Ben Sherwood, an award-winning journalist, bestselling author and digital media entrepreneur, has been named as the new president of ABC News, it was announced today by Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, to whom he will report. In this position, Mr. Sherwood will be responsible for all editorial, programming and digital aspects of our global news business encompassing all ABC News programs on the ABC Television Network, ABC News Radio, ABC News.com and ABC News NOW.
In making the announcement, Ms. Sweeney stated, “Ben’s proven success in the news business, along with his entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and keen intellect, make him the ideal choice to lead ABC News into the future. His previous tenure at ABC led to the most successful seasons in GMA’s history, and his success as a bestselling author and digital entrepreneur demonstrate a unique skill set that is as valuable as it is diverse.”
Mr. Sherwood said, “It’s a great honor and privilege to be asked to lead this amazing news organization, and I am humbled by the opportunity. For more than 20 years, I’ve known firsthand of the passion, excellence and integrity of the people who work for ABC News. I am thrilled to be coming back home, and look forward to harnessing our innovation and creativity to build on our great history of success.”
Mr. Sherwood began to explore a career in journalism with student internships at KCET public television in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau, and the CBS Evening News in New York. In 1984-1985, during a year off from college, he worked for The News and Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina; the Los Angeles Times Paris bureau and the United Nations Border Relief Operation in Aranyaprathet, Thailand.
He launched his career in earnest when he joined ABC News in 1989, serving as an investigative associate producer and producer for ABC News’ PrimeTime Live with hosts Diane Sawyer and Sam Donaldson. During that time his investigative reports explored flaws in the secretive B-2 stealth bomber program, the dangers of unlicensed mental health practitioners, and the unheralded risks of an overprescribed heart medication.
Disney Channels Worldwide has promoted two key executives into new roles — Sean Cocchia has been named Senior Vice President and General Manager, Radio Disney, and David Cobb has been named Vice President, Business Planning and Strategy, Disney Channels Worldwide. The announcement was made today by Carolina Lightcap, President, Disney Channels Worldwide, to whom they each will report. David Cobb will also have a reporting line into Jewell Engstrom, Chief Financial Officer, Disney ABC Networks Group.
At Radio Disney, Cocchia succeeds Michael Riley, who was recently named President, ABC Family. Cobb succeeds Cocchia in the Business Planning and Strategy role.
Disney/ABC Television Group, ESPN and Time Warner Cable today entered into a long-term, wide-ranging agreement that will provide Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks cable customers the programming of ABC Family, Disney Channel, Disney XD, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes and SOAPnet, as well as WABC in New York, KABC in Los Angeles, WTVD in Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville, WTVG in Toledo, and associated HD cable networks. Subscribers will also have unprecedented digital access to online content and expanded Video On Demand services.
This extensive and expanded rights package, Disney Media Network’s most expansive content agreement to date, provides for:
As expected, Apple today announced that television programs in HD format will now be available for rent through iTunes 10, which is now available for download. Apple promises thousands of episodes, many of which will be available the day after broadcast. The Disney/ABC Television Group is well represented in the initial offering, with shows from ABC, ABC Family and Disney Channel joining shows from Fox and BBC America.
Each episode rental costs $.99 and can be viewed on Mac, PC, iPhone, iPod Touch and Apple TV. You’ll have thirty days from rental to begin watching the episode and 48 hours from that point to complete watching it before the rental period expires.
ABC Network’s critically acclaimed freshman hit comedy series, “Modern Family,” swept more categories than any other series with three wins, including the top comedy series prize, at the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards, presented last night. In addition to winning for Outstanding Comedy Series, “Modern Family’s” Eric Stonestreet captured his first-ever Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and executive producers Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd took the Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series prize for the pilot episode.
“Modern Family” won a total of six Emmys, with the other three awards for Casting, Sound Mixing and Picture Editing announced at the Creative Arts Emmys on Aug. 21.
As part of its overall initiative to find and develop actors from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds or with disabilities, the Disney/ABC Television Group Casting Project will hold its next New York Actors Showcase on THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23. Ten promising actors will have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills to an audience of industry and network professionals during 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. performances at the Kirk Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.
The Creative Emmy Awards ceremony took place at the Nokia Theater LA Live in Los Angeles last night and although perennially-strong HBO took the top spot with 17 wins, the Disney/ABC Television Group finished strong with 16 between ABC and Disney Channel. The event leads up to the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on August 29.
Leading the pack for Disney was its half-hour holiday special ‘Prep & Landing’ which took home a total of four awards including Outstanding Animated Program. The remaining three were awarded as part of the jury-awarded Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation in which a peer of animators select one, multiple or no winners. In this case, three of the winners came from the same program: Andy Harkness for art direction, William M. George III for background key design and Joe Mateo for storyboarding.
Anne Sweeney, Co-Chairman Disney/ABC Media Networks and President, Disney/ABC Television Group today announced today that former ABC Family President Paul Lee has been named President, ABC Entertainment Group, effective immediately.
In his new role with the ABC Entertainment Group, Lee has oversight of all creative and business operations for ABC Studios, as well as all development, programming, marketing and scheduling operations for ABC Entertainment.
In discussing the announcement, Sweeney stated: “Paul was hired six years ago because of his great creative instincts and his ability to identify an audience and develop programming that resonates with them, and those same strengths are why he was tapped for this new responsibility. Paul’s success at ABC Family is as amazing as it is indisputable, and I’m looking forward to his continued success on ABC.”
Lee added: “I’m proud of everything we achieved at ABC Family, and I’m looking forward to working with another great team at ABC Entertainment Group to bring even more compelling stories to viewers. ABC is a great network defined by creativity and known for delivering some of the best shows on television. I’m excited to be part of it, and deeply honored to be chosen for the unique opportunity to lead the network and the brand into the future.”
Lee arrived at ABC Family in 2004 and revitalized it with an ambitious slate of original and acquired programs. In conceiving the mission of the network, he launched a plan to target the young adult Millennial audience on multiple platforms with relatable programming like “Kyle XY,” “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Greek,” “Make It or Break It” and “Huge.” The network is also home to the biggest programming event on cable with “25 Days of Christmas.”
Under Lee, ABC Family had an amazing six+ years of consecutive growth. 2010-to-date, ABC Family ranks among the Top 5 cable networks in Prime in W18-49 (No. 5), W18-34 (No. 4), F12-34 (No. 2), Teens (No. 3) and Female Teens (No. 3), and among the Top 10 in Total Viewers (No. 10), A18-49 (No. 10), A18-34 (No. 8) and V12-34 (No. 7). ABC Family has also grown its Prime audience by impressive margins: +74% in Total Viewers, +70% in A18-49 and +75% in W18-49. Among the network’s core younger demo sets, the network’s Prime delivery has also more than doubled over the past six+ years: +111% in A18-34, +115% in W18-34, +111% in V12-34.
Under Lee’s leadership, ABC Family made the most of new platforms to connect viewers with content. The industry recognized this push for creativity and innovation on this front by awarding ABC Family a 2007 Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Television, as well as an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media the following year.
An announcement regarding a new ABC Family President will be made in the near future.
Prior to joining ABC Family, Lee was chief executive officer and founder of BBC America, and was responsible for the development and launch of the company in March 1998, starting as general manager and then chief operating officer. During his tenure, the hit comedy series “The Office” (British version) garnered two Golden Globes(r). Other shows under his supervision included the BBC’s “Changing Rooms,” which formatted into TLC’s signature show, “Trading Spaces,” “What Not to Wear” and the “Graham Norton Show.”
According to the Disney/ABC Television Group:
Steve McPherson today submitted his resignation as President, ABC Entertainment Group, and the Company accepted. Mr. McPherson said, “I want to thank the wonderful team of individuals who have worked with me throughout my time here and wish them nothing but the best.” A replacement for McPherson will be announced shortly.
According to his studio bio, which has been removed from the official DATG website, McPherson joined ABC Entertainment in 2004 and has been the driving force behind the network’s primetime comeback, developing quality content and then supporting it with more strategically directed marketing. The ABC Entertainment Group has delivered some of the most successful, talked-about and evolutionary series on television today, including “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Brothers & Sisters,” “Dancing with the Stars” and “Modern Family.”