ABC TV scores first in race to gain diversity

There is a new president in America.

She is a woman, Black and was named last month to head a major broadcast network.

The first of her race to ever helm ABC Entertainment Group, Channing Dungey was named to oversee all aspects of network production at the Disney-owned television network.

“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,” Ben Sherwood, Disney Media Networks and ABC Television Group chairman said.

Of her trailblazing accomplishment Dungey said: “I’m thrilled and humbled that Ben has entrusted me with this tremendous opportunity. I’ve had the great honor of working alongside the talented team at ABC for many years and look forward to starting this exciting new chapter with them.”

Dungey is the first Black person to lead a major broadcast network.

She replaces outgoing president Paul Lee who has helmed ABC programming since 2010.

Lee has been credited with championing diversity at the network.

“I am truly grateful to Paul for being a valued mentor and friend,” Dungey added.

She previously served as an executive vice president responsible for ABC’s drama development and helped launch many of the network’s most popular shows, some of which include “Scandal,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Once Upon a Time” and “Nashville.”

Dungey began her career as a development assistant for Davis Entertainment at 20th Century Fox.

She then became story editor at Steamroller Productions where she worked on the development and production of such films as “Under Siege” and “On Deadly Ground.”

Following that, she joined Warner Brothers as a production executive, helping to develop films that included “Bridges of Madison County,” “Heat,” “The Matrix” and “Practical Magic.”

Since 2009 when she joined the network (and its affiliated studio in 2004) she has also steered the network to winning audiences to watch “Quantico,” “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD,” and “American Crime.”

With all the focus on diversity since the National Film Academy failed to name a single Black actor for any category worthy of nomination for an Oscar and with Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first Black woman to preside over the film academy issuing a pledge to diversify the industry by 2020, Dungey’s appointment at the network gives television an advantage over the film industry.

Hopefully, this television elevation will lead to more diversity in newsrooms and corporate boardrooms.

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