Dungey replaces Lee as entertainment chief at Disney's ABC network

Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:50pm EST
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By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - ABC drama executive Channing Dungey was promoted to president of entertainment at the Walt Disney Co broadcast network in a shakeup following the resignation of Paul Lee on Wednesday, the company said.

Dungey helped launch hits such as "Scandal" and "How to Get Away with Murder," both from producer Shonda Rhimes, and the military drama "Quantico."

In the new post, Dungey becomes the first black person to run entertainment programming at a U.S. broadcast network. She was previously executive vice president in charge of drama development, movies and miniseries.

Lee stepped down from his post, Disney said in a statement. He was named head of ABC Entertainment in 2010 with the task of boosting ratings at the third-place network.

During his tenure, Lee picked shows such as "Black-ish," "Fresh Off the Boat" and "How to Get Away with Murder" that diversified ABC's programming line-up. Audiences grew during the 2014-15 television season but have since slipped. This season, ABC averages 6.6 million primetime viewers, ranking third behind CBS Corp's CBS network and Comcast Corp's NBC, according to Nielsen data through Feb. 14. Dungey will report to Ben Sherwood, who became head of the Disney-ABC Television Group roughly two years ago.

The New York Times first reported Lee's resignation.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Bill Trott and Leslie Adler)

The signage at the main gate of The Walt Disney Co. is pictured in Burbank, California, May 7, 2012.  REUTERS/Fred Prouser