From his ahead-of-the-curve diversity push and Shondaland’s TGIT block to critically panned comedies like Work It and Neighbors, here’s a look at the exec’s big hits and those that failed to connect.
In a major shake-up today, ABC Entertainment chief Paul Lee resigned from the Walt Disney Co.-owned broadcast television network, which quickly named Channing Dungey president, succeeding Lee in the role of head of programming. Dungey becomes the first black broadcast network president.
ABC had a mixed fall, with a fledgling hit in Quantico, as well as the season’s first canceled series in Wicked City. But ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee said Sunday that the best is yet to come this season for the network, touting, “four incredibly powerful shows” that are coming to the network in midseason.
“It is a mission statement to reflect America,” Paul Lee, ABC Entertainment Group president, told the summer meeting of the Television Critics Association on Tuesday. “That’s not so much diversity as authenticity when you reflect America.” The network has the advantage of strong storytellers including Shonda Rhimes, the force behind ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. She’s going for a Thursday-night trifecta with How to Get Away with Murder.
Despite ratings stumbles and other changes in ABC’s executive stable, Lee is staying put as head of the female-skewing broadcast network.
Cougar Town is likely to return in the March, said ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee. The news comes as Cougar Town showrunner Bill Lawrence — having been excluded from the network’s TCA day — hosted his own party for television reporters at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena on Monday night.
The two pickups and an order for more Happy Endings scripts mark Paul Lee’s first moves thus far this season at ABC.
Buoyed by a record upfront on Madison Avenue in the spring, as well as a flurry of hit new comedies in the fall, broadcast network entertainment presidents expressed a consensus of optimism as they met for a Hollywood Radio TV Society lunchtime panel.