Paul Lee, ABC entertainment president, has resigned, with Channing Dungey, ABC executive VP, drama development, movies & miniseries, named entertainment president.
The New York Times reported that Lee’s ouster was orchestrated by Ben Sherwood, chairman of the Disney-ABC Television Group.
“Channing is a gifted leader and a proven magnet for top creative talent, with an impressive record of developing compelling, breakthrough programming that resonates with viewers,” said Sherwood.
A UCLA grad, Dungey began her career in entertainment as a development assistant for Davis Entertainment at 20th Century Fox. She then became story editor at Steamroller Productions. Following that, she joined Warner Bros. as a production executive. In the spring of 1998 Dungey became senior VP at film production company Material, then president in 2001.
At ABC, Dungey has played a key role in bringing shows such as Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and Quantico to life.
“I’m thrilled and humbled that Ben has entrusted me with this tremendous opportunity,” she said. “And I am truly grateful to Paul for being a valued mentor and friend. I’ve had the great honor of working alongside the talented team at ABC for many years and look forward to starting this exciting new chapter with them.”
Lee took on the president job in 2010, succeeding Steve McPherson, after a stint as president of ABC Family, now known as Freeform.
ABC's primetime has sputtered of late. While Thursdays are solid, thanks to Shonda Rhimes' dramas, the hits have been hard to come by. The ballyhooed reboot of The Muppets has not drawn significant viewership. Drama Quantico has been solid, but hardly a breakout. On Tuesday night, the network was fifth among the Big Five, with series struggling to crack a 1.0 in adults 18-49.
Sherwood thanked Lee for his guidance. Lee called leading ABC’s entertainment division “a fantastic experience.”
“I'm especially proud of the incredible team I built and the strategic, creative vision we established and successfully executed for both the network and studio,” he said. "Together, we've transformed ABC into one of the strongest brands in television.”
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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