the series thus far. Continued success to all.”
ABC Studios executive vice president, Barry Jossen praised Kelly’s “tremendous passion and dedication” for creating the series, which he called “distinctive” for the network. “We wish him all the best as he moves on to his next television achievement.”
Though Revenge began its second season with a strong performance, a new night and lackluster, disappointing storylines has led to a ratings 10 percent drop in total viewers and 12 percent in the key 18-49 demographic.
TVSource Magazine’s senior editor, Amber Cunigan, criticized the series in her “‘Revenge’ Mid-Season Review: How many revenge plots does one show need?” article back in December. “It’s almost as if the existence of the initiative has divided the show – like Revenge itself has split in two – or in some cases even more than that,” opined Cunigan. She went further, lambasting Revenge for its lack of focus, uneven, erratic storylines and reducing its star to a seemingly supporting role. “More importantly, the stories are becoming more about everyone else and less about Emily. That is a problem when the show is supposed to be about her life. In some ways, she’s become a supporting character amid the bigger stories.”
Deadline reports that Kelley clashed with network execs over the lengthy 22-episode seasons; preferring shorter, 13-episode seasons to keep creative consistency.
It is rumored that writer/executive producer Sunil Nayer will replace Kelley should ABC renew the series (which is expected).