ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey, the first African American to lead a major broadcast network in the U.S., is exiting her role at the Disney-owned company. Karey Burke, head of original programming for cable channel Freeform, has been tapped to replace her, Variety reports.
The publication notes that Dungey’s departure comes as Disney prepares for a slew of new executives from Fox. Last month it was announced that Fox executive Peter Rice would take over Disney’s non-sports TV operations, while fellow Dana Walden, former co-head of Fox Broadcasting and 20th Century Fox Television, would oversee ABC, Freeform, and Disney’s television-studio operations. The arrangement would have had Dungey, a 14-year ABC veteran, report to Walden.
“I’m grateful to Channing for her significant contributions and unwavering dedication to the success of ABC over the past 14 years,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to work with and mentor Channing; her curiosity, passion and creativity will ensure she is successful in whatever path she chooses going forward.”
Iger added, “Over the past four years at Freeform, and throughout her career, Karey has proven herself a gifted leader with a strong track record of developing unique programming. Karey’s attention to, and intimate knowledge of, the audience, and a commitment to quality will be a great addition to the creative team at ABC.”
Dungey was responsible for helping to define ABC’s brand through series such as Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder. She made international headlines recently when she canceled the revival of Roseanne, following racist comments made by series star Roseanne Barr.
“I’m incredibly proud of what the team and I have accomplished over the years, and all the meaningful and impactful programming we’ve developed,” Dungey said. “This job has been the highlight of my career. While I’ve loved every moment, and knew I could call ABC home for many years to come, I’m excited to tackle new challenges. The toughest thing about this choice is leaving all the immensely talented people I’ve grown to admire and care for, from Bob Iger, the best leader and mentor that anyone could have; to my peers and colleagues; to my talented team, who I will miss enormously. But knowing that Karey is taking over, a person that I like and respect so deeply, makes passing the baton a lot easier. I know that, together, under Peter [Rice] and Dana’s leadership, they are going to achieve great things and I will be rooting for their success.”
Dungey will reportedly stay on at the network through a transition period as Burke takes over the position.
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