Radio Disney G.M. Michael Riley Tapped to Head ABC Family
Turner veteran succeeds new ABC chief Paul Lee
By Melissa Grego -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/30/2010 6:09:10 PMnamed ABC Entertainment Group President July 30.
In this role, Riley will report directly to Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks & president, Disney/ABC Television Group, who made the announcement. Sweeney told B&C Aug. 1 that she would move swiftly to replace Lee.
While Sweeney was considering both internal and external candidates for the job, according to multiple sources, Sweeney has been known to fill top jobs from within her network of exec talent among the Disney/ABC ranks. And as B&C reported earlier this month, Riley has had some internal buzz of late. He joined the company in 2008 and has been a key player in the Disney Channel group's interactive and new platform plays. He has a background in TV, having worked for Turner internationally before coming to Disney. An announcement regarding a new general manager for Radio Disney will be made in the near future, according to the company's announcement.
In his new job, Riley will have oversight of ABC Family's original programming and acquisitions, franchise management, marketing, sales and operations and be responsible for the overall strategic and creative direction for the channel, according to the announcement.
In a statement, Sweeney said: "Michael's talent and drive are eclipsed only by the enthusiasm and passion he brings to every opportunity. I'm confident his unique set of skills and experience will help us further ABC Family's amazing momentum."
Riley added in a statement: "I am extremely proud to have been part of a great team at Radio Disney and very much look forward to joining the incredibly passionate and inventive team at ABC Family. Their success over the past few years has been exceptional, driven by innovative storytelling, unique characters and iconic branding, and I'm honored to be given the opportunity to help build this amazing Millennial brand."
Coming off its most-watched year ever in 2009 and pacing at record levels in 2010, over the past seven years ABC Family has grown its prime audience by considerable margins, increasing by 76% in total viewers (1.4 million vs. 797,000), by 70% in A18-49 (627,000 vs. 368,000) and by 78% in W18-49 (409,000 vs. 230,000), according to the company. Among the net's core younger demo sets, the net's prime delivery has more than doubled over the past seven years.
Prior to the announcement, Riley served as senior vice president and general manager, Radio Disney, where he oversaw the strategic management of the Radio Disney network and its portfolio of 36 owned radio stations, leading them to record ratings through original multi-platform content achievements.
Previously Riley was senior vice president and general manager, Turner Broadcasting System, Europe, Middle East and Africa.
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