Why The New President Of ABC Entertainment Is Such A Big Deal

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
Yesterday, ABC announced that Channing Dungey would be taking over as the president of ABC Entertainment. That news is huge, given that it makes Dungey the first African-American head of a major broadcast network, as various outlets have reported. She is also currently the only woman running one of the Big Four networks, which include NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox.

Dungey, who was the network's executive vice president of Drama Development, Movies & Miniseries, has probably had a hand in a show you love. She helped bring series like Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder to life, and works closely with Shonda Rhimes. In fact, The Hollywood Reporter notes that she is "known by many as the Shonda Rhimes whisperer." A former executive for the network told the Los Angeles Times that Dungey's "relationship with Shonda is remarkably good," adding, "it all stems to a lot of things going back 12 years ago." Shondaland star Joshua Malina tweeted out congratulations to Dungey.

The newly appointed president's sister, Merrin Dungey, is an actress and plays Ursula on Once Upon a Time, a show Dungey had a hand in developing.

Dungey takes over for Paul Lee, who, according to The New York Times, "resigned under pressure." Lee was credited with championing diversity on the network, leading to the launch of shows like HTGAWM, Black-ish, and Fresh Off the Boat.

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