Wednesday, February 17, 2016
First black woman becomes the boss at a major American TV network as Channing Dungey replaces the ousted Paul Lee who was pushed out in a power struggle.
ABC shows are most visible in South Africa on M-Net's set of TV channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.
These ABC titles range from hits like Grey's Anatomy and Scandal (called The Fixer in South Africa) to disappointments like The Muppets and Agent Carter on M-Net (DStv 101), as well as shows like How to Get Away with Murder, Blackish, Pretty Little Liars and Quantico on Vuzu Amp (DStv 114).
The New York Times first reported how Paul Lee has been pushed out and forced to resign after an acrimonious internal power struggle with his boss, Ben Sherwood, chairman of the Disney-ABC Television Group.
Plummeting ratings for ABC was used as an excuse to get rid of Paul Lee, with Channing Dingey now taking over as ABC entertainment president.
According to the New York Times, Paul Lee and Ben Sherwood "repeatedly clashed".
With sagging ratings, ABC fell from third to the joint fourth rated TV network in America.
ABC is also having content problems like behind-the-scenes troubles at new dramas like Shonda Rhimes' upcoming The Catch that will be shown on M-Net, The Muppets that is getting retooled, as well as the Biblical period drama Of Kings & Prophets that's filmed in South Africa and already underwent several reshoots.
Both shows have seen their original premiere dates being pushed backed because of troubles.
After the news of Paul Lee's ouster broke, Disney that owns ABC didn't respond to multiple calls for comment.
Eventually on Wednesday night, a hilariously fake-friendly press release:
"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, said Paul Lee in a statement, making no mention that he was forced to abruptly resign and of the clashes with Ben Sherwood.
"Channing Dungey 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," said Ben Sherwood in the statement, announcing her appointment.
So sudden is the appointment of Channing Dungey that there is nobody yet to take over her position as ABC's executive vice president for drama development, movies and miniseries.
"We thank Paul Lee for his many accomplishments at ABC and his devotion to the ABC brand, and we wish him continued success in the future," said Ben Sherwood in the statement and who orchestrated Paul Lee's ouster according to The New York Times.
In the statement Channing Dungey says: "I'm thrilled and humbled that Ben Sherwood has entrusted me with this tremendous opportunity. And I am truly grateful to Paul Lee 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".