Just in time for Black History Month, Channing Dungey made history on Wednesday when she was named president of ABC Entertainment, becoming the first African-American leader of programming to run a major broadcast network, according to NBC News.
Dungey, former executive vice president of drama at ABC, replaces Paul Lee, who was praised for promoting more primetime shows with people of color in front of and behind the camera, writes the Los Angeles Times. She will report directly to Disney ABC Television Group chief 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 in his announcement. “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 assumes the top programming role on the heels of her experience and close involvement in drama development, shepherding series such as “Scandal,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” and “Once Upon A Time.”
But, despite ABC’s success with such programming, the franchise has faced a sharp decline in ratings this season. Lee’s resignation is speculated to have arrived as an end to a history of not seeing eye to eye with Sherwood, who became Lee’s boss in January 2015, in deciding the future direction of the television group.
Dungey, who says she is “thrilled and humbled” by the opportunity, graduated from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. She has been with ABC since 2004.