ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee has resigned from the post. He will be replaced by the woman who has been heading the network’s drama programming, Channing Dungey.
She will be the first black president of a broadcast network.
“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.” Ben Sherwood, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, DisneyABC Television Group said in a statement on Wednesday. “We thank Paul for his many accomplishments at ABC and his devotion to the ABC brand, and we wish him continued success in the future.”
According to New York Times‘ sources, Sherwood pushed Lee out. The chairman pointed to ABC’s soft ratings to garner support of Lee’s removal inside the company.
Dungey, who has headed the network’s drama offerings, has overseen its hit series “Scandal,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” and “Quantico,” among many others.
“I’m thrilled and humbled that Ben has entrusted me with this tremendous opportunity,” Dungey said. “And I am truly grateful to Paul for being a valued mentor and friend. I’ve had the great honour of working alongside the talented team at ABC for many years and look forward to starting this exciting new chapter with them.”
Despite the network’s falling ratings, Lee has helped to bring diversity to the network with “Black-Ish,” “Fresh Off the Boat,” and “Mr. Ken.” ABC’s efforts with diversity are now being mimicked by other networks.
Lee said, “Leading ABC has been 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. Together, we’ve transformed ABC into one of the strongest brands in television, with shows like ‘Scandal,’ ‘Blackish,’ ‘Once Upon a Time,’ ‘How to Get Away with Murder,’ ‘The Goldbergs,’ ‘Revenge,’ ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.,’ ‘Quantico,’ ‘Fresh Off the Boat,’ and ‘American Crime’. I wish Channing and Patrick all the best.”