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Disney Merges ABC Entertainment, ABC Studios Under McPherson

In a corporate streamlining, The Walt Disney Co. is merging ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios under
one unit, the ABC Entertainment Group, officials said Thursday.

The newly created unit will be
managed by president Stephen McPherson (left),
who had previously served as president of ABC Entertainment, according to
announcement made by Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney-Media Networks and
president of the Disney/ABC Television Group.

Mark Pedowitz, the former
president of ABC Studios, which produces cable hits like Army Wives and Kyle XY, has
moved into a new role as senior advisor to the Office of the Co-Chairman, where
he will work alongside Sweeney "on a myriad of evolving business, labor
relations and emerging media issues," according to the press release on the

The reorganization reflects the
Disney/ABC Television Group "responding to the changing realities of the
entertainment landscape, and addressing an opportunity to streamline the
creative process," the press release said.

The newly formed ABC Entertainment
Group will combine ABC Studios and ABC Entertainment, with all operations of
the two separate units reporting to McPherson. The new division's
mandate will be to develop and produce programming for ABC, the Disney/ABC
group said.

"However, when appropriate, the studio
will look for outside opportunities," the press release said. "The successful partnership between ABC Studios and ABC
Entertainment prior to this announcement has delivered some of the most
successful, talked-about and evolutionary series on television today, including
Desperate Housewives, Lost, Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty
and Brothers & Sisters."

McPherson will spend the next few months integrating the units, with
input from Pedowitz.

"The landscape of our business and
an opportunity to coalesce the creative process dictated this change in
structure," Sweeney said in a prepared statement. " By operating these units
in a coordinated fashion, we'll be able to present the industry with
a unified, cohesive creative vision for ABC programming, which will serve us
well as we move forward."

McPherson, who had previously
served as president of the studio when it was named Touchstone Television and
developed Desperate Housewives, Lost and Grey's Anatomy prior to assuming oversight of ABC, said, "I'm
thrilled and honored that Anne has entrusted me once again with the Studio, and
I'm looking forward to discovering ways in which the studio-network
relationship, which has been pretty impressive to date, can be even more potent
and successful going forward."

As a key content driver for the
Disney ABC Television Group, multiple seasons of ABC Studios s programming have
fed the company's distribution pipelines worldwide, with hit primetime series
including Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey's
, Ugly Betty, Scrubs, Army Wives and Criminal Minds.

Pedowitz expanded the studio's
cable and first-run syndication production, including Lifetime's highest-rated
series, Army Wives, ABC Family's Kyle XY and the Steven Bochco drama Raisingthe Bar on TNT. Marking the studio's first original series produced
for first-run syndication is the drama Legend
of the Seeker
, from Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, and based on the bestselling
novels by Terry Goodkind. In addition to its scripted programming, the studio
also produces ABC's late-night talk show, Jimmy
Kimmel Live