On Wednesday, February 17, ABC Entertainment announced that Channing Dungey was named president of the entertainment group.
Dungey is the first Black person to lead a major broadcast network. She is replacing Paul Lee who presided over the Entertainment Group since 2010, and actively advocated for more diversity at ABC.
The Disney-ABC Television Group chairman Ben Sherwood released a statement on Wednesday announcing Dungey’s historical promotion.
“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.”
She, then reported that she was “thrilled and humbled” in the statement. “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.”
Dungey, who previously worked as the Executive Vice President, was responsible for ABC’s drama development, and helped launch some of the most popular shows on the network including “Scandal”, “How to Get Away with Murder”, “Once Upon a Time”, and “Nashville”.
It seemed like Lee’s resignation and Dungey’s promotion came amidst a power struggle. According to the New York Times, Lee and Sherwood butted heads over programming strategy:
Mr. Lee and Mr. Sherwood have repeatedly clashed over control of ABC’s creative pipeline. Mr. Sherwood, whose background is in television news, wanted to be more involved in ABC’s affairs than Mr. Lee allowed. Mr. Sherwood also wanted ABC to focus more on CBS-style procedural crime series like “N.C.I.S.,” while Mr. Lee continued to back serialized dramas like “Scandal” and “American Crime.”
Dungey graduated from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television and has been with ABC for 12 years, starting with ABC Studios She has worked at production companies and as a production executive at Warner Bros., handling films including “Bridges of Madison County” and “The Matrix.”
(Photo by Alexandra Wyman/WireImage)