A report from the New York Times on Wednesday first broke the news that ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee, who found such hit series, as How to Get Away with Murder and Scandal has stepped down, or more than likely been forced out from the company after a power struggle with high-ranking executive.
That executive would be Ben Sherwood, the Chairman of the Disney/ABC Television Group. ABC has since confirmed the news. Lee had been the ABC Entertainment President for the last three years. However, Ben Sherwood became Paul Lee’s boss early last year and has used ABC’s soft standing in the overall ratings race to make a case inside Disney for a management shake-up at the network.
Lee has been a supporter of the one daytime drama series left on the network, General Hospital. Longtime ABC development executive Channing Dungey has assumed Lee’s role. She now becomes the first African-American person to head programming at a major broadcast network. Dungey will now report directly to Sherwood.
In a statement from Sherwood on Dungey’s new position with ABC, he expressed: “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. 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.”
ABC has been languishing in the ratings, which makes the case for their to be a change at the top. Of the major networks, it’s down the most, year-to-year, shedding 9 percent among adults 18-49 to an average 2.0 rating. It’s down 12 percent among total viewers, its average primetime audience down to 7.2 million viewers. In fact, just one night prior to the news of Lee’s exit, ABC ranked last on the broadcast networks — trailing even the CW and Fox with an anemic 0.8 rating in the key demo.
So, what do you think of the network shake-up at the top of ABC? Do you think ABC made the right move in forcing Lee out? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!