Jack Rowand/ABC
Natalie Abrams
January 09, 2016 AT 11:13 PM EST

Even though Once Upon a Time will be heading to hell come March, ABC boss Paul Lee says the future is “bright” for the fairy tale drama.

Currently in its fifth season, Once Upon a Time has seen a progressive ratings drop since its 2011 debut — it averaged 11.71 million viewers and a 4.1 in the 18-49 demo in its first season, while its most recent season 5 outing drew 4.56 million and a 1.3 in the demo (though the Live +7 numbers tend to bump the average demo up into the 2.5 range).

“Those guys are so inventive,” Lee told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s press tour on Saturday, referring to OUAT bosses Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis. “You know these great shows with strong franchises, they ebb and flow as you go through.”

With that said, Lee is feeling pretty positive about Once Upon a Time continuing on past season 5. “We had a great start to [this] season,” Lee said. “Each of their arcs they bring a new theme in. Their next theme is going to be great because Hades gives us the chance to bring back so many of the people that we lost. I think Once Upon a Time has a long and bright future.”

Among the characters returning for the season half of the season include Cora (Barbara Hershey), Henry (Tony Perez,) Peter Pan (Robbie Kay), Cruella de Vil (Victoria Smurfit) and Milah (Rachel Shelley). See who’s playing the big bad here!

Once Upon a Time returns Sunday, March 6 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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