ABC tries a new life Lyne
Now, as Millionaire stumbles, Stu Bloomberg is deemed the weakest link
By Joe Schlosser -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/13/2002 7:00:00 PM
New ABC Entertainment President Susan Lyne says the network has to take it one night at a time, literally, to get back to where it was just over a year ago.
Lyne, a former journalist who had headed ABC's movie and miniseries division, was at the center of ABC's executive shuffle last week, as Walt Disney Co. brass attempted to stem the network's ratings slide. ABC Entertainment Co-chairman Stu Bloomberg, an ABC vet of nearly 23 years, whose contract was recently renewed, was removed. So was top comedy exec Julie Glucksman, who'd had the post only six months. Vice President of Comedy Stephanie Leifer is expected to replace her.
Bloomberg's partner for the last three years, Lloyd Braun, will remain as chairman.
"I think the challenge in front of us is fairly clear. We need to develop and launch more successful shows," says Lyne, who created and then served as editor-in-chief of film magazine Premiere . "I think we need to develop at least one night where we totally dominate."
Lyne (pronounced 'line') has had an impressive run at ABC over the past several years in movies and miniseries. Her division has overseen several Emmy Award winners, including Anne Frank and Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows. Prior to joining ABC, she was executive vice president of Walt Disney Pictures and Television.
Lyne joins Fox's Gail Berman and CBS's Nancy Tellem as entertainment presidents—the first time in broadcast history that three women have held such high-ranking posts simultaneously. And, in a trend of sorts, she joins NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker as a programming chief with a background in journalism (he had beenToday executive producer).
Since topping all networks two seasons ago on the strength of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, ABC's ratings have steadily fallen. The network is in fourth place for this season in adults 18-49, and a number of its veteran comedies, like Millionaire, are declining.
Bloomberg, who helped develop such hits as NYPD Blue, Spin City and The Practice, is expected to accept a development offer from the network.
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