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Paul Lee leaving ABC, Dungey steps up

Paul Lee is leaving his role running ABC, with Channing Dungey replacing him at the US broadcast net.

channing dungeyLee’s exit comes after Ben Sherwood (below right) replaced Anne Sweeney at the top of the Disney/ABC Television group.

Dungey (left) joined ABC in 2004, having also worked at Warner Bros. and Fox. As EVP, drama development, movies and miniseries, she is credited with playing an instrumental role in the success of Scandal, Criminal Minds, How to Get Away with Murder and Once Upon a Time.

Ben 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,” Sherwood said.

“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 becomes the first African American to run a US TV network.

“I’m thrilled and humbled that Ben has entrusted me with this tremendous opportunity,” she said. “And I am truly grateful to Paul for being a valued mentor and friend.”

paul_lee_banff_1Lee (left) replaced Steve MacPherson as ABC boss in 2010. A British citizen, Lee worked at the BBC before heading to the US, where he was running the ABC Family – recently rebranded as Freeform – cable net before taking over the ABC broadcast net.

He has been linked to the top job at the BBC, and his departure from Disney sparked rumours he would return to the UK. He has, however, previously indicated he is settled in the US and is not thought to have a UK job lined up.

“Leading ABC has been a fantastic experience,” he said. “I’m especially proud of the incredible team I built and the strategic, creative vision we established and successfully executed for both the network and studio.

“Together, we’ve transformed ABC into one of the strongest brands in television, with shows like Scandal, Blackish, Once Upon a Time, How to Get Away with Murder, The Goldbergs, Revenge, S.H.I.E.L.D., Quantico, Fresh Off the Boat, and American Crime. I wish Channing and Patrick [Moran, executive VP, ABC Studios] all the best.”

Moran will continue to oversee day-to-day operations, and report directly to Sherwood.