ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey is stepping down from the position after less than three years on the job. She has been replaced by Karey Burke, head of Freeform original programming development.
The corporate shakeup comes as Disney nears the completion of the 21st Century Fox acquisition and following the announcement of the Disney-ABC post-merger TV leadership, which will include Fox's Dana Walden in charge of ABC, ABC Studios and Freeform as chairman, Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment.
After the leadership announcement, rumors swirled that Dungey may leave as she had been in contention for a higher position in the company after her work as ABC Entertainment President, Deadline reports.
It has not been revealed where the executive will heading to next, though there is speculation she might be going to Netflix or to run Barack and Michelle Obama's Netflix-based production company.
"I'm grateful to Channing for her significant contributions and unwavering dedication to the success of ABC over the past 14 years. 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." Bob Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company said in a statement. "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 became the first black executive to run one of the Big Four networks' entertainment division. She was responsible for adding hit shows such as The Good Doctor, Roseanne and its spinoff The Conners to the ABC schedule during her tenure.
She is the second top Disney-ABC executive to leave in the process of the Disney-Merger, after Disney-ABC TV Group president Ben Sherwood.0comments
"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 and Dana's leadership, they are going to achieve great things and I will be rooting for their success."
In the role as present, Burke will oversee all development, programming, casting, marketing, business affairs and scheduling operations for ABC prime time and late-night. Her replacement at Freeform will reportedly be announced at a later date.