NAB: ABC Affiliates Board Digs Sherwood Promotion

NAB Show 2014

The ABC affiliates board is whole-hearted in its belief that Ben Sherwood is well suited to run the network. If he can fix primetime, the board will love him that much more.

Both Sherwood’s promotion to co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group (he officially starts in February), and ABC’s concerns with ongoing primetime shortfalls were significant topics of discussion when the board met in Las Vegas April 8.

“Ben Sherwood is a great friend and supporter of the affiliates,” said Mike Devlin, chairman. “It was a fascinating and intriguing decision, and we have a lot of support for that move.”

The meeting also included a “good, candid discussion” about primetime, and how to draw more viewers—a frequent topic in the affiliates board’s meeting with the network each year in Vegas. ABC showed the board members a few snippets of its development slate. “We got a look forward at the pilot process,” said Devlin, WFAA Dallas president and general manager. “It was a great conversation with the network.”

Regulatory issues, including STELA, spectrum and the pending merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, also got significant airtime in the meeting, with Gordon Smith, NAB president and CEO, running the discussion. So did the Watch ABC app, which ABC showcased for affiliates a year ago in the same Vegas setting. Devlin said the launch was off to “a pretty good start”, and gave the technology high marks.

In addition to the usual ABC execs in the meeting, Rebecca Campbell, president of the ABC Owned Television Stations, was in the room too.

While Good Morning America has seen a few key team members depart of late, Devlin said there was little talk of GMA in the session.

Michael Malone

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.