Television history and black history has crossed paths today. Channing Dungey, executive VP of drama at ABC, was today named entertainment president of ABC, replacing Paul Lee, who was removed after a reported power struggle with Disney/ABC Television President Ben Sherwood, according to reports.
Dungey is now the first African-American woman to lead a major broadcast network. The ABC veteran, known by industry insiders as the Shonda Rhimes’ whisperer, will now report directly to Sherwood.
“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,” said Sherwood. “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.”
Dungey, a UCLA grad who’s been with the network since 2009 (and Disney since 2004), is credited with developing many of ABC’s successful dramas, including “Scandal,” “Quantico,” “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” and “American Crime,” according to Variety.
Said Dungey, “I’m thrilled and humbled that Ben has entrusted me with this tremendous opportunity. 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.”
Dungey began her career as a development assistant at 20th Century Fox-based Davis Entertainment, and did stints at other companies including Steamroller Productions and Warner Bros.