ABC’s top programming exec Channing Dungey is stepping down from her post and will be replaced as president of ABC Entertainment by Karey Burke.
Burke is the head of original programming development for Freeform, a cable network owned by The Walt Disney Co.
The moves come as Disney prepares to acquire cable networks and TV and movie studios owned by 21st Century Fox. Several Fox executives have also been named to senior TV posts.
After the acquisition is complete, Burke will report to former Fox exec Dana Walden, who will become chairman, Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment. Walden will report to another former Fox exec, Peter Rice, who will be in charge of all of Disney’s TV operations.
“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,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger.
“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,” Iger added.
A replacement for Burke at Freeform will be announced at a later date, the company said.
“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,” Burke said.
“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,” Burke added.
Dungey will stay through a transition period.
“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, whom I will miss enormously,” Dungey said. “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.”