Braun to Exit ABC


ABC Television Entertainment Group chairman Lloyd Braun will exit his post before next month’s upfronts, sources said Monday.

This comes after word leaked over the weekend that the network is talking to ESPN programming chief Mark Shapiro about a top job at ABC.

While Braun and ABC Entertainment President Susan Lyne run the network together, Hollywood insiders say Lyne’s job is safe for now.

With the upfronts only six weeks away, turning over the network’s two top executives would make ABC too unstable.

Although sources confirmed that ABC is in discussions with Shapiro, he has not yet signed a deal and his job title is undecided. Other potential candidates for a top ABC job include ABC Cable Networks Group President Anne Sweeney and president of Disney-owned Touchstone Television, Steve McPherson, whose contract is up in June.

The coming reorganization may be broad, putting one person in charge of both ABC and Touchstone, much like NBC and CBS are now organized.

ABC’s problems have been well-documented of late, highlighted by cable giant Comcast’s recent interest in purchasing parent company, Disney, and by Disney CEO Michael Eisner’s fight to keep his job.

That fight may be increasing the pressure on Eisner and Disney COO Bob Iger to reorganize ABC, considered one of Disney’s most poorly performing assets.