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Channing Dungey Becomes First African-American To Lead Major TV Network

By Meg James and Yvonne Villarreal
Los Angeles Times.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A major step in forward towards empowering women in Entertainment. Channing Dungey becomes the first African American head of a broadcast network. A UCLA report last year on Hollywood diversity found that 96 percent of TV network and studio heads were white and 71 percent were men.

LOS ANGELES

In a major shake-up, ABC television network made history Wednesday by naming Channing Dungey as entertainment president. She becomes the first African-American head of a broadcast network.

Clearing the way for the change, entertainment chief Paul Lee resigned. Lee was largely responsible for a creative renaissance at the network during his 5 1/2 -year tenure.

The move comes as Hollywood has been under increasing pressure to promote more women and people of color. A UCLA report last year on Hollywood diversity found that 96 percent of TV network and studio heads were white and 71 percent were men.

Dungey has been an executive at ABC for more than a decade and was most recently the No. 2 creative executive at the network, owned by Walt Disney Co.

The moves were announced by Ben Sherwood, co-chairman of Disney Media Networks.

“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,” Sherwood said in a statement.

Lee leaves behind at the network a legacy of encouraging a more diverse lineup, with such shows as “Scandal,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” “black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat.” He was known for taking bets that might have seemed risky and for supporting the writers and producers who provided shows to ABC.

Dungey also has been instrumental in the development and success of ABC’s biggest hits over the past few years, Sherwood noted in the statement. As executive vice president of drama development, movies and miniseries for ABC’s entertainment group, Dungey oversaw the development of such hits as “Scandal,” “Criminal Minds,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Quantico,” “Army Wives” and “Once Upon a Time.”

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