Channing Dungey replacing Paul Lee as head of ABC Entertainment

Diversity is paying off for ABC shows
Diversity is paying off for ABC shows

After a reported power struggle, the ABC television network suddenly has a new head of programming.

Paul Lee, the network's president of entertainment since 2010, "has decided to step down," ABC said in a press release Wednesday afternoon.

Channing Dungey is taking his place as president. The move, which is effective immediately, came as a surprise to television industry observers.

An ABC spokesman said Dungey is the "first African American to oversee a major broadcast network" in the United States.

Minutes before ABC's announcement, The New York Times reported that Lee had "resigned after losing a power struggle with a higher-ranking executive," his boss Ben Sherwood, the president of the Disney-ABC Television Group.

A source close to the situation described it more simply as "time for a change."

Dungey has been an executive vice president at ABC in charge of drama development, movies and miniseries. That means "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal," "How to Get Away with Murder," "Once Upon a Time," and "American Crime" all fall under her purview.

ABC's production division, ABC Studios, will report directly to Sherwood. Patrick Moran, its executive vice president, "will continue to oversee day-to-day operations," the company said.

Joshua Safran, the creator of ABC's "Quantico," tweeted: "I am, of course, sad about Paul Lee's departure, but at the same time, I am over the moon about Channing Dungey replacing him."

ABC is owned by The Walt Disney (DIS) Company.

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