There has been a historic executive shake up at the network television station ABC. Entertainment chief Paul Lee, who has been with the station for six years, is stepping down from leading the network's programming department.
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Lee was swiftly replaced by ABC's vice president of drama development, Channing Dungey, who will be the first African-American to ever lead the entertainment division of a major broadcasting network.
Dungey has been in charge of developing some of ABC's biggest hits, including Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Quantico, and Once Upon a Time.
Ben Sherwood, the co-chairman of the Disney Media Networks, was excited to make the announcement:
“I’m thrilled and humbled that Ben has entrusted me with this tremendous opportunity,” said Dungey, who is also the sister of Once Upon a Time and Brooklyn Nine-Nine actress Merrin Dungey. “And I am truly grateful to Paul for being a valued mentor and friend. 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.”
However, this change wasn't unexpected. ABC is currently in last place among the Top 4. They are averaging 6.6 million viewers in primetime and a 1.8 rating in the key target demos, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Lee said in a statement: “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.”
Sherwood was the one who wanted the change because of sagging ratings. He said: “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.”
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The only negative side to this is that shows that are struggling could be hit with a cancellation. Those shows include: Agent Carter, Castle, The Muppets, and Fresh Off the Boat could face stronger renewal scrutiny in May.