Slimmed-Down Fox, Karey Burke’s ABC Debut and 6 More Burning Questions for Winter Press Tour

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

It’s the end of January, which normally means we’re gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday. We still are, but we’re also getting ready for yet another Television Critics Association (TCA) winter press tour, which kicks off a few weeks later than usual this year.

The twice-annual TCA event begins Tuesday morning, with NBCUniversal joining other broadcast, cable and a small sampling of streaming networks (smaller than usual since Netflix is sitting this one out) as they present their upcoming series to TV critics, serve up their casts, showrunners and a few executives for Q&As.

Here’s what TheWrap is hoping to learn from the weeks-long festivities at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, California.

Also Read: Kenya Barris to Receive 2019 Visionary Award from Producers Guild

1. So, ah, Whatcha Wanna Talk About?
You know, since a lot of your new midseason shows have already premiered.

Winter TCA 2019 was pushed back from its usual early-to-mid-January slot to run from late January through early-mid February… for some reason. The shift moved the biannual press event away from the Golden Globes, but dropped it smack on top of the CBS’ Super Bowl LIII. Another consequence of the calendar shift is that a number of new series slated for midseason starts have already premiered, whereas the networks would’ve typically used the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour to debut the frosh, hoping to drum up some buzz just before launch.

Well, we can’t really do that now for some of these, so, ah, whatcha wanna talk about?

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2. Will Disney-Fox Deal Close While We’re in Pasadena?
Though Disney’s $71 billion acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox’s film and TV assets was first announced back at the end of 2017, the companies are finally clearing every last regulatory hurdle and ready to make this thing official.

You know the important parts by now: Disney is getting everything but Fox’s broadcast network, Fox News and Fox Sports. The Walt Disney Company’s earnings call is set for Feb. 5, which is the same as its TCA day, and a day before Fox takes the stage.

With Disney telling investors they expect this deal to finally become official in the early part of 2019, it’s a safe bet this happens while everyone is in Pasadena. Speaking of which…

3. The Floor Is Yours, Karey Burke and Charlie Collier
On Feb. 6, Charlie Collier will get his first chance to tell us his vision for the new, slimmed-down version of Fox. Collier built AMC’s scripted business from scratch with “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad,” and Fox needs to prove it’s going to be more than just football and wrestling after the Disney sell-off. Good luck to you, Chuck.

Karey Burke, Channing Dungey’s replacement as ABC’s entertainment president, will also make her TCA debut, and she will soon fall under the purview of former Fox execs Dana Walden and Peter Rice. This will be the first time both Fox and ABC will get to show off their new post-merger looks.

Also Read: TV Pilot Season 2019: TheWrap’s Complete Guide

4. Will HBO Show New “Game of Thrones” Footage?
The Super Bowl is a good bet for HBO to finally release that long-awaited trailer for the upcoming “Game of Thrones” final season. HBO’s day in Pasadena will come a few days after the big game, and if we don’t have a trailer by then, critics will surely be asking just when we might see, well, anything from Westeros.

Save a little something just for us, Casey Bloys.

5. Are We Gonna Get DC Universe Subscriber Stats?
DC Universe, the nascent streaming service launched by Warner Bros. last fall, will make its TCA debut to pitch “Doom Patrol,” its second live-action series. Will we also get any idea of just how many people are subscribing to the service, launched with “Titans”?

I mean, c’mon guys, Netflix is even giving out ratings these days. Sort of.

Also Read: Midseason TV 2019: Complete List of Premiere Dates for New and Returning Shows (Updating)

6. What Are You, BYUtv?
BYUtv’s time is scheduled for the final day of a grueling 16-day tour. Drilling down deeper into Feb. 13, only Amazon claims the ballroom after BYU — there’s a pretty big difference in awareness levels between those two platforms.

But what in heaven’s name (we didn’t go with “the hell” there out of respect) is BYUtv? As the name implies and you’ve probably guessed, BYUtv is owned by Brigham Young University. The Provo, Utah, school is a private, nonprofit research university owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and run under the auspices of the Mormon Church’s educational system.

What’s on their network? Something called “Dwight in Shining Armor,” for starters. Here is the logline:

While exploring the woods outside his suburban town, Dwight, a twenty-first-century teen, falls into an ancient underground chamber and accidentally awakens a warrior princess and her hordes of enemies. What happens when the worlds of modern chivalry and medieval mayhem come crashing together?

So there ya go.

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7. What the Hell is ‘Big Little Lies’ Season 2 Gonna Be?
Liane Moriarty wrote only one book “Big Little Lies,” but that didn’t stop HBO from ordering a second season of its hit limited series (but not that limited, we suppose). We’ve seen some photos and a very brief teaser video during the Golden Globes, and we definitely know Meryl Streep is in it — as has been repeatedly plugged by the promotion — but that’s about all.

Here’s hoping the ladies of Monterey and showrunner David E. Kelley give reporters a clue or two about how they plan to continue the story in Season 2, since the primary mystery at the center of Moriarty’s 2014 novel was already solved in the show’s Season 1 finale. RIP Perry.

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Batten Down the Hatches for 2019 – A Media Storm Is Coming

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

There’s no one I know in media who isn’t scared of what the next 12 months will bring.

Here’s the general picture:

• Consolidation continues to chew up jobs and companies in the entertainment arena.

• We continue to navigate a world in which media and entertainment are both in flux, even as we see overall trends like the rise of streaming, the decline of cable, the explosion of television content, the squeezing of theatrical movies and the still-unstable business model around short-form video.

• Digital media hasn’t found a business model that guarantees stability or financial success: “Scale” doesn’t seem to work, “pivot to video” doesn’t work and God knows building your business plan around Facebook or Snap is a fool’s errand.

Also Read: 11 Media Winners of 2018, From Hope Hicks to Rachel Maddow (Photos)

Which means that a couple of decades into the digital revolution we find ourselves in a world where a couple of big winners dominate in each sector: Google and Facebook in media (by which I mean advertising), Netflix and Disney in entertainment, Amazon and Apple in tech.

The more time goes by, the more that dominance seems to be institutionalized — though the fate of Facebook strikes me as unclear.

In 2018, Netflix nabbed former ABC entertainment chief Channing Dungey

Meanwhile the broader context around all this is an uncertain economy with a stock market on a downward slide under the leadership of a possibly criminal president who is only likely to get more unstable as multiple investigations box him in.

This is why most people I know in media are in super-cautious mode.

“A lot of bad businesses will go away” in 2019, Rob Goldberg, the CEO of digital video producer Fresno, told me last week. “A lot of investors will lose money, and already have.”

Also Read: Fresno’s Rob Goldberg on 2019: ‘A Lot of Bad Businesses Will Go Away’

Other CEOs I’ve spoken to recently are focused on reinforcing their core businesses and hoping for not too much change. “It’s going to get rougher out there,” said one CEO, noting that raising capital is going to get harder in this climate.

Executives are honing their résumés as much of 21st Century Fox merges with Disney and AT&T makes its moves around the divisions of Warner Media.

Also contributing to the cautious mood is the broader cultural resonance of #MeToo. We’ve seen dozens of high-level male executives and creative talent publicly named, shamed and drummed out of the entertainment business. Harvey Weinstein, sure, but so many others — from Kevin Spacey to Matt Lauer to Louis C.K. to Charlie Rose.

Indeed, most of us thought that the wave of #MeToo accusations had passed when the New Yorker investigation into Les Moonves dropped last summer and led to what a year earlier would have been an unthinkable exit.

Also Read: Women of #MeToo Gather for Much-Needed Moment of Healing

You can be sure that many others are still cringing at their desks, hoping the fateful finger of “the reckoning” does not wander their way.

On the bright side: It’s been a good year for diversity. For starters, we’ve never seen a year like this for African-American filmmakers — not just the success of a blockbuster movie like “Black Panther,” but a veritable parade of critical and commercial wins (think “Creed II,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “The Hate U Give”). Female filmmakers are feeling the love as they start to score more significant directing and producing projects. And a big shout-out to the new Hawaiian-born superhero, “Aquaman” star Jason Momoa.

Similarly, we’ve seen huge checks being written to grab key diverse talent — $100 million for Ava DuVernay to work at Warner Bros. TV, and similar deals for Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris to take their ideas to Netflix.

Also Read: ‘Black-ish’ Creator Kenya Barris: I Left Disney for Netflix Over Shelved Anti-Trump Episode

While those are exciting moments for those individual talents, the question is whether those huge checks amount to an overall boon for the creative side of the entertainment industry. So many young screenwriters and directors have confided to me that they are worried that their project will get lost if they give it to Netflix. And more established writers worry that the residual-free universe of streaming means they will have to work longer and harder to earn less.

The big picture is undeniable: Fewer, bigger winners and fewer, bigger players across the entertainment landscape. Every year that passes suggests that this is increasingly the case. We have yet to see Amazon make a convincing play for dominance in the content space, and ditto for Apple and Facebook. All of those companies could decide to invest much more heavily in quality story-telling, though Ava and Kenya and Shonda (and Ryan Murphy) are already spoken for. So far it’s a Netflix game.

I feel for the hundreds of hard-working executives who are being displaced by consolidation as there is no guarantee that they will find a soft landing. I feel for the entrepreneurs who have poured their hearts into inventing new ways to understand consumers and build relevant content — only to find that Facebook has eaten their business.

Simple concepts like “make good movies” (or shows, or series) don’t bring great comfort in this  context.

So if you haven’t prepared for a coming storm — then you should start battening down the hatches.

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From Ryan Murphy to Shonda Rhimes: How Streaming Raided Top TV Talent in 2018

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Jordan Peele’s “The Twilight Zone” is one of the most-anticipated shows of 2019: a bold take on a beloved classic, from an A-list risk-taker. CBS scored a coup by landing it — but CBS won’t air it.

Instead, it will debut on CBS’s streaming service, CBS All Access. Welcome to the Streaming Zone, a time and place in which streaming is so dominant that even the biggest TV network is going all in.

The irresistible allure of the Streaming Zone has pulled some of the most talented people in television to Netflix, Amazon and Apple. Peele joins Shonda Rhimes, Ryan Murphy, Oprah Winfrey and many others in a new reality where content seems to go on forever.

Also Read: Hollywood, Beware: Apple’s Content Harvest… Has Begun

Streaming companies spent much of 2018 building this new reality, one where creatives are no longer limited by timeslots or network censors.

“They hired mainstream talent, they took advantage of the fact that they’re no longer constrained by time,” said Alan Wolk, co-founder and lead analyst at media consulting firm TV[R]EV. “They can reach the upscale coastal audience, while also reaching the mainstream audience.”

CBS All Access will have 10 different originals in 2019.

“We know that CBS has been a big-tent brand for 90 years, but we’re in an environment where people have to pay specifically for our service,” Julie McNamara, executive vice president of original content for CBS All Access, told TheWrap. “We’re ramping up, and have been given the resources to ramp up meaningfully and quickly.”

Since 2014, the number of scripted shows to air on streaming services has exploded by 385 percent, totaling 160 this year, according to FX Research’s annual scripted original series count. For the first time, streaming accounted for the largest percentage of scripted series on any platform — 32 percent. Both broadcasters and basic cable TV scaled back in 2018.

Also Read: As the Streaming Wars Heat Up, Don’t Forget About CBS All Access

After luring Rhimes away from ABC Studios last year, Netflix begin 2018 by signing fellow uber-producer Murphy to an eye-popping $300 million deal, getting him to leave his own longtime home at 20th Century Fox. Netflix next enticed “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris, after he cut short his deal with ABC Studios.

Amazon landed Peele with a first-look TV deal fresh off his Oscar win for “Get Out,” while Apple embarked on a spree that included Winfrey and “Fast and the Furious” director Justin Lin, who was lured away from Sony Pictures TV.

Also Read: Why Channing Dungey’s Leap to Netflix Is Making TV Folks ‘Queasy’

Though Netflix’s expensive deal to keep “Friends” on its service for at least another year proved the continuing value of existing content, streaming companies know they need to create their own hits.

Netflix will no longer receive any new programming from Disney beginning next year, because Disney is saving its content for its own upcoming streaming service, Disney+.

“There’s an anticipation, certainly from Netflix and I suspect other streamers, that over time, they are not going to have access to HBO or Marvel,” Todd Klein, a partner at investment firm Revolution Growth. “They’re going to have to begin to build their own content worlds and content brands. It’s creators and showrunners that really get to people… They might as well get started now.”

Netflix is willing to pay: It spent $13 billion on content in 2018 alone.

Also Read: How Will Disney Manage Hulu and Launch a Competing Streaming Service at the Same Time?

Streaming companies aren’t just going after prolific producers, but also top executives:  Jen Saalke left NBC to head up Amazon Studios, bringing along broadcast TV veterans Vernon Sanders and Albert Cheng to run the TV wing.

This week, Netflix hired former ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey to help run its original content team with Cindy Holland.

The network executives who remain at broadcast networks include Karey Burke at ABC and Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks at NBC.

Broadcasters — and everyone else — may want to keep prized talent close: WarnerMedia will launch its own streaming service by the end of next year.

Also Read: HBO Ain’t Broke – Is New Owner AT&T Trying to Fix It?

And then there’s Apple, perhaps the biggest mystery of in the Streaming Zone.

Apple’s 2018 included a barrage of eye-raising series announcements from the likes of J.J. Abrams, M. Night Shyamalan and even Sesame Workshop. But no one has seen anything, or even knows what kind of platform they will air on.

“I can’t imagine that the conversation between Oprah and Tim Cook went something like, ‘Oh, we’ll figure out the distribution’… I’m sure he had to tell her something,” Wolk said. “I’m sure they all didn’t just sign up on a wing and a prayer.”

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Why Channing Dungey’s Leap to Netflix Is Making TV Folks ‘Queasy’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Related stories from TheWrap:Former ABC Entertainment Chief Channing Dungey to Join Netflix’s Original Content TeamABC’s Channing Dungey Says Kenya Barris Was ‘Frustrated’ by Limitations of Broadcast TVNetflix Originals Thrive as Disney’s Content Leave…

Former ABC Entertainment Chief Channing Dungey to Join Netflix’s Original Content Team

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Just over a month after stepping down as ABC Entertainment president, Channing Dungey has landed a new job with Netflix.

The streamer announced on Monday that Dungey will join the company as its VP of original content, beginning in February. In the newly-created role, Dungey will work with Cindy Holland, also VP of original content, in setting strategic direction as well as overseeing a large and crucial portion of the slate, including the company’s overall deals with producers including Shonda Rhimes, Jenji Kohan, Kenya Barris, Steven DeKnight, Marti Noxon, and Higher Ground Productions, among others. 

“Channing is a creative force whose taste and talent have earned her the admiration of her peers across the industry. She’s a risk taker and ground-breaker and talent love working with her. I couldn’t be happier to welcome her to Netflix,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer.

Also Read: ABC’s Channing Dungey Says Kenya Barris Was ‘Frustrated’ by Limitations of Broadcast TV

Dungey already has experience working with some of them, namely Rhimes and Barris, from her time at ABC. She’ll assume half of Holland’s existing team, which was the company’s largest group of content executives, while also directly reporting to Holland.

“We’re delighted to be adding Channing’s expertise, leadership and deep experience to Netflix, and I look forward to partnering with her as we continue to grow and evolve our global network. I have been a fan of her character and approach from our early days as executives,” Holland said.

ABC announced last month that Dungey would be stepping down, despite efforts to keep her on board, with Freeform’s Karey Burke set to replace her. Taking over for Paul Lee in February 2016, Dungey oversaw the network’s shift from the heavily serialized dramas to more episodic dramas such as “The Good Doctor,” and family-friendly comedies like “Speechless” and the network’s recent “Roseanne” revival.

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Dungey first made a name for herself with a close working relationship with “Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes, having overseen the development of both “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder.” But toward the end of her tenure, the network lost both Rhimes and “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris to Netflix, the latter of whom exited with three years left in what was to be a four-year overall deal with ABC Studios following a clash over a shelved episode of “Black-ish.”

Now, Dungey gets to work with the duo again. Dungey also becomes the latest executive to make the jump from the Disney network to Netflix, while the former prepares to merge its operations with the film and TV assets it’s getting from 21st Century Fox. Tendo Nagenda, executive vice president of production at Walt Disney Studios, left in August to be head of production at Netflix. Jamila Hunter, ABC’s head of comedy, left in October to join Barris’ Khalabo Ink Society production company.

“I’m drawn to the forward-thinking, risk-taking and creative culture at Netflix, and the deeply talented people there, especially Ted and Cindy, with whom I’m excited to partner on setting the strategy for original content,” Dungey said. “Given that ABC, the place I’ve called home for nearly 15 years, represents the gold standard of traditional broadcast, it feels like the perfect next step for me to join Netflix, the unparalleled leader in streaming. I’m invigorated by the challenges ahead and the opportunity to forge new relationships, and excited for the very welcome reunion with incredible talent.”

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Channing Dungey Joins Netflix As VP Original Content, Will Work With Shonda Rhimes, the Obamas Among Others

Read on: Deadline.

Following weeks of speculation, outgoing ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey is officially joining Netflix in a senior leadership role as Vice President of Original Content, reporting to Cindy Holland, Vice President of Original Content. She is…

Hollywood’s New Demand for Diversity Drains Disney’s Executive Ranks

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

In the last four months, The Walt Disney Company has seen the exits of four prominent African-American executives, signs of rising competition in Hollywood for diverse talent in an industry long criticized as too white.

Channing Dungey, the president of ABC Entertainment, told Disney this month she would not renew her contract in 2019. Tendo Nagenda, executive vice president of production at Walt Disney Studios, left in August to be head of production at Netflix. Nne Ebong, ABC’s head of drama, also left in August without a place to land, and the network’s head of comedy, Jamila Hunter, left in October to join Kenya Barris’ Khalabo Ink Society production company.

Any one of these exits of executive talent would be noticed at a global entertainment company that has made diversity a priority in its programming and in grooming new leadership. But combined with the high-profile losses of “Black-ish” creator Barris and “Scandal” hitmaker Shonda Rhimes in 2018 — both of whom left for lucrative production deals at Netflix — the feeling is even more acute. As one concerned insider pointed out, Disney now finds itself with very nearly no executives of color in its top ranks.

Also Read: Inside Disney’s Campaign to Keep Channing Dungey as ABC’s Head of Entertainment and Why It Failed

Said the insider, who has knowledge of the exits: “There is a war for talent, and in this case it has decimated the ranks of diverse executives at Disney.”

Channing Dungey

In a statement, Disney chose not to address the exits themselves, but stressed its efforts to recruit inclusive talent.

“We are proud of our efforts to recruit, develop and promote a diverse group of executives, and it’s no surprise that our executives are constantly sought after by other companies looking to lure them away,” a Disney spokesperson told TheWrap. “Inclusion is a critical part of telling the best stories and being relevant, which is why we continually seek to build teams that reflect the life experiences of the audiences we serve.”

TheWrap spoke to multiple executives and industry experts about the exits, and none chose to go on the record. Those who spoke on background said that the executives did not leave because of problems at Disney, but rather because of the intense competition for talent now that diversity has become a priority for many in the industry.

Also Read: ‘Black-ish’ Creator Kenya Barris: I Left Disney for Netflix Over Shelved Anti-Trump Episode

As TheWrap previously reported, Dungey had been up for a promotion before Disney’s acquisition of Fox. That massive deal led to that opportunity going away for her. Despite a campaign to convince Dungey to stay and grow under a new regime, “she wants to be a free agent, she wants to test the market,” said one of the insiders interviewed by TheWrap.

More than one expert noted that Netflix seems to have targeted Disney’s executive pool as it has aggressively ramped up its own production goals.

Reached by TheWrap, Netflix declined to address the question. But an individual close to the company said Netflix is “always looking for the best talent to reach its diverse member base.”

In November of last year, Netflix hired Disney/ABC’s head of business affairs Tony Brackett to be the company’s director of business and legal affairs for kids and family programming. Brackett brought former Disney colleagues with him. Said the  knowledgeable insider: “He took out all the people of color in the legal department.”

For Disney, the losses are keenly felt given the emphasis the company has placed on diversity, according to multiple insiders. Disney has been particularly proud of the inclusive hits on its ABC network, including “Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat.” The global blockbuster success of “Black Panther,” the story of an African superhero, is another point of pride at the company.

The exits pose a challenge for a new regime that is arriving with Disney’s acquisition of Fox, Disney TV chairman and co-chair of Disney media networks Peter Rice and Disney TV studios and ABC Entertainment chairman Dana Walden. The insider said diversity “has not been dismantled on the air, but it has been dismantled in the executive ranks.”

Tendo Nagenda, who exited Disney to help lead production at Netflix

Also Read: WarnerMedia Makes Company-Wide Pledge to Improve Diversity On and Off Camera

On the movie side, Nagenda’s hire was a major coup for Netflix and a commensurate loss for Disney, where the executive had been a rising star in his eight years at Walt Disney Pictures. Nagenda had worked on movies including “Queen of Katwe” and Ava DuVernay’s “A Wrinkle in Time.” At the time of his exit he had also been working on tentpoles including upcoming live-action versions of “Dumbo” and “Mulan.”

Like Dungey, Nagenda was a personal mentee of Disney CEO Bob Iger in the company’s prestigious executive mentoring program, giving both of their departures a more personal sting. Nagenda and Dungey individually declined to comment to TheWrap. TheWrap was unable to reach Ebong and Hunter ahead of publication.

Hollywood has been widely criticized for the overwhelming dominance of white people — especially men — in its leadership ranks. The criticism led to the #OscarsSoWhite social media campaign two years ago that referenced a lack of diversity at the Academy Awards.

Since then, the motion picture academy has made a concerted effort to increase the percentage of women and people of color among its members. And the entertainment industry as a whole has publicly placed more emphasis on fostering diversity.

But according to UCLA’s 2018 Diversity in Hollywood report, the entertainment industry has been slow to “accept … that its success in providing today’s (and tomorrow’s) audiences with what they crave also hinges on the presence of diverse talent behind the camera — in the director’s chair, in the writer’s room and in executive suites.” The report was authored by professors Darnell Hunt, Ana-Christina Ramón, Michael Tran, Amberia Sargent and Debanjan Roychoudhury.

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Inside Disney’s Campaign to Keep Channing Dungey as ABC’s Head of Entertainment and Why It Failed

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Channing Dungey decided to leave ABC Entertainment despite direct appeals from incoming leaders Dana Walden and Peter Rice and a close relationship with Disney CEO Bob Iger, multiple insiders told TheWrap.

Dungey, the president of ABC Entertainment, informed her Disney bosses last week that she did not intend to renew her contract when it came up in early 2019. That led them to announce Friday that Karey Burke, head of original programming for Disney’s Freeform, would replace her.

“She was not pushed. She chose not to renew her deal which expires in February,” one knowledgeable insider told TheWrap. “As soon as she informed them that she wasn’t renewing, they made an immediate change to Karey.”

Also Read: Channing Dungey Exits as ABC Chief, Freeform’s Karey Burke to Replace Her

Dungey’s decision to leave despite not having another position elsewhere is a personal disappointment to Iger, who was her mentor in Disney’s prestigious mentoring program earlier in her career, according to the insider. An individual with knowledge of Iger’s thinking confirmed that Iger personally mentored Dungey, saying, “Bob was and still is a big fan.”

Dungey declined to comment for this story.

Dungey, well-liked and highly regarded, was the first black executive to be named head of a major broadcast network.

Her time running ABC had a smattering of successes — “Roseanne,” “The Good Doctor” and a solid, but expensive “American Idol” reboot — but has recently been tarnished some having lost Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris to Netflix, who lured the creators with more freedom and fatter checks, and a PR debacle that saw the network cancel its top-rated series in years in “Roseanne,” after star Roseanne Barr came under fire for a racist tweet.

Also Read: Peter Rice, Dana Walden to Lead Disney-ABC’s TV Networks and Studio After Fox Deal Closes

Dungey is the most recent in a string of top black executives at the network to depart. Head of drama Nne Ebong left in August and Jamila Hunter, who was head of comedy, left in October to join Kenya Barris’s Khalabo Ink Society production company.

The losses are a disappointment to Disney given the emphasis it has placed on diversity, especially in recent years with ABC hits like “Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat” and the blockbuster success of “Black Panther” this year.

No one TheWrap spoke to for this story thought Disney had an internal problem with race.

Dungey told top management who tried to convince her to stay that she “loves” Iger, but was not willing to remain. “She wants to be a free agent, she wants to test the market,” said the first insider.

While Dungey does not currently have a job lined up, the prevailing thought is that her options post-Disney would be wide open.

Before Disney announced plans in 2017 to buy the entertainment assets of Fox, Dungey, who had been at the helm of ABC Entertainment since February 2016, had been told she was in line for a broader role at Disney/ABC, the person familiar with Iger’s thinking told TheWrap.

After Disney changed course, however, opting to merge its divisions with Fox, plans for what would have been a promotion for Dungey were put on hold. When Dungey was offered a new contract but for her same position, she opted out.

Also Read: Channing Dungey Exits as ABC Chief, Freeform’s Karey Burke to Replace Her

Walden, who will head Disney’s non-sports TV operations, and Rice, who will serve as chairman, both made pitched efforts to get Dungey to stay, according to three knowledgeable individuals. They took her to dinner and outlined a future in which she had key responsibilities in programming decisions across all of Disney’s growing platforms.

But since neither executive is in place as yet, they were not in a position to make concrete offers, one executive told TheWrap. That executive said that Walden and Rice still hold out hope of luring Dungey back in the future.

Also Read: ABC’s Channing Dungey Says Kenya Barris Was ‘Frustrated’ by Limitations of Broadcast TV

Dungey had been at ABC since 2004 and plans to remain at the network to see through the transition period as her successor Burke takes over.

“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. 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,” Dungey said in a statement on Friday.

Group president Ben Sherwood, it was announced in September, would leave once Rice and Walden come on board.

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ABC Shakeup: Channing Dungey Exits As Entertainment President, Karey Burke To Replace Her

Read on: Deadline.

Channing Dungey is stepping down as President of ABC Entertainment after less than three years on the job. As usual, Disney has reached within its ranks for a replacement, naming Karey Burke, head of Freeform original programming development, as new AB…

Channing Dungey Exits as ABC Chief, Freeform’s Karey Burke to Replace Her

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Channing Dungey has stepped down as president of ABC, the broadcaster announced on Friday. She will be replaced by Freeform development boss Karey Burke.

The news is the latest executive shuffle at Disney ahead of the company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Disney|ABC has already seen a number of changes, including the departure of group president Ben Sherwood and the addition of Fox’s Peter Rice and Dana Walden.

Dungey has served as president of ABC Entertainment since Feb. 2016, when she took over for outgoing president Paul Lee. In the years since, she’s overseen the network’s shift from the heavily serialized dramas to more episodic dramas such as “The Good Doctor” and family-friendly comedies like “Speechless” and the network’s recent “Roseanne” revival.

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A longtime ABC exec, Dungey first made a name for herself with a close working relationship with “Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes, having overseen the development of both “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder.”

However, ABC has seen a number of setbacks since she took over as president, including the loss of both Rhimes and Kenya Barris to Netflix, the latter of whom exited with three years left in what was to be a four-year overall deal with ABC Studios following a clash over a shelved episode of “Black-ish.”

The network was also forced to cancel “Roseanne,” its top-rated series in years, after star Roseanne Barr came under fire for a racist tweet. The since-retooled “The Conners” has not been able to match the sky-high viewership of last season’s revival.

Outside of a smattering of successes — “Roseanne,” “The Good Doctor” and a solid, but expensive “American Idol” reboot — ABC has struggled in the ratings in other parts of its schedule under Dungey’s leadership. The network was able to finish out last season even in the ratings with CBS and Fox thanks to a huge lift by “Roseanne,” but would have had a much tougher time without it.

Dungey is expected to stay on with the network for an unspecified transition period while Burke takes over.

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Burke, currently head of programming and development for Freeform, has been with the network since 2014. She will now be responsible for all development, programming, casting, marketing, business affairs and scheduling operations for ABC prime time and late-night. She will eventually report to Dana Walden, chairman, Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment.

Burke’s replacement at Freeform was not immediately named.

Bob Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company, said in a statement, “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.”  Mr. Iger continued, “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.”

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Added Burke, “I am thrilled to be joining the wonderful team at ABC, and look forward to working with them to create groundbreaking, and memorable, television together. ABC is a beloved brand, and I am honored to continue the legacy left by Channing of excellent storytelling that touches so many people’s hearts. As for Freeform, we are coming off our strongest and most profitable year yet, and I am deeply proud of our bold, inclusive programming and brand. Moreover, the team at Freeform is as good as they come. I will miss them massively, and will be cheering them on loudly from down the street.”

“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. This job has been the highlight of my career,” said Dungey. “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.”

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Peter Rice, Dana Walden to Lead Disney-ABC’s TV Networks and Studio After Fox Deal Closes

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Peter Rice and Dana Walden will lead Disney-ABC’s TV networks and studio after the Fox acquisition closes, the Walt Disney Company said on Monday. Under them, John Landgraf and Gary E. Knell will serve as chairmen of FX and Nat Geo Partners.

Ben Sherwood, the co-chair of Disney Media Networks and the president of the Disney-ABC Television Group, will remain in his role until the Fox deal is finished. We learned last month that he would be leaving.

The 21st Century Fox executives selected to move over to the high-level Disney roles are not unexpected — but they are very noteworthy and important promotions.

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Rice is currently president of 21st Century Fox and chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group. Walden currently oversees Fox’s broadcast network and its studio with partner Gary Newman, who is expected to stay put. Knell is currently president and CEO of the National Geographic Society; Landgraf is CEO for the FX networks and its studio.

Soon, Walden, Landgraf and Knell will report to Rice — as will Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Channels Worldwide. James Goldston, the president of ABC News, will also report in to Rice, who himself reports directly to Bob Iger.

Here is the list of Walden’s direct reports:
– Channing Dungey, president, ABC Entertainment
– Patrick Moran, president, ABC Studios
– Jonathan Davis and Howard Kurtzman, presidents of Twentieth Century Fox Television
– Bert Salke, president, Fox 21 Television Studios
– Tom Ascheim, president, Freeform
– Wendy McMahon, president, ABC Owned Television Stations Group

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“The strength of 21st Century Fox’s first-class management talent has always been a compelling part of this opportunity for us,” said Iger, the chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “Upon completion of the acquisition, this new structure positions these proven leaders to help drive maximum value from a greatly enhanced portfolio of incredible brands and businesses.”

“I want to personally thank Ben Sherwood for his years of service at ABC and Disney,” he added. “Ben has been a valued colleague, and I deeply appreciate his many contributions and insights, as well as his professionalism and cooperation in this transition.”

“I love making television and have been fortunate to work with incredibly talented executives and storytellers,” Rice said. “Disney is the world’s preeminent creative company, and I look forward to working for Bob, and with his exceptional leadership team, to build on that amazing legacy. I also want to thank Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch for the privilege of working on such a wide array of movies and television, both entertainment and sports. It has been a wonderful thirty years.”

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