At a morning TCA panel, ABC entertainment chief Paul Lee said that ABC is high on soap operas, saying he’s delighted that General Hospital is “rocking and rolling” in daytime and adding that the series Scandal has reinvented the genre. (He also offered that the important Latina audience “loves that genre.”) “But you want to do something that breaks the rules,” the executive said.

Lee did not mention ABC’s new primetime soap Mistresses in his remarks about soaps, but at an afternoon panel the cast and producers had plenty to say about flawed women, the show’s abundant nakedness, adultery as a dramatic premise and how to “break the rules” without offending the audiences and the Standards department.

Steinberg defended the show’s title and concept: “I think if we said it was the joys of adultery, they would be mad,” she said. “I think is provocative.” As soon as people start watching it, she said, they’ll see that it’s about the far-reaching consequences for women who have made one mistake in their lives, “not a bunch of ladies whorin’ around.”

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The sexy new series, created by K. J. Steinberg and based on a British series, stars Alyssa Milano. (The new mother said she took the role because she loves to play “flawed women” and because the shooting schedule allows her two days off a week to spend with her child). Cast members Yunjin Kim, Rochelle Aytes, Jes Macallan, Jason George, and Erik Stocklin appeared on the panel with Steinberg and executive producers Rina Mimoun and Bob Sertner.

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Actor George, who also has a role on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, said he does not believe that his new role will affect his other series commitment “in any way. We’re done shooting [Grey’s] it’s all ABC, they can rearrange the furniture however they want,” he said. “Beyond that, I don’t know.” George did joke that he’s trying to stay in shape for the partial nudity of Mistresses: “If I have a bag of chips, my wife says we need to pay the mortgage. Put it down,” George said.

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